Villa Pisani: Cruising the Brenta Canal from Padua to Venice, part 2

I recently posted about this day-long cruise here (here, here and here) and now I pick up where I left off. Our first stop on the cruise after leaving Padua was in Stra at Villa Pisani.  This incredible villa is now a state museum and very much work a visit.  It was built by a very popular Venetian Doge.

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 16.03.18

 

The facade of the Villa is decorated with enormous statues and the interior was painted by some of the greatest artists of the 18th century.

9v1XGhyoRf20ln6VZDtyRw

Villa Pisani at Stra refers is a monumental, late-Baroque rural palace located along the Brenta Canal (Riviera del Brenta) at Via Doge Pisani 7 near the town of Stra, on the mainland of the Veneto, northern Italy. This villa is one of the largest examples of Villa Veneta located in the Riviera del Brenta, the canal linking Venice to Padua. It is to be noted that the patrician Pisani family of Venice commissioned a number of villas, also known as Villa Pisani across the Venetian mainland. The villa and gardens now operate as a national museum, and the site sponsors art exhibitions.

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 16.01.55

 

D6GnxsT0QKGwYyJtUAPaUQ

Construction of this palace began 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. When it was completed, the building had 114 rooms, in honor of its owner, the 114th Doge of Venice Alvise Pisani.

In 1807 it was bought by Napoleon from the Pisani Family, now in poverty due to great losses in gambling. In 1814 the building became the property of the House of Habsburg who transformed the villa into a place of vacation for the European aristocracy of that period. In 1934 it was partially restored to host the first meeting of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, after the riots in Austria.

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 16.02.09

WXAn2duATRuBppJD41SWAQ

 

 

 

Q4CGc6HeT6ecf9sHsnrNfw

From the outside, the facade of the oversized palace appears to command the site, facing the Brenta River some 30 kilometers from Venice. The villa is of many villas along the canal, which the Venetian noble families and merchants started to build as early as the 15th century. The broad façade is topped with statuary, and presents an exuberantly decorated center entrance with monumental columns shouldered by caryatids. It shelters a large complex with two inner courts and acres of gardens, stables, and a garden maze.

The largest room is the ballroom, where the 18th-century painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo frescoed the two-story ceiling with a massive allegorical depiction of the Apotheosis or Glory of the Pisani family (painted 1760–1762).[2] Tiepolo’s son Gian Domenico Tiepolo, Crostato, Jacopo Guarana, Jacopo Amigoni, P.A. Novelli, and Gaspare Diziani also completed frescoes for various rooms in the villa. Another room of importance in the villa is now known as the “Napoleon Room” (after his occupant), furnished with pieces from the Napoleonic and Habsburg periods and others from when the house was lived by the Pisani.

The most riotously splendid Tiepolo ceiling would influence his later depiction of the Glory of Spain for the throne room of the Royal Palace of Madrid; however, the grandeur and bombastic ambitions of the ceiling echo now contrast with the mainly uninhabited shell of a palace. The remainder of its nearly 100 rooms are now empty. The Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni described the palace in its day as a place of great fun, served meals, dance and shows.

 

R7cm9CUfTJih5iOb1Bvt+g

 

g42uqoniTUu+AIoO6N74Dw

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 16.02.09

 

N4niRsV7Rj+8ao7b8vVM4w

Check out this sunken bathtub below:

lkW9cAMbTvilZiqEzIh3cg

 

1vHCstkcQP2mIXnnHqENEQ

 

rsfcANiVStiv73ntHQ6lNA

 

uNepqZzHQz60jyWSxG0Tuw

 

emdujlDeQlSd3Bv%Y3sxtA

 

UB4+1o33R5ipPIcekk4Cow

 

ZGBOsJhLSjG8vQgVci0aow

 

cKcnvqXhSdSt+BEMNivbXw

 

ajAaTbPFQViFwVykcArntA

 

cuuLWhyCRVWaWplduKrN%g

 

hUCIo6XnRuesKf3Do6xzrw

 

DElpTJjXQmGdUpTunH6jVA

 

xFtQLnmaTLGC7mfWRDyStw

 

Uezc2+wbT0i4wj1eEGyzNg

 

yj2L9oVlThejieXJ7G5JaA

 

xGlpfdyKQoeWqb7MeDBT6w

 

g9oMYi9GRtyUtx%MIEsjLw

 

C0EIVChYRdqFwIxWXDSV+w

 

MjdHyPvoRPyaCLjoV7HBpg

 

tWX6%nNBTGusPdg%iPf7oA

 

dOYU%fJKQwCo3jb3Pbai8w

 

OOu7Ig83Q8m3wBwMGc8gMw

 

ckcTbW4kRc+mrneAtPo+nQ

 

mjUumHySQcGKg73SK8mUug

 

D7FX0KykTgW6IiXQt85umA

 

rm0Lp9oiQaK2zlxmrThJEg

 

aDO7Hal+S%ypA7dLlI9NRQ

 

tgJTmYikRxOdaQ%VtrppWQ

 

0oOf7HizQMS8%8IUxWAAFA

 

ejAV+kIoSxy2L2Jh3KomYA

 

iofbHUtBRBaE8bc5FzaPyA

 

ARfTARQZQ8ST3xgOn6m4RA

 

D3tLCZrEQVWNnFq%XrzBdg

 

aapXlR1MTgmfDhHy77e+pA

 

 

 

xRGHg7rURD2fQHAcug0COg

 

wfJwWOsJTui%8IrKhI9peQ

 

DiYL6EnBQoK2gX1AEYNTTA

 

TTyiooNCSh2tILJTP5pAkA

 

 

GsvRFnN9Q+6ol2rxN5H2+g.jpg

 

6uynwhC0TTWrJapsFtnTqg

 

rfzRVWmHSNuwsxejE3z7nQ

 

MofUE98%TpGRZtXsDoY3tg

 

gWkCvdD2ThSXD1mn3c5IhQ

 

hXQULujgT6y3rrjc5Kw

 

Bear with me: in the next few photos I am trying out all of the fancy settings on my new camera:

g7txBPI5QKOBHP7yQqtBBw

 

1bWjfZtvSJ6+iJt30u9YcA

 

fullsizeoutput_193f

 

fullsizeoutput_193d

 

fullsizeoutput_193e

 

fullsizeoutput_193c

 

BjfnsKTvTrWS6aUeegBecA

 

ibH75%WTTgOcO8uuLzzr9Q

 

V9Grlr+RT9KuW+0PYO8ljQ

 

p5e%uNmuSdu1Ql06TSeZjQ

 

+8uthxR0QjqzUgspNc2CQg

 

FjhsbV2bQpSkTHE81s4GPg

 

B4zGbnSCS8C3qP63WTrDHA

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 16.02.56

 

To be continued.

My cruise through the Brenta Canal, Padova a Venezia; locks and villas and art, oh my!

Would you ever want to sail down a canal in Northern Italy that was built during the Renaissance?  I really wanted to and I did!

The Brenta Canal stretches for many miles between Chioggia on the coast, to Padua where it turns into the Brenta River. Created in the 15th century, the canal expanded trading routes for Venice and the other major cities in Northern Italy.

I was lucky enough to cruise through the canal last week, beginning at Porta Portello in Padova and ending at San Marco, Venezia.  A day to remember!  It was a beautiful fall day with mild temperatures.  A great day to be on the water.  And, what waters!  OMG.

fullsizeoutput_19f2fullsizeoutput_19f3fullsizeoutput_19f5

My cruising companions and I met our boat, il Burchiello, on the stairway at Porta Portello, the ancient river port of Padua.  We would cruise along the original course of the old Venetian Burchielli of the 18th century, passing in front of the beautiful Villa Giovanelli at Noventa Padovana.

Below: we are departing Padua itself, just outside the Renaissance era city walls:

yqmND41USruu9%AOkX3wWw

ca6ryTh+c8VlTrQ9+UQ

mp4iQXaKTYSVJuHAJA+SWw

DP1Om7PLQzyl5o7dm0MLxQ

 

 

 

 

Below, coming upon the first of so many villas located along the canal.

LvrGGUF%QN+UPidfdKrD4g

 

ggdv34d4Q3q8ZOZlBwm2xA

lChjWTDwTeGP9dNO%Etw9A

 

wNae6h%CRP67PqIzkXKRsg

 

jwelSVPlTLOeiWuLVcBgfw

 

%XdBYB+FRcOXcnTSG8QQnQ

 

We glided through the Noventa Padovana and Stra lock systems. This system of locks on the canal were really interesting to experience and to watch from the boat. The next 2 videos show the locks closing behind the boat.

 

 

 

We passed under some low bridges and buildings!  Watch you head!

nnecHpL5Q72wP2U94pPerw

 

aeEmb2NpSeG9%if7WLNuWQ

 

 

 

rpeclRd%RMi7l%0v6BaPFA

 

Now, at the front of the boat, the locks are opening:

 

 

Scenes along the canal on such a peaceful September Sunday morning. A lot of fishing going on:

FBtbmD%wQ1CWRywB8qUESw

fioDyxqRT6qPwottBa3nZQ

DMGRUg7ESQ6IWk2vurGKMw

 

A sighting of the next villa:

5JeinPyiRhG5BXECdU+sWg

amFGKybOQqKuB0zOz1TVLg

9fJ85rPKQM6Sr+bIWj0uaQ

K5hXuAK2QSOL%G2LLH5fSg

2c14k11gRJmRGqTnHtjDfA

O67GTtl5QRuj6Q1emQTebQ

llDIBYY1Q4qT9AgO4Q3bSA

VrG8081GRFiWADC%H4m+hQ

 

My next post will talk about the villa seen below:

 

FrI27%9oSWiEOCm0dgGcvg

9v1XGhyoRf20ln6VZDtyRw

D6GnxsT0QKGwYyJtUAPaUQ

WXAn2duATRuBppJD41SWAQ

To be continued, here, here and here.

 

Still learning the Italian ropes: the ATM

Even after almost 3 years of full-time life in Italy, I am still learning.  I recently was able to open a kind of bank account here. This means that after 3 years, I can pay my rent online for the first time!  What an accomplishment!  It’s a long story about why it took this long, but most of it is that no Italian friend can truly understand how confusing it is to do something as simple as opening a bank account here for a foreigner.  And, btw, bank accounts are expensive in Italy.  They charge you a lot for holding your money.

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 09.45.08

Be all of that as it may, I now have an Italian account that comes with a debit card and the ability to withdraw cash from certain ATMs across the country.

What I didn’t know was the etiquette involved.  Yesterday I went into the small room off a major street, within which I had spotted the correct ATM.  Someone was in the small room (it’s the size of a small walk-in closet), but there was no line, so I entered the room. The man who was already at the machine turned to stare at me, and for a split second, I thought he was offering to let me go in front of him to use the machine.

Then, I realized that he was not happy because I was in the room at all with him.  I found out that entering the closet with another person is not acceptable, even though I was nowhere near him and the machine.  But, at that moment, before the gravity of this sunk it, I just waved at him and said, “go ahead.”  Then I turned completely around and looked out the window so he wouldn’t think I was after his PIN. Ha ha…little did he know that I could watch him from close up and never remember the digits if my life depended on it. Numbers don’t compute in my brain.

The comedy of this situation is that I was lugging 3 large plastic bags full of wet laundry to a nearby laundromat.  I have a washer in my apartment, but nobody has a drier. I was on my way to dry towels and blankets–since fall is setting in–at the laundromat.  I specifically entered the glass bank ATM closet so I could set down these heavy bags.

The man finished his top secret transaction and left. I took my turn at the machine and tried 4 times to withdraw cash and, of course, I couldn’t get the machine to work for me. When I finally accepted defeat (as I have become adept at doing here in fair Italia), I turned to leave, and picked up my 3 heavy laundry bags.  I noted that there were about 4 or 5 relatively patient people waiting just outside the glass door to use the ATM when I finished.  As I left, I wanted to tell them thank you for waiting outside the glass closet, but of course I don’t know the Italian words for any of this.  My baby Italian would not deliver the sarcasm I would have wanted to portray.

Lesson learned: in Italy, where the concept of personal space doesn’t exist in lines at the supermarket, the pharmacy, the airport, the train station…that concept is alive and well at the ATM glass closet.  Silly me.

For posterity, a marker in Florence

One of the millions of things I love about Italy is:  they never miss an opportunity to mark something for posterity.  No matter how modest the contribution.

Case in point, a stone’s throw from my home on the north end of Florence is an underground parking lot in a neighborhood known as the “Parterre.”  It serves a vital function of providing parking for some of the thousands of cars that cannot enter historic Florence on any given day, because the historic center is designated a pedestrian area and does not allow entry for unauthorized vehicles.

The above-ground section marking the Parterre is nothing much to brag about:

IMG_1383

But, nevertheless, the city’s leaders wanted credit given to the masterminds behind the underground parking, and to this end they installed a very grand-sounding plaque with inscriptions lauding them all.

fullsizeoutput_1843

fullsizeoutput_1844

A bronze fountain composed of stacked toddlers

fullsizeoutput_1842

Poor Giorgio Vasari! I just don’t know what to make of the tiny little “piazza” that was named in Florence in his honor.  For the father of the history of art, I think he deserves something a little grander, don’t you?

Honestly, the piazza is such a throw away space that I can’t even make a screenshot of a Google Maps image to add to this post.  The location isn’t even marked, other than being a pinpoint on a short street called “Piazza Giorgio Vasari.”

So, because I am an intrepid searcher when it comes to arcane facts, here are the 3 things you should know about this unloved piazza on the north east side of Florence.

  1. It is named after Giorgio Vasari, who was a talented painter in his own right, but also the Father of Art History
  2. It is graced with a marker dedicated to all the citizens who were victims of war (sometimes this marker has a laurel wreath placed over it)

fullsizeoutput_1841

3. It has, at it’s center, a strange bronze sculpture of stacked toddlers

fullsizeoutput_183f

 

fullsizeoutput_1842

 

The next time I walk through the piazza, I will take a note on the foundry and artist markings on the fountain.  It was too dark this time.

Strange, but true, the fountain of stacked bambini marking the Piazza Giorgio Vasari!