The long green stripe of river Brenta estuary near Mestre, clearly visible from motorway Padua – Venice is a popular area among merachants of Venice, who built their splendour residences here, at Riviera del Brenta.
Although Venice power grew on sea trade, at the end of 15th century the voyages became threatened by the rising Otoman Empire. Venetian patricians started to invest in more stable business – land agriculture.
The soil around river Brenta was good, and easy accessible by boats from both Venice and Padua connected by merchant trail. The farms received the small agricultural houses, that gradually became the summer residences for merchants, who at the end of harvesting returned back to their ‘houses on water’.
As the farming became more profitable, in 17th century arose the fashion to create the country villa, quite often as splendid as the residences in Venice.
Designed by the best architects of the era, villas were adorned with frescoes and paintings by famous Italian artists, including Zelotti, Zuccarelli and Tiepolo.
The summer social life concentrated around banks of river Brenta, which witnessed long lasting water processions and ceremonies, visits paid by the kings, bishops, artists and noblemans to their Riviera del Brenta residences.
Today, hidden within the local villages villas are quite often opened for visitors, who can met here the great hospitality and taste the local specialities, Venetian cuisine is famous of.
Among few fine examples of Rivirea del Brenta residences are Villa Foscari ‘La Malcontenta’ , Villa Sagredo,Villa Belvedere, Villa Foscarini Rossi and Barchessa Valmarana.
[ photo courtesy of Patrick Denker]