The Brenta is one of the most important rivers in northern Italy. Between the cities of Venice and Padua, the canalization of the river dates back to the sixteenth century. The new canal quickly gave life to a “bucolic civilization” of which the echo still resounds in the expanses of greenery; the presence of burchielli (river boats); and barchesse, the long buildings with their typical series of arches along the front in which the villa’s work was done, from cooking to tending livestock. Venetian nobles, attracted by the countryside, erected their homes along the canal.
Early on, the functionality of these villas’ buildings was aimed exclusively at their location and agricultural role, but they were soon transformed into luxurious buildings, and the so-called “villa culture” was born. You can experience this nature-entrenched culture by taking a cruise on a traditional river boat from one of two embarkation points: in Venice near St. Mark’s Square or in Padua from an ancient river pier that you reach from a famous sixteenth-century staircase. You can freely choose the duration of your cruise and also include a pleasant stop for lunch.
Let’s discover together the most stunning sites along this river journey:
Villa Pisani in Stra, Venice, home to a National Museum, is considered the “Queen of Venetian Villas' with its 168 rooms and astounding works of art. Among the frescoes in the ballroom, for example, Gianbattista Tiepolo’s masterpiece Glory of the Pisani Family stands out. The visit to the villa includes an entrance to the large romantic park full of wonders including an eighteenth-century green labyrinth, the beautiful lemon house, stables, and the Belvedere.
Villa Widmann Rezzonico
In Mira, a few miles from Venice and Padua, you will come upon Villa Widmann Rezzonico, a Venetian villa with a large park known for the presence of several statues. In addition to the two-story villa that features a central hall with its stuccoes and frescoes, there is also a barn and a small chapel, or oratory.
Villa Foscari La Malcontenta
Villa Foscari ‘La Malcontenta’ (“Discontent”) - so called because of the frequent overflowing of the Brenta River- is the Venetian villa closest to Venice and also one of the most important among those designed by genial architect Andrea Palladio in the sixteenth century. Its majestic façade is reflected on the waters of the river, while beautiful gardens all’Italiana open around it. The interiors are decorated with splendid frescoes of the sixteenth century, in particular those of the ballroom and the noble floor (main floor).
Villa Foscarini Rossi
Villa Foscarini Rossi, located in Stra (Venice) is one of the most stunning Brenta villas, built in Palladian style as the home of Doge Marco Foscarini. Inside, in addition to admiring the lovely frescoed rooms, shoe lovers get a real treat—the National Shoe Museum, where an exhibit of 1,500 shoes trace the cultural history of women’s style from the 1800s to the present day.
Barbara Benzoni was born in Milan and lives between Rome and Tuscany. She is devoted to USA, the land of courage and innovation. She’s Peter's super-lucky mum and Ale's wife. Cinema, art, good food and only beautiful things are the themes of her existence. With a degree in Italian literature and a Masters in Sports Management she can both enjoys books and basketball matches. In 25 years she has been organizing sport events all over the world and she’s been lucky enough to meet the greatest champs ever. Curiosity in everyday life and people are her drivers. Her personal icon is Mohammed Ali : "It's not bragging if you can back it up".