On the road – Villa Pisani

04 Nov

Villa Pisani is the name shared by a number of villas commissioned by the patrician Pisani family of Venice. However, Villa Pisani usually refers to a large, late baroque villa at Stra on the mainland of the Veneto, northern Italy. It was begun in the early 18th century for Alvise Pisani, the most prominent member of the Pisani family, who was appointed doge in 1735. The initial models of the palace by Paduan architect Girolamo Frigimelica still exist, but the design of the main building was ultimately completed by Francesco Maria Preti.

The building has a rectangular layout with two inner courtyards divided by a colonnade supporting the majestic dance hall. The villa presents with an extraordinarily imposing facade: the central body is spanned by a balcony supported by four monumental caryatids. There are eight Corinthian-order half-pillars rising from the balcony. There is also a cornice decorated with a flowery festoon supported by puttos from which a triangular gable decorated with statues rises. The architectural elements and the baroque ornaments of the park, the stables and the turrets scattered along the fence are more dynamic and articulate.

The inner square court introduces to the northern facade of the villa…..

In the approximately 10 hectares of the park of the villa Pisani there are the main buildings of the park. First of all the stables, an imposing perspective backdrop and a theatric scene (used by Carlo Goldoni to play his comedies), with its curved wings that improve sonority, essential to characterize the equestrienne inspiration of the park à la Vitruvio.

Another symbolic element that must have been one of the first realizations is the labyrinth, originally planned as circular and inspired, with its turret served by a double helix that leads to the statue of Minerva, to a ritual conquer of wisdom. The character of a game is reflected by the presence of a hiding place, by the possibility of meeting the others again while walking through the labyrinth in illusory frames that recall paintings and sculptures and by the peculiar hexagonal exedra with curved sides, where a winding staircase leads to a belvedere with a round window that allows those who are downstairs to see, like in a painting of Mantegna or Coreggio, who is upstairs.

The tea time lodge with the ice-house underneath

The interior comprises a central body marked by an entrance hall and by a dance hall developing on a double height and flanked by two small halls. The first floor is reached by means of a staircase whose ceiling is decorated with an “allegory” by Jacopo Guarana.
The rooms are all intercommunicating though disengaged from each other thanks to a corridor running along the perimeter of the two courtyards. The first room presents with a ceiling carrying a fresco representing the “Triumph of the Arts” by Crostato. The next room has completely fresco-decorated walls with panels rich in ornamentation and scenes illustrating the myth of Bacchus. The “Triumph of Bacchus” on the ceiling repeats the typical pattern of the apotheosis of the deity, whereas the “Bacchic Scenes” of the walls are brightened by landscape elements. The decoration was carried out in 1770 by Jacopo Guarana. The next three rooms have Empire style furniture and are followed by the room of the dogi with marble busts of the dogi and other relief scenes. The adjacent room presents on the ceiling the “Arraignment of Paris”, a canvas painted by Jacopo Amigoni. The room of Virtues presents with a ceiling decorated with a canvas by Jacopo Guarana which represents the “Virtues” whereas the walls are covered with canvasses depicting the “Liberal Arts” painted by P.A. Novelli and G. Diziani.

The ample hall decorated with frescos has the walls painted with pillars, producing a perfectly working plastic effect and outlining dummy architectural elements that surround the central work depicting the “Glory of the Pisani family”. The latter represents the members of the family surrounded by allegorical personifications of the Arts, the Sciences and the Geniuses of Peace, before Power and beneath the Virgin observing with benevolence Fame explaining the glory and the power of the Pisani family to the world represented by the continents. This fresco was painted by Gianbattista Tiepolo between 1760 and 1762 before he left for Spain. The banquet hall presents with remarkable monochromatic decorations on the gallery painted by Gian Domenico Tiepolo and with the brass gates at the doors which have been attributed to Giuseppe Casa.

With the collapse of the Serenissima the villa was sold to Napoleon who donated it to the Viceroy of Italy Eugenio Beauharnais. In 1814 the villa fell into the hands of the Emperor of Austria and in 1866 in those of the Savoy family and was finally ceded to the public domain in 1882. In 1934 its rooms saw the first official meeting between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Uncategorized


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