VALSANZIBIO ranges among the most important and unspoiled baroque gardens in the world. It was achieved in 1669 by the Venetian nobleman Zuane Francesco Barbarigo. His son Gregorio, a Cardinal and future Saint, inspired the symbolic meaning of the plan drawn by Luigi Bernini, top Vatican architect and fountain expert. Sixty full size statues, mainly due to Enrico Merengo, and sixty more different sculptures were integrated into a world of architectures, streams, fountains, water jokes and fish ponds, between hundreds of different trees and over an area of forty acres. All this was planned as an allegory of man's progress towards his own perfectibility or salvation and such itinerary ends right in front of the Villa. It begins at Diana's pavillion (A), originally a stately entrance as well as a landing place for boats coming across the so-called "Valle di Saint Eusebio", (whence the name "Val San Zibio"). In those days the "Valle" was an expanse of shallow waters extended over several miles; a fishing and shooting paradise recently transformed into a golf course… yet its carefully preserved vestiges still mirror the elegant pavillion. Here one enters the garden through "Sileno's Archway", one walks close to Diana's Bath (B), Rainbow Fountain (C), Winds Fish Pond (B) and quite near the Maze (D) and a Hermitage, symbolic episodes related to the example of Saint Gregorio. Then, at the Pila Fountain (G), one turns right towards the Villa, following the main avenue (F). This wide pat is flanked by a Rabbit' Island (H) symbolizing the sphere of Immanence. On the opposite and east side of that very allee, a monumental statue of Time(L) interrupting his flight across space symbolizes the possibility of trascending both space and time can, and of reaching higher levels of knowledge.
The main path, enlivened by statues, fountains and water jokes (G) with precise symbolic meanings, comes to its end at a staircase, inscribed with revealing verses and leading to the square of the Villa (M). Here eight allegories of the Garden's and it's Owner's qualities surround the "Fountain of Revelation"(M), final goal of human perfectibility. The Garden of Valsanzibio has preserved all its original features unaltered thanks the unceasing and careful attention received first of all by six successive generations of Barbarigo since its very creation in 1669 . At theyr extinction, in 1804, Nobile Marco Antonio Michiel was appointed heir and he was succeeded in 1835 by Counts Martinengo in 1835 and forty years later by Counts Donà dalle Rose. Since 1929 three successive generations of Nobili Pizzoni Ardemani enjoied the property of the estate and garden. They mended all ravages caused by military occupation and forced neglect during world war two and have recently restored all fountains, fish ponds, water jokes, cascades and streams … thet is thirty three water points that give so special a character to this monumental garden.
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