Historical Gardens in the province of Padua
Do not hesitate to ask us for advice and suggestions regarding the numerous gardens in the Province of Padua, extraordinary examples of landscape architecture; an age-old art that has helped make famous our architects all over the world. Some of the gardens of the VENECIAN AND PALLADIAN VILLAS are close to the Euganean Hills and easily accessible
from Agriturismo Terre Bianche.
Within a 30 km range you can visit:
- Villa Emo Capodilista Garden – Monselice
- Villa Barbarigo Garden - Valsansibio
- Villa Valmarana Garden - Saonara
- Villa Vescovana Garden - Vescovana
- Old and New Botanical University gardens - Padua
Villa Barbarigo Pizzoni Ardemani, Valsanzibio
The historical garden of Villa Barbarigo was created in the second half of the 17th century by the Venetian nobleman Antonio Barbarigo, brother of St. Gregorio, as a vow to the Lord for eradicating the plague in 1630.
It is definitely one of the most important Italian gardens because of its size, its architectural landscape and not least its allegorical and symbolic connotations. It is a place where a perfect harmony between plant and building architectures reigns. The space is symmetrically divided by two cardinal axes. From the Bath of Diana, the ancient river dock, four fishponds, sixteen fountains, seventy statues and three water jests unfold. There is also a 500 years old labyrinth shaped by boxwood that creates walls up to 5 meters high. In addition to the precious heritage of statues of allegorical and mythological subjects, the waterworks and the architectural decorations are of considerable value.
The imposing centuries-old trees come from 4 continents.
The sequence of the designed spaces and the deep symbology of the architectural artifacts made the garden not only a pleasant place where the noblemen who lived there and their guests spent time in the moments of otium, but also a space of spiritual elevation, purification and contemplation.
Villa Selvatico Sartori, Battaglia Terme
The monumental complex of Villa Selvatico (1593-1650) represents an original stylistic example with both medieval and oriental architectural contaminations. From the large terrace that surrounds the villa you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Euganean Hills. On the east side, facing the Battaglia canal, there is a steep monumental staircase that allowed direct access to the villa to those who came by boat from Padua and Venice. The staircase leads to the 19th century garden which encloses unique water path along the thermal lakes.
The Villa rises above a hill which was known as the “Hill of the Stove” for its sudorific cave. This cave was the forerunner of the thermal establishments present on the territory today. It was used since medieval times not only by locals but also by famous people such as Francesco Petrarca, Duke Francis III of Modena, the philosopher Michel de Montaigne, the writer Stendhal and the poet Heinrich Heine.
The 19th century project of the park is by the famous architect Giuseppe Jappelli who transformed a typical Italian garden into an English garden. Jappelli exploited the waters of the thermal lakes by creating fishponds and groves inspired to the journey to the Underworld described in the Aeneid to arise strong emotions in the visitors.
Visiting this park today is still a suggestive experience for the particular shadows of the secular trees that are reflected in the warm water of the small lakes, which you can cross by boat.
From the park you can reach the Battaglia canal where you can sail to Padua and Venice.
The Catajo Garden, Battaglia Terme
The Catajo Castle was built by the Marquis Pio Enea degli Obizzi in 1570-1573. The monumental complex represents a cross between a military castle and a princely villa. Pio Enea II (1592-1674) brought some changes. In place of the stables, he built a theater that was later transformed into a neo-Gothic church, and the grotto with the Elephant Fountain with mythological figures of Bacchus and Satyrs. The painter G.B. Zelotti frescoed the walls of the reception halls with
scenes representing the feats of the family. In 1768, Tommaso degli Obizzi decorated the large complex with archaeological findings and stone furnishings.
The monumental complex is surrounded by two beautiful gardens: the Parco delle Delizie (Garden of Delights) adorned with vases of citrus along the paths, and the Cortile dei Giganti (Giants’ Courtyard). The latter, located inside the complex, was formerly used for theatrical performances, tournaments and aquatic combats. In the park you can admire a fishpond, two 18th century giant magnolias and a massive sequoia.
The Catajo then became property of the Archdukes of Austria-Este and Dukes of Modena who used it as a hunting and holiday resort. Afterwards, it was bought by the Habsburgs and, at the end of World War I the ownership passed to the Italian State. In 1929 the Catajo was bought by the Dalla Francesca family who sold it in 2015 to a well-known
Villa Pisani Bolognesi Scalabrin, Vescovana
This Villa was built in the first half of the 16th century by Cardinal Francesco Pisani, a Venetian patrician who was the Bishop of Padua. The villa, which stands on the ruins of a medieval building, became the administrative headquarters of the Pisani family funds in the Paduan Lowlands. At the behest of the Cardinal who commissioned it, the villa was
splendidly frescoed by the most famous painters at the time, testifying to the prestige and wealth of the family.
The English Garden is still the highlight of the villa, and even nowadays it hosts numerous events. Realized in the 19th century thanks to Countess Evelina, wife of the last member of the Pisani family, it became an excellent example of romantic garden with contaminations to the Italian garden. The garden was realized as the Countess had dreamed it, full of references to her many travels and her knowledge. For example, Evelina recollected her beloved Constantinople with the realization of two beautiful stone peacocks that, according to the Muslim tradition, represent the guardians of the house, and with the cultivation of thousands of tulips, the flowers of Allah.
The bright Evelina conducted the property in an exemplary manner also undertaking actions to improve the conditions of the peasants. In 1880, with the death of Evelina’s husband, the Pisani family died out. The inheritance passed to a distant nephew, the Marquis Carlo Guido Bentivoglio d’Aragona, whose daughter Elisabetta married Count Filippo Nani Mocenigo. At the end of the '60s the heirs of Count Nani Mocenigo sold the property to Mario and Mariella Bolognesi Scalabrin, hence the name of the Villa.
Villa Miari de Cumani, Sant’Elena d’Este
Near Vescovana there is another wonderful 20-acre English garden. It was realized in 1856 on a project by the engineer Osvaldo Torquato Paoletti, student of Japelli. This irregular shaped garden contains all the elements of the Romantic
garden and the criterions of the informal garden: a pond, a grotto, small sculptures, the vegetation sometimes exotic, the Swiss chalet on the shores of the lake which recalls the alpine landscape, the Hermit’s Hill, the Olive Trees’ Hill, St. Giacomo’s Chapel, the clearing of the Witches’ Plain, the Castelluccio Island, the shores of Lago Scuro, the statue of Bacchus located in an open space among the groves, and the Nymphaeum.
All these neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance elements, including the evocative names of the places, contribute to the picturesque atmosphere of the garden. A watercolor layout is preserved in the family archives displayed in one of the halls of the villa. It reproduces the spatial conception which still remains almost perfectly unchanged. Among the vegetations a cluster of bald cypresses (Taxodium distichum) stands out. The aerial roots of these trees contribute to the picturesque and scenic atmosphere of the lake.
Giacomin Romiati’s Garden, Padua
Downtown Padua there is a secret and romantic garden. It was designed by Jappelli whose incredible imagination conjugated plant and artificial elements in an admirable language. Here the perception of magic, eclectic and fantastic reaches sublime levels. The garden was realized between 1839 and 1840 and it was conceived for the moments of otium of the owners. The space is scenically set exploiting the external architectures, such as the apse of St. Francis’ church, as backdrops of the scene. The 2500 square meter area is dilated by perspective effects which were created with high grounds near the perimeter of the garden. For example, a small hill along which departs a path deliberately harsh and initiatory between fake relics and rocaille leads to an octagonal tower that is the focal point of the garden.
It is noteworthy to mention the plant architecture that includes a majestic hanging beech (Fagus Silvatica Pendula), a secular Judas tree (Cercis Siliquastrum), a Japanese big leaf magnolia, some imposing yews (Taxus Baccata) and an ancient Chinese holly tree (Ilex Cornuta).
Villa Roi Fogazzaro Colbachini, Montegalda
Giovanni Fogazzaro, grandfather of the writer Antonio Fogazzaro, purchased the villa in 1846, and commissioned the Vicentine architect Antonio Caregaro Negrin to restore the villa and design the park. The writer loved to stay here during the period of the grape harvest and some passages of his novel Little Modern World are set in this villa.
The Italian Garden consists of 8 square flowerbeds that enclose other four flowerbeds with a central tank for aquatic plants. The Romantic Park has a small lake and a wide riding track. Both gardens coexist in harmony.
On the shores of the lake there are some beautiful bald cypresses and tamarisks. From the lake a suggestive network of small canals and bridges develops. Colbachini, the current owner, has set up the Museum of Bells of Veneto in a wing of the Villa. It displays a wide collection of bells dating from 1000 A.D. to present time. It is definitely the richest collection of bells in Europe.
Villa Revedin Bolasco, Castelfranco
This Villa (1852-1865), now owned by the University of Padua, was designed by the architect Giambattista Meduna who became famous because he renovated important monuments in Venice such as the Teatro della Fenice, St. Mark, and the Ca' d’Oro.
The building is surrounded by a large 19-acre English-style Romantic Park which was designed by Meduna and other famous plant architects such as Francesco Bagnara, Marc Guignon and Antonio Caregaro Negrin. The latter worked there between 1868-1878 and designed the current configuration of the park. Also, he designed a covered shelter for boats and the Hispano-Moorish style greenhouse.
In the Park there is a riding arena, the Cavallerizza, which is surrounded by 52 statues, some of which are attributed to Orazio Marinali from Bassano. In the eastern part of the border wall is located the Colombara. In 2018 the park was awarded the title of “Most beautiful public park in Italy” by the National Network of parks and gardens.
Villa Papafava, Rovolon
Since the 13th century the Papafava Counts have been the owners of this estate that includes a park designed by its owner, Alberto Papafava, in 1860. The count reclaimed the marshy area of the plain by digging a 7-acre lake with a very articulated outline that makes it look like a natural body of water well integrated in the landscape. The 300-acre park also includes a renowned golf course.
Along the paths of the garden there are a cave, a bamboo grove, a ravine and a neoclassical temple, all of them are characteristic elements of the landscaped garden