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Veneto: navigating along the River Brenta, among noble villas and calm waters

Posted by on in Città d'Arte - Cities of Art
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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0231.JPGMy friends, welcome to My Own Italy, to discover Italy with my personal touch!

Today our travel to Italy is to Veneto.

After visiting Venice, I suggest you to reach Padua getting along the riviera del Brenta to admire the famous venetian Villas.

  b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0273.JPG Fascinated by the slow and calm flow of the water, I was enchanted by the timeless landscape offered by the Brenta along its quiet coves flanked with magnificent weeping willows.

 And it's possible, along the course of the river, to admire the beautiful and aristocratic villas, anciently holiday residences of noble Venetians.


b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0245.JPGDates back to the 1345 the repeal of the law prohibiting citizens of the Venetian Republic the purchase of land on the mainland, which prompted some of the interest of the Veneto nobility to move from commercial activities to the hinterland and along the banks of theriver Brenta.


 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0278.JPG The possibility to intensify the exploitation of the possessions on the mainland caused the problem to closely monitor the agricultural production; that's why the country residences  born: in a single complex the nobles met the manor house and buildings needded for the different services.



So different types of villa were built: the "villa-company", for those who found a new source of wealth in agriculture; the "villa-temple", meeting place for artists and intellectuals; the "villa-palace", representative building and home to large parties and banquets; and also the most sumptuous mansion, designed by famous architects, decorated and painted by famous painters, to witness a season of absolute splendor.



 Famous architects such as Palladio (designer of Villa Valmarana in Vicenza), created summer residences for the noble Venetians who spent their holiday time on the mainland.



 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0283.JPGThe "Villa Veneta" gave rise to the phenomenon of "Villeggiatura", which was typical in the Veneto region in the fifteenth century and sixteenth century, and lasted for the next two centuries, until the fall of the glorious Venetian Republic in 1797.

For this reason, in this place were built about 2000 villas that still bear witness to a centuries-old architectural culture.

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0191.JPG Among the most famous villas I suggest you to visit Villa Pisani and Villa Barchessa Valmarana.

Since 1500, the canals and rivers which could be reached from Venice were flanked with sumptuous summer residences.
The Brenta Canal which connected, along with other courses, Venice to Padua became the trendy canal, where over seventy luxurious villas were built.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0249.JPGHere, not far from the city, the rich nobles spent their holidays, starting from Venice with comfortable boats called Burchiello (typical Venetian boat able to carry passengers, with a large wooden cabin, three or four balconies, finely carved and decorated) , who sailed up the navigable channel of the Brenta; these boats were powered by oars from San Marco, through the Venetian lagoon to Fusina, from where they were pulled by horses to Padua, along the Riviera del Brenta.


 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0280.JPGThe trip down the river was both charming and fun: the ladies and "cicisbei", nobles and adventurers, actors and artists that animated the life on board by making their journey lively and enjoyable.

 It was custom during the time of holiday to "visit villas" and the merry companies dragged from one villa to another, from one party to another in a whirlwind of fun and lightheartedness.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0200.JPGAt the end of the eighteenth century, with the fall of the Venetian Republic by Napoleon, the hardships of the sweet life reflected to the Venetian hinterland; the decreased number of passengers and of the races, too, caused the ceasing of the  Burchiello service.


 b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_0285.JPGToday, however, you can navigate the river even with the Burchiello, which was recovered and has become a service line of gran turismo which traces the Riviera del Brenta from Padua to Venice and vice versa.



If you like to enjoy the coolness and serenity of this place, I invite you to spend here a few days of your holiday in Italy.

Leisure me, this is my tourism!


Blog posted from Mira VE, Italia View larger map


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