Discovering Villa Pisani

Clear and immediate guide leading to the discovery of Villa Pisani through photos and texts easy to navigate.

Discovering Villa Pisani, by Tommaso Formenton. Photo: Aldo Gabbana, Sovraintendenza per i Beni Archittetonici e per il Paesaggio per le Provincie di Venezia, Treviso, Belluno. Graphic design, layout and cover: Ketty Righetto. Proof reader: Marina Doni.

Very special thanks to arch. Giuseppe Rallo, Laura Brancato, Cristiano Del Conte, Viviana Giaretta, Morena Gobbo, Francesca Marcellan, Sara Menapace, Caterina Rampazzo, Romina Simonato

Copyright © Medoacus 2009 | Copyright Digital Edition 2012 © LA CASE Books. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. 

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Discovering Villa Pisani


By the 16th century, the Santo Stefano branch of the Pisani family already owned a villa at Stra set on a bend of the Brenta Canal. In the 17th century the building was enlarged, but when their mounting economic power and the resulting political success of one of the members culminated in his being elected Doge of Venice in 1735, the Pisani thought it appropriate to completely reconstruct the villa to provide a fitting residence for a personage of such high office.

Following the purchase of the terrain adjacent to the old villa, in 1720 the Pisani commissioned Girolamo Frigimelica Roberti (1653-1732) to draw up plans for the construction of a new residence. So, prior to his being called to the court of the Duke of Modena, Frigimelica oversaw the building of the stables, the exedra, the portal of the Belvedere, the small tower in the maze, and the villa perimeter wall.

In 1735 Francesco Maria Preti (1701-1774), an architect, from Treviso, was appointed to continue the work. He began to alter his predecessor’s plans and eventually proposed a new project that was brought to fruition in 1756. In 1807 Napoleon Bonaparte bought the villa and park from the Pisani brothers, Alvise and Francesco, and presented it the following year to the Viceroy of Italy, Eugenio De Beauharnais, his stepson.

In this period significant modifications were made to the garden while some of the rooms in the interior were decorated and refurnished in Empire style. In 1814, upon Bonaparte’s fall, the villa passed to the Hapsburgs of Austria who made no substantial alterations during their residency.

The Veneto became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1866 and Villa Pisani was expropriated by the Crown and placed under the protection of the Regional Office for the Conservation of the Monuments of the Veneto. However, as it was no longer used by State dignitaries, the funds for its maintenance were reduced. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Research of the State University of Padua constructed a long tank in the centre of the park in 1911 for the purpose of scientific experiments.

In 1938 the villa became a State-owned enterprise the Azienda Autonoma per la Villa Nazionale di Stra which was dissolved in 1947. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the villa was more or less abandoned until the nineteen-seventies; it was not until the last decades of the 20th century that restoration was carried out to return the complex to its original condition, opening it to the public as an ideal venue for various events. At present the villa is managed and safeguarded by the Department for Architectural Heritage and the Countryside of the Provinces of Venice, Belluno, and Treviso.