Villa Pisani, also named The Nazionale, is certainly one of the most famous examples of Venetian Villa along the Brenta banks. It is situated in the municipality of Stra, in the province of Venice and it develops on bend in the river Brenta, extending on a surface of 11 hectars and an external perimeter of 1500 meters. Its construction started in 1721 on a project by Gerolamo Frigimelica and Francesco Maria Preti commissioned by the noble Venetian family Pisani from Santo Stefano. On the inside visitors can admire works by Giambattista Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista Crosato, Giuseppe Zais, Jacopo Guarana, Carlo Bevilaqua, Francesco Simonini, Jacopo Amigoni and Andrea Urbani.
At the beginning Villa Pisani counted 114 rooms (today 168), as homage to the 114th Doge of Venice, Alvise Pisani. The monumentality of the villa made it the perfect residence and location for meetings between monarches, heads of state and government. In 1807 Villa Pisani became Napoleone Bonaparte’s property, in fact he bought it from the Pisani family for the sum of 1.901.000 Venetian liras and sold it then to the Italian Viceroi Eugène de Beauharnais.
In 1814 the villa passed to the Austrian family of the Absburg, thus becoming the country mansion of the European aristocracy: from Charles IV of Spain to the Alxander I of Russia, Ferdinando II of the Borbone family, king of Naples.
In 1866, when the Veneto region was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, Villa Pisani became a state property, loosing its representative function and becoming a museum in 1884. It was here that, in 1934 Mussolini and Hitler met officially for the first time. In 1969, the Villa was selected by Pier Paolo Pasolini as the set for his movie “The Porcile”.
THE PARK OF VILLA PISANI, THE LOVELIEST GARDEN IN ITALY
The park of Villa Pisani as been awarded in the 2008 as “the most beautiful park in Italy” The park offers incredible scenarios, original architectures, green houses and the famous labyrinth. The latter was created before the construction of the Villa, on a project by the Paduan architect Girolamo Frigimelica de’ Roberti, the same who designed the original pavillions like the exedra, having two wisteria lanes on both sides, the little tower in the centre of the labyrinth, the stables at the very far end of the central parterre.
The structure of the park combines elements of the French models applied by André Le Nôtre in Versailles with elements of the Venetian tradition of walled gardens. An English grove on the western side of the park was added during the Napoleon age.
In the 19th century, the Austrian influence reflected on the great attention paid to botany, both for vase plants and trees, the use of greenhouses and majestic trunk trees, while the 20th century saw the introduction of long hedges and the great parterre swimming pool. In 1839 a second icehouse was built on the western side of the stables among the trees of the grove.
The park of Villa Pisani has entirely been restored and offers today a rich botany collection.
THE LABYRINTH OF VILLA PISANI
The labyrinth, which is also called “The Labyrinth of Love”, is one of the biggest in Europe and it is formed by 9 circles of hedges, that you can freely walk through. Despite the many restorations, its structure is still the original one, recalling the 16th century idea of labyrinth set by the Gonzaga family from Mantova.
THE POOL OF VILLA PISANI
The long pool situated in the centre of the park was built in 1911 to enable hydraulic studies commissioned by the Hydrographic Institute of the University of Padua.
THE INTERIORS OF VILLA PISANI
The guided tour at the interiors of the National Museum of Villa Pisani, starts with the 30 rooms composing the noble floor; here the visitor can admire original frescoes, paintings and furniture.
A description of the rooms of the 18th century, shows life at court in Villa Pisani: the room of Bacchus’s triumph, (a celebration to the God of Wine and Music), the room of Vacation depicting the relationships between ladies and knights at the time of Casanova and the Dining room, which makes the visitor deep into the atmosphere of banqueting at Napoleon’s Court. Visitors can admire a table richly laid with original fine porcelain, a precious alabaster centre-piece of the Neoclassic period, other then rococo plate display racks with glass works and ceramics of the 18th century.
Giambattista Tiepolo (the greatest painter of the 18th century in Italy) frescoed the ceiling of the ballroom, situated at the centre of Villa Pisani main floor, with “the Apotheosis of the Pisani Family”. This masterpiece miraculously escaped removal, according to a restyling project by the viceroi Eugenio di Beauharnais (owner of Villa Pisani from 1807 and 1814), in the 19th century. During this period new rooms were created in the Imperial style, at the very far end of Villa Pisani’s façade, in front of the river Brenta. Napoleon’s apartment is particularly interesting and suggestive, rich of art treasures like the imposing four-poster bed, on which the initials of the Emperor were carved, the inlaid dresser, made by Giuseppe Bracciolini, the monochromes by Giovanni Carlo Bevilacqua, reproducing the myth of Eros and Psyche or the precious Imperial style furniture collection, exclusively commissioned for Villa Pisani.
HOW TO REACH VILLA PISANI
Via Venezia, 30039 Stra Venice, Italy – Go to the map >>
From Padua: State Road # towards Venice (just past downtown Strà);
From Venice: State Road # 11 towards Padua (just past downtown Fiesso d’ Artico);
From Motorway A4: exit Padova Est, follow the signs for Ponte di Brenta. Exit in Dolo, towards Padua.
You can reach Villa Pisani using the SITA Bus lines (From Padua, bus line towards Strà stopping at Strà bus station) or using the ACTV bus lines (from Padua or from Venice, bus stop in Strà, go to www.actv.it). From downtown Strà you can easily reach the Villa in a five minutes walk.
FROM THE 17TH TO THE 31ST OF MARCH
From 9am to 6pm (from 5pm to 6pm exit only)
FROM APRIL TO SEPTEMBER
From 9am to 8pm (from 7pm to 8pm exit only)
From 9am to 6pm (from 5pm to 6pm exit only)
FROM NOVEMBER TO MARCH
From 9am to 5pm (from 4pm to 5pm exit only)
Open daily except on Mondays, May 1st , Christmas Day and January 1st .
The Labyrinth of Villa Pisani is open from April to September, except during bad weather days or when maintenance is under course. The Labyrinth is not suitable for physical disabled people.
VILLA PISANI TICKET FARES:
- Visit to the Park and the Villa € 10,00
- Visit to the Park only € 4,50
Reduced-rate ticket (18-25 years old):
- Visit to the Park and the villa € 7,50
- Visit to the Park only € 2,25
Riviera del Brenta residents (Campagna Lupia, Campolongo Maggiore, Camponogara, Dolo, Fiesso d’Artico, Fossò, Mira, Stra, Vigonovo): Visit to the Park and the Villa € 4,50
Free entrance for young people up to 18 years and people over 65.
Reductions and free entrances are reserved to European Union citizen