Yesterday, I posted about our cruise on Il Burchiello from Venice up the Brenta Canal to Padua. All along the way are stunning villas that were built by wealthy Venetians back in the day to escape the summer heat. We were lucky enough to be able to dock at three of the most splendid.
This villa was built by Palladio (of architecture fame) in 1560. It was built for the daughter of a wealthy family who was having an amorous liaison disapproved of by her parents. So they banished her to the villa, which is also referred to as Malcontenta. We could not take pictures inside, but there are wonderful window seats for reading overlooking the garden. Not a bad life. (The villa is still privately owned – the owners live on the top floor!)
This villa, dating to 1719, also is still privately held. When we pulled up, the gates were padlocked. Our guide called and someone came out and opened it just for us. They had marvelous Murano chandeliers and a little ballroom that was just perfect, with a balcony all around.
They also had a gameroom with a dominoes table set up. I took this picture for my Texas family – they are passionate about dominoes.
This 18th century villa was the largest and most extravagant one we saw. The Pisani family was one of Venice’s most prominent. When one of their relatives was elected Doge (like the President of Venice), they commissioned this over-the-top villa, which took 25 years to complete.
Here is Frank at the front door, flanked by very large statues.
The billiard room and ballroom were really amazing – the ceiling is by Tiepolo.
The villa was so nice that even Napoleon decided to buy it in 1807. Here’s a picture of his bedroom – complete with monogrammed bed.
The gardens were also fabulous. And another piece of history – Villa Pisani was the site of the first meeting between Hitler and Mussolini.
Dazzled by all that we had seen, we slowly made our way up the rest of the canal. Our boat let us off at the Padua city gates, where we caught the city bus back to Venice (about 45 minutes).
We would highly recommend this outing, especially if you have already seen other highlights of Venice. We spent a day on a boat with beautiful scenery, were treated to a delicious lunch, and learned a little history – a delightful day.