Villa Pisani

Villa Pisani is a baroque villa in Stra. Begun in the early 1700s, it was the home of the man appointed Doge of Venice in 1735. The design was based on the elaborate Versailles. While it doesn’t quite match that magnificent building and grounds outside Paris, it does have much to recommend it.

The view alone is worth the side excursion about 20 mi/30 km from the city. The enormous facade of the villa is capped with statues and sports a highly decorated entrance with huge columns supported by caryatids.

Like Versailles, there are around the villa several acres of gardens, horse stables, a maze carved out of shrubs and much more. The long pool in front of the main building is extraordinary by itself, but also sports statues at each corner that are well worth a look.

Inside, the villa contains several frescoes including one by the famed Giovanni Tiepolo, including the Glory of the Pisani family. Others are by his son Gian Domenico, Guarana and other artists of the period. While most of the rooms are now empty, there are several on the first floor that contain furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The villa has seen its share of history, too. Napoleon acquired the villa in 1807 after one of his many conquests. It was recovered with his defeat a few years later. It has been a national monument since 1882. Hitler conferred with Mussolini, the WWII-era Fascist dictator of Italy, here in 1934.