The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

Down at the bottom of a serpentine secondary state road, where a shallow lagoon fronts the striped asphalt, sits an ornate pavilion where once upon a time small craft, negotiating the shallow waters of the Valle di San Eusebio in the volcanic landscape of the Colli Euganei (Eugenean Hills), came to rest to offload their special cargo: VIP guests.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

It’s Diana’s Pavilion, the grand entryway into the peace and quiet of Villa Barbarigo in Valsanzibio di Galzignano Terme and it’s stately, fountain-filled, park-like gardens that don’t lack for superlatives. And, it just happens to be our latest stop on the Villas of the Venetian Republic photo-shoot tour.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images
This was the time back when High Renaissance master builder Andrea Palladio’s clear and sober imprint across La Serenissima begrudgingly gave way to a new idea in architectural design: Baroque and its flair for the dramatic.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

And there’s no better place to sample this 17th century, new-kid-on-the-block movement than by taking a stroll around the gardens of Villa Barbarigo, the so-called Versailles of the Colli Euganei.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

Located just 15 km south of Padua, the greenery of the Villa Barbarigo, honored as one of Europe’s most beautiful gardens, sprung to life back in 1669 when the villa’s owner, Zuane Francesco Barbarigo, a Venetian nobleman, commissioned Luigi Bernini, the Vatican’s architect-in-residence and fountain builder extraordinaire, to draw up a design and put in place a fairytale-like setting that would turn heads and clearly announce that the Baroque movement had arrived in the Most Serene Republic of Venice.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

The gardens meander across 40 acres of terraced land in one of the valleys of the Colli Euganei, divided into well-manicured, thematic parcels and mazes accented by ornate fountains, fish ponds, cascades and streams — 33 water features in all — and 60 life-size statues sprinkled around for good measure.

This quiet-as-a-mouse verdant oasis screams out in muted tone, BAROQUE…LIVES… HERE.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio ImagesSymbolism abounds around every corner and down every graveled path, as the gardens of the Villa Barbarigo were designed to serve as an allegory of man’s progress towards perfection.

It’s really poetry in motion the moment you step out from underneath Sileno’s Archway and begin to wind your way around and through the 17th century that ends at the spear-tipped, wrought-iron fence fronting the Villa Barbarigo.

There are 22 photogenic stops along the route that are crisscrossed by three main hedge-lined avenues. Best-of-show are Diana’s Pavilion, Rainbow Fountain, Fish Pond of the Winds — complimented by a pair of curious black swans — Fountain of Water Jokes, Stairway of the Sonnet, and the monumental Statue of Time. Is it headless or is that a snake staring back at me? 

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

For complete ticket, tours and travel information, just logon to the official Villa Barbarigo website by clicking HERE.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

My camera batteries now spent, I guess it’s time to pack up the gear and take one last look around at the ornate gardens of the Villa Barbarigo in Valsanzibio. It’s 40 acres of serenity just dripping in Baroque.

The Villas of the Venetian Republic: Villa Barbarigo Garden | ©2014 Tom Palladio Images

Join me again next time when we’ll once again remove the lens caps and take aim at another one of the grand villa estates of the Most Serene Republic of Venice.

Ciao for now.

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props | ©Tom Palladio Images

_________________________________________________________

Advertisements

Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

14 comments

  1. Oh I have got to come visit you! This villa is stunningly beautiful… and the gardens… The gate is a bit understated but… LOL 😉 🙂

    Like

  2. Stunning! Thanks for taking me away, Calgon…I mean, Tom. Hard to imagine the imagination, effort, money and time it took to create this and to keep it up. Makes me happy to be able to see it and glad I have a much smaller section of the earth to play with.

    janet

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s