Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari is a Venetian style villa located along the Brenta River in the town of Mira, about 30 minutes from Venice (also reachable by bus n. 53).
A short back story
It was built at the beginning of 1700 by the Serimans, a noble family of Persian origin, over the ruins of a previous building. The precise date, 1719, is carved over the ballroom entrance. The Widmanns (an Austrian family) bought it in the second half of 1700. They remodeled the villa according to the French rococò style and expanded the main building (adding another floor to add some bedrooms) and the barchessa (the former stables and warehouse).
The illustrious guests
Among the illustrious guests, the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni, composer Igor Stravinski, and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio.
Felze: one of the few gondola cover left
About D’Annunzio, in one of the rooms, you can admire the cover of his private gondola, called felze. Rumor has it that he used it not to be seen when he sailed on Lake Garda with one of his many lovers. By the way, this cover is one of the few left).
Just past the entrance, you’ll see the small Oratory, with a small altarpiece representing the Virgin, Child, and Saints. Inside the oratory, there are the tombs, or two members of the Widmann family, the ones who most loved living in this villa, Elisabetta and Arianna.
A surprising presence
After purchasing the tickets, Matteo and I headed towards the villa. To our great surprise, on that day there were two men and a woman, dressed in lovely 1700 costumes. They said they’re passionate about those costumes and they choose the models from books or paintings. And then they ask their tailor of trust to reproduce them. They were so beautiful. Plus, visiting the villa with them strolling here and there was like traveling back in time. They’re not in the villa every day, though. Just every now and then. So I can’t tell you if you will meet them.
Internally, the building is designed around a central hall, richly decorated with frescoes and stuccoes. On the first floor, there’s a mezzanine, according to the layout of the Venetian villas’ ballrooms. The view from the mezzanine is breathtaking. The different rooms you can admire during the visit are all embellished by furniture, Murano glass chandeliers, and brocade curtains. But the best part is the frescoes, especially those of the central room on the ground floor. I wasn’t expecting such a grandeur, judging by the appearance outside.
Around 1865, the owners employed two renowned artists to embellish the hall: Giuseppe Angeli, a disciple of Giambattista Piazzetta, and Gerolamo Mengozzi Colonna, Tiepolo’s favorite collaborator. However, the attribution of the frescoes is not certain: some scholars consider them the work of Francesco Zanchi. In the photo below, please notice the lady in the gallery upstairs.
On the right wall, the fresco depicts the abduction of Elena of Troy. On the opposite, you can see the sacrifice of Iphigenia. While on the ceiling, the glorification of the Widmann family is represented by characters and symbols linked to Greek mythology.
Garden and Café
All around the villa, you can stroll along the gravel alleys of the garden, which is nice and big, but I’d love to see it better maintained. Next to the villa, there’s also a café where you can grab a bite or have something to drink. While the close Barchessa houses a collection of carriages.
Currently, the complex is the property of the Metropolitan City of Venice. The villa is open for visits, photo shootings, and exhibitions. While there are other spaces to be rented for business meetings or events.
Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 1pm, 1.30pm – 4.30pm
Closed on Mondays (except for holidays)
Café Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 4.30 pm
Via Nazionale, 420, 30034 Mira VE