Things to see
The Barbaro family ordered the construction of this villa in the mid-1500s. Over the years, the villa passed on to the Trevisan family and later to the Basadonna family from whom Lodovico Manin, the last Doge of Venice, came from. The villa fell into disrepair during the early 19th century but was eventually bought and renovated by wealthy industrialist Sante Giacomelli. During the First World War, the villa was occupied by Italian forces who used it as headquarters and outpost. In 1934, the villa was purchased by Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata who continued to restore it; his descendants still live there today.
Andrea Palladio also built the Tempietto Barbaro, a small church that served both the villa and the nearby village of Maser. It is a compact domed structure with a temple front reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome, two small bell towers prefacing the dome. It is likely that the church faced a small plaza which has long since been paved over.
Another particular feature of the Villa Barbaro is the Nymphaeum located behind it. These large monuments are typical of Roman gardens and were originally dedicated to the local water nymphs. The one at Villa Barbaro is decorated with several statues and frames a spring water fishpond.
Designed and built in the mid 16th century by the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, Villa Emo is one of Palladio’s best works and a countryside jewel. In fact, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, along with Villa Barbaro, another of Palladio’s edifices.
Located in the lush Veneto region of Italy, some 40 km from Venice, Villa Emo is a simple yet elegant union of summer palace and working farm. Devoid of embellishments on the outside, conversely the interior is richly decorated with frescoes by the late Renaissance artist Giovanni Battista Zelotti. These frescoes celebrate mythological scenes as well as agricultural life, noble virtues, family and fertility.