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riviera del brenta, italy


Villa Pisani, Stra


A strip of land along the river Brenta, which flows from Padua to Venice: gardens and gorgeous artistic villlas are the landscape of The Brenta Riviera is made up of districts and green spots along the ancient course of a river linking Padua to Venice. A charming trip, which enchanted poets and travellers. Memories of this land were written by Lord Byron and Goethe, and by the Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, the scientist Galileo Galilei, the playwriter Carlo Goldoni. In his poem "The Divine Comedy", the great poet Dante Alighieri mentiones the city of Oriago. The history of the Brenta Riviera began in the 15th-16th century, when rich Venetian families bought large estates and built villas where they spent the summertime and where they managed the land cultivation: they asked the best architects to design their villas and foresterie (guest houses) so gorgeous as not to miss their Grand Canal in Venice. So the Riviera del Brenta can be described as "Grand Canal" sinked in the green of the villas parks and the countryside. The whole beauty of this land can be appreciated at its most by travelling by boat: "vaporettos" and "gondolas" in Venice Gran Canal, and the "Burchiello" and the "Battelli del Brenta" to travel down the river Brenta. The best known villas of the Riviera, departing from Malcontenta, are: Villa Foscari (by the architect Andrea Palladio); Villa Valmarana; Villa Widmann in Mira; Villa Angeli in Dolo; Villa Soranzo in Fiesso; Villa Pisani in Stra (the biggest and richest one), with frescoes by Tiepolo and Guarana, gardens and a famous labyrinth.

The Brenta Riviera was the ideal extension of Venice onto the mainland, almost a continuation of the lagoon city: between the 16th and 18th century it experienced a golden age which turned it into a privileged holiday resort for rich Veentian nobles. They buolt dozens of villas along the riverbanks, designed and decorated by masters of Italian art, visited by artists, popes, kings and men of culture, envied for their beauty, inhabited as country seats where they celebrated ritual floating processions, sumptuous dinners and festivities lasting until dawn.

 


Villa Widmann - Mira: "Diana" (ceiling)

The building of villas along the Riviera del Brenta began in the 15th century, when Venice extended its dominion over the mainland. Growing commercial difficulties and the the discovery of America led Venetians to invest thier capital in the purchase of farmlands. The villas were built close to the riverbanks so that the gentlemen could keep their investments under personal control while taking the opportunity of a family holiday. In the 16th century were built villa Foscari at Malcontenta and villa Soranzo at Fiesso with its ouside frescoed by Paolo Veronese's brother. Fashion brought then to enrich gardens with busts and baroque decorations such as in Villa Morosini in Mirano and Villa Sagredo in Vigonovo. In the 18th century Villa Widmann in Mira and Villa Pisani in Stra were built, maybe the most spectacular ones.

 


Villa Widmann - Mira

Inside the villas there are whole cycle of paintings, mainly mythological: by Zelotti in Villa Malcontenta, by B. de Pitati in Villa Querini in Mira; by Angeli in Villa Widmann, by Tiepolo in Villa Pisani in Stra. Also the churches are interesting to visit, with their precious decorations and paintings.

From March to Octoberthe villas and the riverbanks are vest admirde from the water's edge, by boat. The Burchiello (after the name of the boat metioned by carlo Goldoni) which links daily Padova to Venezia, is a good occasion to enjoy the Rviera from its most natural point of view.

 

mappa
Click to enlarge

Legenda: 1- Villa Sagredo (17th century); 2 - Villa Zanetti (17th); 3 - Villa Foscarini (17th); 4 - Villa Cappello (17th); 5 - Villa Pisani or Villa Nazionale Pisani (1720 c.); 6 - Villa Soranzo (16th); 7 - Villa Pisani "La Barbariga" (18th); 8 - Villa Recanati Zuccoin (17th); 9 - Villa Contarini (18th); 10 - Villa Andreauzzi (17th); 11 - Villa Ferretti (1596 c.); 12 - Villa tron (19th); 13 - Villa Badoer (18th); 14 - Villa Grimani (17th); 15 - Villa Velluti (18th); 16 - Villa Fini (17th); 17 - Villa Renier (16th); 18 - Villa Selvatico Granata (18th); 19 - Villa Alessandri (17th); 20 - Vila Morosini (17th); 21- Villa Erizzo (17th); 22 - Villa Barbarigo (17th); 23 Violla Barbarigo Astori (17th); 24 - Villa Van Axel (18th); 25 - Villa Giustinian (17th); 26 - Villa Cabrini (17th); 27 - Villa Tiepolo (17th); 28 - Villa Bianchini (18th); 29 - Villa Lando (17th); 30 - Villa Michiel (18th); 31 - Villa Bon (16th); 32 - Villa Contarini (1558 c.); 33 - Villa pio (17th); 34 - Villa Franceschi (16th); 35 - Villa Querini Stampalia; 36 - Vila Seriman Widmann Foscari (18th); 37 - Barchesse Valmarana (17th); 38 - Villa Moscheni (18th); 39 - Villa Gradenigo (16th); 40 - Villa Mocenigo (18th); 41 - Villa Moro (15th); 42 - Villa Allegri (18th); 43 - Villa Priuli 17th); 44 - Villa Foscari (1560 c.)

Open to public (better call the following number, to inquire about opening times):

 

  • Villa Foscari, Malcontenta (Venice)
    Also known as "La Malcontenta"
    Phone 041 5470012 - 041 5203966
    Opening: April - October (Tuesdays and Saturdays).
    Hours: 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 a.m.
    Other days: book to visit.
    Admission: Lire 15000
     

     

  • Villa Gradenigo, Oriago di Mira (Venice), phone 041 429631.
    Phone to book to visit; only for groups
  • Barchessa Valmarana, Mira Porte (Venice), phone 041 4266387 - 041 5102341
    Opening: April - October (from Tuesday to Sunday) Hours: 9.30 a.m.- 12.00 a.m., 2.30 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.
    On Mondays and from November to March, phone to book your visit (only for groups). Admission: Lire 8000, groups Lire 6000
  • Villa Widmann Foscari, Mira Porte (Venice), phone 041 424156 - 041 5609350
    Opening: March (Sundays), April-October (from Tuesday to Sunday)
    Hours: 10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.(June- September 10.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m.)
    Admission: L. 8000, groups (over 20 persons) L. 6000; below 10's and over 60's L. 3000
  • Barchessa Alessandri, Mira (Venice), phone 041 415729
    Opening: Until April on Saturdays and Sundays; from May daily opened.
    Hours: Until April: Saturday 2.00 p.m.- 5.00 p.m., Sunday 10.30 a.m. -12.30 a.m., 2.00 p.m.- 5.0 p.m. From May: 10.30 a.m.- 12.30 a.m., 3.30 p.m. - 6.00 p.m.
    Admission: L. 6000.
  • Villa Belvedere, Mirano (Venice) The park is always open. After a long restoration the "castelletto neogotico" is open again.
  • Villa Pisani known also as Villa Nazionale or Villa Reale, Stra (Venice), phone 049 502074
    Open daily.
    Hours: April - September 9.00 a.m.- 6.00 p.m., October - March 9.00 a.m.- 4.00 p.m. Admission: Park and museum L. 10000; only park L. 5000; free for people below 18's and over 60's
  • Villa Foscarini Rossi, Stra (Venice), phone 049 9801091
    Open all year around (Tuesdays and Sundays)
    Hours: 9.00 a.m.- 12.00 a.m., 2.30 p.m.- 6.00 p.m. (Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays, 10.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.)
    For groups book to visit.
    Permanent exhibition of shoes
    Admission: L. 8000, groups L. 5000, reduction for elderly and children L. 4000
  • Villa Sagredo Vigonovo (Venice), phone 049 503174
    Phone to visit. Hours: from Tuesday to Friday 6.00 p.m.- 10.00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2.00 p.m. - 10.00 p.m.
  • Villa Giovanelli, Noventa Padovana (Padua), phone 049 625066
    Phone to visit.
Open to public with the assitance fo Moby Dick (better call the following phone numbers in advance, to inquire about opening time):

 

  • Villa Badoer, Sambruson di Dolo
    Opening: May - June (on Sundays),
    July - August only for booking groups,
    September - October (Sundays).
    Hours: 15.00 - 19.00, with free guide 15.00 - 16.00 - 17.00 - 18.00.
    A collection of antique tools, park, cellar, some rooms on the ground floor

     

  • Villa Tito, Sambruson di Dolo
    Opening: May - June (on Sundays),
    July - August only for booking groups,
    September - October (Sundays).
    Hours: 15.00 - 19.00, with free guide 15.00 - 16.00 - 17.00 - 18.00.
    Oratory, "piano nobile", some rooms on the ground floor
  • Villa Bon, Mira Taglio
    Opening: May - June (on Sundays),
    July - August only for booking groups,
    September - October (on Sundays)
    Hours: 15.00 - 19.00, with free guide 15.00 - 16.00 - 17.00 - 18.00.
    The park and some rooms are open to visitors
  • Villa Bellati, Spinea
    Park and oratory open to visitors
  • Villa Colombara, Marghera
    Opening: May - October only booking groups (guide inside the villa)
    The tower, the oratory, the frescoed hall
  • Villa Velluti Sambruson di Dolo (VE)
    Opening: May - June (on Sundays),
    July - August only for booking groups,
    September - October (on Sundays)
    Hours: 15.00 - 19.00, with free guide 15.00 - 16.00 - 17.00 - 18.00. You can visit park and oratory
  • Villa Bembo, Campocroce di Mirano (Venice)
    Opening: May - October only booking groups (guide inside the villa)
    You can visit park, tower, ice-house and some rooms
  • Villa Minio Paluello, Porto Menai, Mira (Venice)
    Opening: May - October only booking groups (guide inside the villa)
    You can visit park, rural outbuilding, some frescoed rooms

You can visit other villas belonging to the public body: Palazzo Mocenigo in Oriago (seat of the "Diploma Universitario Economia del Turismo") Villa Pio in Mira (seat of Moby Dick) Villa Contarini dei Leoni in Mira whose park is always open (seat of the public library and theatre) Villa Angeli in Dolo whose park is always open

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