Two Centuries of History at Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

A unique way to immerse yourself in the daily life of the Venetian nobility, from the beginning of the !8th century to the last years of the 20th century

Villa's façade detail with rosesVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

It has been there since 1719, "Place of delights" and noble residence of that holiday resort, so well narrated and described by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni.

Screen printing of the VillaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

It was built by the will of Diodato Seriman, originally from a rich family of textile entrepreneurs of Armenian origin...

Oratory internal viewVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

... on that landed property obtained by marrying in 1705 the Tuscan Elisabetta Tornimben.

Characters on the GalleryVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The Seriman loved the way of life of the noble Venetian families and like them they loved to spend long summer periods on the mainland between sumptuous parties and gallant meetings...

View façade villaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The majestic entrance of the Dominican House gave directly to the central hall and recalled the ancient Greek temples with a tympanum supported by two central columns and two lateral pillars.

Rear façade of the villaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

But... in the second half of the eighteenth century, the Villa was sold to the Gabrio of the Milanese Serbelloni family who completely restored it!

frescoes ballroom by Giuseppe Angeli and Gerolamo Mengozzi ColonnaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The ceiling was smashed into the living room, a suggestive balcony was built and a second floor with a particular cross shape was added.

Cimasa with Widmann family coat of armsVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The Widmann family from Carinthia fell in love with it and immediately wanted to buy it.

CharactersVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The Widmans, like the Serimans, loved the way of life of the Venetian nobles... but, unlike the first ones, they managed to obtain the aggregation to the patriciate of Venice.

Lodovico Widmann portraitVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

It was the election of Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico as Pope that led to the embellishment of the Villa. His niece Quintilia had married Louis IV Widmann, thus uniting the two noble families.

Detail fresco by Gerolamo Mengozzi ColonnaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

In 1765 two very popular and beloved artists in the Venetian environment of the time were called to fresco it.

fresco detail "the Sacrifice of Iphigenia" by Giuseppe AngeliVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Giuseppe Angeli, disciple of Giambattista Piazzetta, took care of the representations. He preferred light and bright colors to bestow a joyful tone to the spaces.

frescoes ballroom by Giuseppe Angeli and Gerolamo Mengozzi ColonnaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

For the walls he chose two mythological scenes: the Rape of Helen and the Sacrifice of Iphigenia. Perhaps dramatic themes but made light by serene faces and soft colours...

Detail cealing with character mirror or sunVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

On the ceiling was represented the glorification of the Widmann family: the coat of arms of the Florentine lily and the crescent moon with the four seasons.
"Nature, better life, smiles at the Widmann family".

Detail fresco by Gerolamo Mengozzi ColonnaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Gerolamo Mengozzi Colonna, right arm of the great Tiepolo, created the rococo frames with a skilful use of chiaroscuro capable of creating very suggestive three-dimensional optical effects.

Master bedroomVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Various marriages and alternating fortunes marked the dynasty of the family, but the Villa always remained in their hearts so much so that they regained it, after having gone to auction in 1883, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Golden oval mirror in the master bedroom.Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

It was Elisabetta Widmann Rezzonico, after her marriage to Pietro Foscari, who returned to this noble residence in 1901.

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

Thanks to her and her great love for this place, the majestic green space was transformed into the monumental park that we can still admire today.

Romantic pondVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

It was in this period that the romantic little artificial lake took shape, which, like the Park, changes its colours with the passing of the seasons.

Detail statue and iron gateVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

In 1970, Lodovico Foscari, Elisabetta and Pietro's son, sold the complex to Commendator Settimio Costanzo, a textile industrialist from Vicenza.

Bathroom details 19th centuryVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Costanzo ordered one of the most important restorations of the Villa: the bathrooms were built and the electrical system was inserted in the whole building.

Chandelier Entrance HallVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

He was also responsible for the closing of the majestic entrance to the Dominican House where he inserted the splendid chandelier: over 360 pieces in blown Murano glass.

View front façade VillaVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

The sumptuous life, full of parties, events and illustrious guests, brought the Villa to auction in a few years. In 1984, he bought it from the Province of Venice, now a Metropolitan City.

Statue of allegorical figureVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

Since then this place not only preserves the history of the families who lived here...

Detail of upper frontal façadeVilla Widmann Rezzonico Foscari

... bears traces of the customs and traditions of the Venetian nobility of the 18th century, one of the periods of maximum splendor of the queen of the seas and arts.

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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