Villa Barbaro in Mazere. Italy
We had a beautiful sunny day today. Finally I made it out to see Villa Barbaro in Mazer and I was fascinated by these beautiful frescoes of Paolo Veronese. You remember, we looked at the Church of San Sebastiano in Venice, which he painted, and discussed his painting of the Marriage in Cana in Galilee. But before we look at the frescoes, I want to tell you about this beautiful villa.
The Villa Barbaro in Maser was the country residence of the Acquilean patriarch Daniele Barbaro and his brother Marcantonio, in the village of Maser, province of Treviso, built in the 1560s by the famous Italian architect Andrea Palladio, whose covered galleries, decorated with columns, were an innovative idea for the time and soon became popular throughout Europe. Palladio developed the principles of architecture, which were developed in the architecture of European classicism XVII-XVIII centuries and were called Palladianism.
Palladio met Daniele Barbaro in 1550 in Venice. Barbaro, was a well-educated man, was keenly interested in music and astronomy, and in 1556 published the works of Vitruvius. Andrea Pallado did the illustrations for this book.
He was also a scientist, philosopher, mathematician and optician Barbaro served the Republic of Venice as ambassador and as a representative in the Council of Trent. In 1550 he was elected bishop of Aquileia.
Brother Daniele was a politician and amateur sculptor. In designing the villa for the Barbaro brothers, Palladio took as a basis the structural composition that he had used in the construction of other villas for the local aristocracy.
The central block of the villa, with its living quarters, has a facade reminiscent of the temples of antiquity. The central block is flanked by service buildings in the form of arched galleries. Thanks to this “horizontal scheme”, the building blends in nicely with the surrounding landscape.
The agricultural wings are surrounded by two dovecotes, slightly extended: above the three arches, much more distant than the previous ones, two solar calendars are raised: on the western one marks the time and the beginning of the seasons, on the eastern one the zodiacal calendar indicates each month when the Sun enters the corresponding sign of the Zodiac.
In addition to the design of the building itself, Palladio created a pond with fish ponds and miniature nymphs in the villa (using a slow-flowing stream of water). The difference of ground levels on the ground, the architect concealed the plan of the two floors of the facade and one floor on the opposite side of the building.
The sculptural design of the manor house and garden is by Alessandro Vittoria. He also designed the interior of the distant Tempietto church.
It is considered to be Palladio’s testament and his last work. According to legend, the architect died in Mazere after coming to see the construction work in progress. Many churches of the Classical period were inspired by this small temple. The linden alley draws the eye with its bright fall colors.How many guests remember these old linden trees.
The Friulian industrialist Sant Giacomelli, who bought the property in 1850 restored and renovated the villa.
During World War I, General Scillaci’s troops were stationed in the building. Artillery batteries fired beyond the Piave River, but the building miraculously remained unscathed.
In 1934 the villa was bought by Giuseppe Volpi di Misurata who entrusted it to the care of his daughter Marina, who fell in love with it, settling there and continuing the restoration work. The villa is currently inhabited by her daughter Diamante Lulin Buscetti and her family. In 1996 the villa was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other Palladian villas in the Veneto region.
The complex also has a farm that produces DOCG wine, which takes its name from the villa.
All this has been here for five centuries and still is a pleasure to look at. When you walk around the house it feels like you’ve plunged into the atmosphere of medieval life. In the next article I will talk in detail about the wonderful frescoes of Paolo Veronese.
Villa Barbaro (Maser) and the Carriage Museum
I have already told in detail about one of the villas, designed by the architect Andrea Palladio – it was the Rotonda, which is located in Vicenza. In today’s article we will talk about another Palladian villa, the Villa Barbaro or, as it is sometimes called, Villa di Maser. It too has a spectacular appearance, but it is very different from the Rotunda.
Villa Barbaro was built in the very middle of the 16th century, in the 1550s. The Venetians Daniele and Marcantonio Barbaro were the clients of this estate, so the origin of the first name of the villa is obvious. It acquired its second name because it is located in the town of Maser – which, in turn, is located in the province of Treviso in the Italian region of the Veneto.
Like Palladio’s other creations, the Villa Barbaro blends harmoniously into the surrounding landscape, although the Rotonda, in my opinion, makes a greater impression in landscape terms. In any case, as Paola Filippi, author of the brochure “Provincia di Treviso: Strada dell’Architettura” writes, Villa Barbaro is “one of the best examples of the very idea (essence) of Venetian villas, where buildings, gardens, countryside, paths and fields seem to merge” (p. 50). In 1996 the villa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The layout of Villa Barbaro is much more standard than that of the Rotonda, but inside it is decorated with many frescoes by Paolo Veronese, one of Italy’s greatest artists. The sculptor Alessandro Vittoria was also involved in the decoration of the complex, creating sculptures and sculptural decorations (stucco).
Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the villa itself, but I stole three photos from the internet which will give you an idea of what’s inside. Live, in my opinion, it all looks more spectacular and somewhat different, and the only downside are the groups of tourists that regularly show up (however, they leave pretty quickly). The villa looks very good on a sunny day, but it is possible that on a cloudy day the frescoes make a great impression.
As you can see in the photographs, Veronese painted the walls of the villa in the technique of trompe-l’oeil (all the columns and other details are simply painted). In some places the paintings are very impressive! It was not without little surprises – a dog, shoes, a broom, people peeking out from behind the door, and things like that. In addition, in one place Veronese depicted (presumably) himself – and in the room opposite, it is believed, his wife. To see these murals, you must turn right from the entrance and walk to the center of the enfilade of several rooms; Veronese will be at one end of the enfilade and his wife at the other; unfortunately, not all the rooms are open to the public, so it is not possible to get up close to these particular murals.
What else can we add? There is a very pretty patio outside the villa, and sculpted gardens in front of the facade of the estate. A dog, similar to Veronese’s frescoes, walks around the courtyard; horses can also be found in the back of the garden.
On the road to the villa, in Via Barbaro, you can also see a vine that tries to overcome the barbed wire and hang its clusters out. The grapes grow near the villa for a reason – they are used to make wine, and you can taste the wine in a nearby cafe.
Finally, behind the villa is a very spectacular and beautifully decorated grotto (nymphaeum), which visitors can only see from inside the building. It is said that one of the villa’s owners, Marcantonio Barbaro, created some of the sculptures that are part of the nympheum himself (he was a high-ranking diplomat, but an amateur sculptor as well).
An added bonus of the villa is the Carriage Museum, but it is not always open and if it is important to you it is worth contacting the administration in advance to see if you can visit it on any given day. The cost of a visit to the museum is included in the price of the entrance ticket to the villa.
There are about three dozen different carriages from the 18th and early 20th centuries on display in the museum. It is not limited to Italian products; there are also American, French and English ones. Moreover, there are even Russian and Austrian sleds. Almost every exhibit is equipped with a board + at the entrance you will be given an accompanying sheet with a list of exhibits and short explanations (in Italian or English).
You can’t climb into the carriages, but you can peek into some of them; you can approach them almost right up close. Here are pictures of a few of the exhibits.
The mail coach is very roomy and cramped. It is hard to envy those who were traveling in it, frankly speaking… and it is hard to envy horses who were pulling this carriage full of people and luggage (there are seats even on the roof).
A carriage called a crab:
A military wagon with a foot brake:
Dos-a-dos (“back-to-back” carriage where people sit with their backs to each other):
Time to Visit.
I recommend setting aside about one hour for an external tour and visit to Villa Mather, but you can stay there for a somewhat longer period (an hour and a half) if you wish. A thoughtful tour of the carriage museum will take at least another half hour (and if you look carefully at the details of each piece, it will take longer).
If you want to taste the local wines and have a bite to eat, you’ll need extra time. The cafe is a two-minute walk from the villa on Via Barbaro, which leads to Tempietto and Via Cornuda. There is a free toilet next to the cafe and you can also use it without going to the cafe.
How to get there
Villa Barbaro is in Maser and can be reached by car or bus. The SP1 and SP84 roads go through the town; there is a parking lot next to the villa, a short walk away. There is no train station in Mazer.
More about buses. The city is crisscrossed by bus lines 111, 112 and 207 operated by IOM. They connect Maser with Treviso, Bassano del Grappa, Montebelluna and some other towns and villages in the Veneto region (mostly just the province of Treviso). The timetable can be found on the IOM website; buses rarely run. There are two stops in the city center and from both you can walk to the villa (7-10 minutes walk). Another stop, Bivio Maser, is a bit far from the villa and you have to walk there for about half an hour.
Opening hours and other information
Villa Barbaro is open as follows:
- Until December 9, 2018 – Saturdays, Sundays and holidays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on weekdays);
- Closed December 10, 2018 through February 9, 2019; exceptions are December 29 and 30, and January 2 and 5 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.);
- February 9 through the end of March – Saturdays, Sundays and holidays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on weekdays);
- From the beginning of April to the end of October – Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays and holidays from 11 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays).
The exact address of the villa is: Maser, via Cornuda 7. Index: 31010. Phone: +39 0423 923004. Email: info (dog) villadimaser.it.
Entrance fee: standard ticket – 9 euros; for people over 65 years old – 7 euros; for students from 15 to 23 years old – 7 euros; for children and teenagers up to and including 14 years old – 4,5 euros. Family ticket (2 adults and 1-4 children) – 21 euros.