Riviera del Brenta
The Riviera del Brenta is a combination of history and art and towns born along the Brenta river, that connects Padua and Venice. From the 16th to the 18th century, this area experienced a period of great splendour during which it became the favourite holiday resort of Venetian nobles who built their own summer residences there.
Absolute status symbols, synonyms of both healthy living surrounded by nature, splendour and social life.
Around fifty beautiful examples of that peculiar architecture have remained intact to this day.
We then absolutely must visit the huge Villa Pisani in Strà. Planned in 1721 by Giovanni Frigimelica and Francesco Maria Preti on commission for Alvise Pisani, Doge of Venice. Inside, paintings by Gianbattista Tiepolo, Giovanni Zais, Giacomo Guaranà and other distinguished painters. Among the famous people who stayed at the Villa, Napoleon and his viceroy of Italy Eugène de Beauharnais, Tsar Alexander I and the King of Italy, Emanuele II.
In 1934, the first meeting between Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler was held here.
The huge garden, inspired to Versailles garden, is an invitation to loose oneself, wandering around from the large central swimming pool, to the courts, the “orangerie” and eventually the “love labyrinth”, with thick box hedges of over two metres.
Further worthy ‘jewels’ are Villa Foscari, known as La Malcontenta (giving its name to the same town) designed by Palladio in 1558 for Alvise and Nicolò Foscari, Villa Soranzo in Fiesso d’Artico, with exterior frescos by Paolo Caliari, Paolo Veronese’s brother, or Villa Contarini dei Leoni in Mira, built in 1558 for Federico Contarini, Magistrate of the Republic in whose Barchessa (lateral part of the house) and a number of cultural activities and events of national import take place.
Throughout the year, plays, concerts, masque parades on the water and parties take place within these beautiful settings. Some of the most charming events are Riviera Fiorita, on the Brenta river a folkloric procession of historical boats, with rowers wearing costumes and the spectacular Venice Marathon, whose route winds all along the Riviera del Brenta, from Strà to Venice.