Excursions - Villas of Venice
The villas of Venice, rural residences for nobles during the Republic, are one of the most interesting aspects of the Venetian countryside. They are surrounded by elegant gardens, suitable for fashionable parties of high society. Most of these villas have been designed and painted by famous architects and painters like Palladio and Veronese.
According to the architects, water around the villas was a very important architectural element because it added more brilliance to the façade. Even the internal and decoration were in particular very important.
Villa Barbaro in Maser (Treviso) was designed by Palladio and frescoed by Veronese. It was built for Daniele Barbaro, Patriarch of Aquila and his brother Sant'Antonio Barbaro, a diplomat. The construction began in 1549 and finished in 1558.
The villa was first passed down through female lines in the same family until 1938. In 1934 Giuseppe Volpi acquired the villa and began the restoration which gave its current appearance. Four Ionic columns support the facade: this style takes inspiration from the temple of "Fortuna Virilis" in Rome.
On the sides, farm buildings extend symmetrically both on the left and on the right of the central structure. The two side buldings have dovecotes with a large sundial on the facade. This structure also inspired American architects for the construction of The House of Congress. As for the interior, the central residence is painted with beautiful frescoes completed between 1560 and 1562 by Paolo Veronese.
Address: Maser, Treviso
Phone: 0423 923004;
fax: 0423 923002
Villa Cornaro is in Piombino Dese, just 30 km away from Venice. It was constructed in 1552–1553 for Giorgio Canaro, the youngest son of a wealthy family. It is the most remarkable example of a Venetian villa: it was the first to change the concept of a residence away from the style of a fortress.
The facade was made as a portico–loggia that was flexible to allow changes and elaborations. The interior space is harmonious as the villa's central core forms a square in which there are six repetitions of an elegant standard shape.
The structure shines for its elegance and sophisticated decoration. Soon after it was finished, Villa Cornaro became a model copied all over the world, especially by colonial American architecture.
Even Thomas Jefferson took Villa Cornaro as a base for creating his own villa in Monticello.
Address: Cavasagra di Veldrago, 31050 Treviso
Phone: 0423 481440
Villa Foscari, also known as "La Malcontenta" was built by Palladio in 1550 for the brothers Nicolò and Alvise Foscari. We don't know the exact origins of the name of the villa; probably it was the name of the village in which it was built, but it's possible that it was inspired by a melancholic picture of a woman in the villa.
At that time the villa became the centre of a new flowering in country life, with new economic and social activities. In 1800 the villa was unfortunately abandoned and it was only restored in the XX° century by private citizens and the state authorities.
As for its structure, the villa is taller than normal, as Palladio said that in this way each upper floor was destined to be for the owners. In the main room there is a fresco by Giambattista Zelotti, but unfortunately it's in poor condition. In the other rooms there are frescoes by Franco Battista, and again by Zelotti.
Address: Via dei Turisti, 9 30034 Mira Venezia
Tuesday and Saturday mornings: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Other days and times by appointment
Phone: 041 420012; fax: 041 5449727 (from May to October)
Phone: 041 5203966; fax: 041 2770024 (from November to April)
The construction of the villa dates back to the second half of the XVII° century. It was built for the Michieli family. When the villa passed into the hands of the Venier, it was extended: the architect Lorenzo Boschetti, who also probably built the family chapel, added a final floor and removed other parts of the villa.
At the beginning of the XIX° century the architect Carbone added two side rooms to the main central building, connecting them with arcades. For some years, the villa was used by Domenician Sisters, but nowadays Villa Venier is the property of a private individual.
Villa Rezzonico, a historical Venetian villa situated between Padua and Rovigo, was formerly the residence of the count Diodato Seriman, a rich Arabian merchant who lived at the end of the XVII° century. Seriman used this residence only as a farm estate.
During the first half of the XVIII° century, the villa passed into the hands of the Serbelloni family, who extended it according to a Lombard – Venetian style.
In 1800 Villa Rezzonico became the residence of the Widmanns who later took the name of the Rezzonico family.
Address: Via Rotta Sabadina, 23
35040 Sant'Urbano (PD)
Phone: 0425 29163 – 0429 696322; fax: 0425 29164
Villa Pisani in Stra was comissioned in 1720 by Alviso and Almoro Pisani. The project was given to Gerolamo Frigimelica; and after his death to Francesco Maria Preti.
The marvellous villa has 114 rooms, which contain its original XVII century furniture, as well as statues and frescoes of famous painters like Fabio Canal, Jacopo Guarana, Andrea Urbani and Gian Battista Tiepolo. The masterpiece 'The Glory of Family Pisani' by Gian Battista Tiepolo is displayed in this villa.
In the past, famous historical figures like Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler chose villa Pisani as their personal residence. Villa Pisani represents the perfect balance between the sumptuous baroque and the elegant, harmonious style of Classicism.
Villa Contarini is a splendid Baroque style palace surrounded by a 40 hectares of beautiful nature, parks and lakes.
The building of this villa continued over a few centuries. It started in 1546 according to the wishes of Venetian Paolo and Francesco Contarini. They hired the famous architect Andrea Palladio for this project. Over time, the villa was enlarged, changed and was finally finished in the 17th century. Villa Contarini has its own chapel which was designed by Tommaso Temanza.
Nowadays Villa Contarini hosts numerous exhibitions, music concerts and meetings.
Address: Via Camerini 1, Piazzola sul Brenta, provincia di Padova
Phone: (0039) 049 5590347
– March 1st–October 31st every day from 9:00 to 19:00; Closed on Wednesdays
– November 1st–February 28th every day from 10:00 to 16:00; Closed on Wednesdays