Visiting Villa Pisani

ONE OF THE MANY…

The Pisani family didn’t nee yet another Villa, they owned many already in the Veneto area, but when Alvise Pisani became Doge of the Venetian Republic (1735 to his death), he wanted to have a Villa that was up to his name and riches. 

He probably knew he was going to be Doge since the works started in 1721. At first, it was a simple late sixteenth-century building, modernized in the seventeenth century, and then completely restored after 1720, the year in which the family began to build the majestic villa on the River Brenta (a river of great economic importance for both Venice and Padova).

Rich Venetians built themselves beautiful summer residencies along the river banks, and the Pisani family—like all other noble families from Venice—were inclined to a joyful life of the resort, as indeed the luxurious receptions, the festivals, and events that the chronicles of the time reported. Moreover, the Pisani gave importance to the effectiveness and productivity in the management of the garden as well as the culture and the arts in villa life. Therefore we have Villa Pisani the grandest of all the villas along the Brenta River.

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THE DECLINE

However, the eighteenth century, due to the French Revolution, closed with a loss of economic and political importance in Venice, which led to the impoverishment of the Pisani coffers. The latter received temporary relief from the proceeds from the sale of the villa Pisani in Stra; which will be bought, in July 1807, by Napoleon I Bonaparte.

It is now home to a national museum, which houses works of art and furnishings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

A VISIT IS WELL WORTH THE TRIP

At the time of construction, the Villa had 114 rooms (now 168), to honor the 114th Venice Doge Alvise Pisani. The rooms are named according to the use or to the guest of honor who stayed there. The most important is the “Napoleon’s room, with empire-style canopy bed. The next room is the bathroom, with a floor-standing bathtub and taps, a real luxury for the time. Most of the rooms are furnished with furniture from the Napoleonic or Hapsburg era. However, there are some objects, in particular pieces of boiserie painted in Chinese style, which date back to the Pisan era.

Its monumentality has meant that it was repeatedly chosen as a residence or as a venue for meetings between monarchs and heads of state or government; Villa Pisani hosted, among others, Napoleon Bonaparte, who in 1807 bought it from the Pisani family (which was accountable to  enormous gambling debts), for the viceroy of Italy Eugene of Beauharnais.

To me, the most notable series of frescoes are the ones by Tiepolo that adorn the main salon of the Villa. The “Ballroom” is considered the most important salon, which is why inside this room you can admire, on the ceiling, the most important work of the whole villa. The author of this majestic depiction is Giambattista Tiepolo, who created it in 1761 at the age of 64 in 76 days.

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THE PARK AND ORANGERIE

What’s in the pictures (above) may look like the villa itself it is instead the villa’s stables! Apparently for thoroughbred only! Nearby besides the orangeries, there is a maze. Closed when I visited because of inclement weather. 

The maze—in those years of libertins—was used for a game between ladies and knights: a lady stood on the central tower with her face masked, the knight had to reach her, once there, she would reveal her true identity, … and I’m sure to concede much later on…, somewhere in those many rooms. Of course, it was never his wife!

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BACK IN TODAY DAYS

Visiting the Villa and walking in the park, or moving along the quite complicated maze is very nice indeed, be it summer, or the fall the colors of the foliage, it is always so beautiful.

Villa Pisani

Via Doge Pisani, 7

Stra (Ve)

+39 049 502074

+39 049 9801283

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4 Comments

      1. It is actually a well worth trip. By car it’s is inexpensive. Only few of the villas can be visited, the others can just be admired from the outside, and some are not in a very good state.
        It is to find good cheap restaurants there.
        The only thing to keep in duly consideration is that it is rather humid and foggy down there. Spring can be a good choice to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

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