About The Riviera Del BrentaA strip of land along the river Brenta, which flows from Padua to Venice: gardens and gorgeous artistic villas are the landscape of The Brenta Riviera. It 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 the “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 built 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. 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 their 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 villa Foscari at Malcontenta and villa Soranzo at Fiesso were built with ouside frescoes 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. 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.