The Historical Garden and the Monumental Park

An itinerary between nature and the mute presence of the classical world

By Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Villa's façade detail with rosesVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

A precious testimony of the "civilization of the villa", an ideal environment in which the Venetian nobles loved to spend their holidays...

Detail PondVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

... between sheets of water and blossoming spaces where you can escape from the mercantile heart of the frenetic city.

Foliage Autumn parkVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The first documents on Villa Widmann date back to 1720 and speak of a real garden created by Diodato Seriman who enriched it with a front courtyard and a garden with a vegetable garden at the back.

Villa seen by droneVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

In 1615 the Serenissima architect Vincenzo Scamozzi wrote: "The larger the gardens, the more spacious they are, the more honor they give to the house".

Foliage Autumn parkVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

But it was only towards the end of the 19th century that Elisabetta Widmann-Rezzonico transformed the old "brolo" into a large "park with a naturalistic character".

Avenue of hornbeamsVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Here the noble family found a quiet and secluded refuge in the sultry season...

Characters in the parkVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

In the open air they dabbled in sumptuous parties and mischievous games, in cheerful or learned "conversations"...

SpringVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Magnificent places of leisure and social life, made up of banquets and pleasant conversations immersed in the scent of flowers and in the shade of trees, play an important role in 18th century life.

Statues of Minerva, Saturno and a woman by Albanese Girolamo bottegaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

In green spaces, it was fashionable to incorporate architectural elements such as decorated vases, flowered arches, statues, fake ruins, fountains, iceboxes and aviaries with colourful exotic birds.

Banana plants in front of greenhousesVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The exotic plants imported from other continents, such as palms, bananas, magnolias, hydrangeas and wisteria, were the most fascinating and astonishing things for guests.

Barchessa and Banana plantsVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

A splendid Japanese banana, which according to popular legends brings a good dose of luck, extends into the garden near one of the entrances.

View front façade VillaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Two majestic Magnolias grandiflora, with over three hundred years of history, frame the facades of the Villa highlighting its candid architectural elegance.

Details roses and cherubs fountainVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Today as yesterday, a flower stands out above all in the park ... The rose, royal symbol of the secret gardens of Venice, which has maintained its primacy even on the mainland.

roses of the parkVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

A rose called the Dogaressa welcomes visitors in Villa Widmann. Inspired by ancient roses, it was created by two nurserymen and Giulio Pantoli, a well-known and award-winning hybridizer of roses from Romagna.

roses of the parkVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

... a flower with a particular lilac color, an unusual richness of petals and an intense perfume that makes it immediately recognizable.

Foliage Autumn parkVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Two nineteenth century hornbeam galleries enclose the clearing that leads to the monumental park on parallel sides.

ParkVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Here we find the great Gingko Biloba, a real living fossil, the only tree that survived the extinction of the dinosaurs, which fills the space in front of the ancient greenhouses.

Statue of allegorical figureVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The garden of Villa Widmann surprises and excites, and it is sweet to get lost among the silent presences reminiscent of the world of classicism: they are statues of gods, nymphs, cupids and garden gnomes.

Statue of AutumnVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

In soft stone, Jupiter, Apollo, Apollo, Triton, Venus and many other gods inhabit this majestic monumental space.

Central Statues in the park by Albanese Girolamo bottegaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Close to the Park, arranged in the flowerbed around the fountain, Minerva, Bacchus, Ceres, Viturnus, Saturn and Mercury celebrate subjects dear to the Venetian nobility: agriculture, crafts and trade.

Putto statueVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

But among the strongest presences, there is that of the cherubs, depicted playing musical instruments or with weapons and shields, almost as if to protect the villa.

Garden dwarf statueVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Mysterious presences inhabit the Park: two series of garden gnomes, with thick beards and a hooked nose, each one performing a different action, seem to tell a story...

Statue of Venere by Albanese Girolamo bottegaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Venus, goddess of beauty and love, depicted by a young girl with her feet resting on a shell and her long hair loose on her shoulders, awaits us at the end of the Park.

Romantic pondVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Crowning this magical place is a romantic little lake created at the end of the nineteenth century, where numerous marshy cypresses literally rise from the water creating a suggestive scenic effect.

GazeboVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

A belvedere where you can spend pleasant moments of conviviality closes the walk: it is an elegant gazebo with pillars and columns, enriched by a wrought iron roof.

CompendiumVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

In its 16,000 square metres of greenery, Villa Widmann invites today's holidaymakers... to find the testimonies of that time and immerse themselves in the tranquillity of a truly unique natural environment.

Park and BarchessaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Monument of art and nature with light and shadow effects, the complex seems to be created to convey emotions in intimate places among trees, flowers, gods, water lilies and cupids... not to be missed.

Credits: Story

We would like to thank Google Art & Culture for the opportunity to realize this project.
A special thank to Giusi Messina for the technological and technical support for the creation, the internship resource Celine Zancanella and Giorgia Ancilotto for their precious help.
Photo credits: CFO Dolo, San Servolo’s archive

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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