HISTORY

“The small Versailles” - “The Pearl of the Euganee Hills” The Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio – Villa Barbarigo Pizzoni Ardemani

The Monumental complex of Valsanzibio (Wikipedia – Italiana or Inglese version) was brought to its contemporary magnificence in the second half of the Seventeenth century by the Venetian noble GiovanFrancesco Berbarigo assisted by his sons Antonio and Gregorio. Actually, it was this last son, the first-born Gregorio, Cardinal, Bishop of Padua and future Saint, that inspired the symbolic meaning of the plan drawn by Luigi Bernini, top Vatican architect and fountain expert. In fact, the then Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo, in consequence of a solemn ‘vow’ made by his Father to our God in 1631 (see bottom note 1), desired that the garden of Valsanzibio had to be a monumental symbolic road trip to perfection; a journey that brings man from the false to the truth, from ignorance to Revelation. The ‘Diane Pavilion’ or ‘Diane’s Doorway’ was not only the main entrance by water to the estate of the Barbarigo in the 17th and 18th century, but, this majestic and impressive doorway, represented, as it does still today, the beginning of the salvation’s itinerary, wanted by Saint Gregorio Barbarigo, that ends in front of the Villa, in the square of the Mushroom Fountain, the Ecstasy’s Fountain or, indeed, the square of the Revelations’ Fountain.

This exceptional example of baroque gardens consist of 70 statues, engraved in Istria stone by the Merengo (see bottom note 2), and many other different minor sculptures that integrate into a world of architectures, streams, waterfalls, fountains, small ponds, water games and fish ponds, between hundreds of different trees and plants, over an area of more than 10 hectares. Furthermore, inside the monumental complex and essential stage within the itinerary of salvation, there is the century-old boxwood maze, the symbolic Hermit’s Grotto, the Rabbits Island and the Monument to Time.

The symbolic set up of the garden, realized between 1665 and 1696, with its abundant beauty, its unusual amusements and the major message entrusted by its Founder, ranges as one of the most vast and complete historic gardens in the world and was awarded with the first prize as ‘the most beautiful garden in Italy’ in 2003 and as the third most beautiful in Europe in 2007. The merit of this goes to the unceasing and careful attentions provided first by the Nobili Homini Barbarigo, during all the Seventeenth and Eighteenth century, by the Nobil Homo Michiel in the nineteenth century, then later, by the Conti Martinengo da Barco, in the beginning of the twentieth century by the Conti Donà delle Rose and from 1929 by the Nobili Pizzoni dei Conti Ardemani.

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1 In 1631 the Barbarigo family, who already owned most of the land in Valsanzibio, even if they had yet to create the garden (1665-1696), took refuge in this location to escape the black plague outbreak, that raged in Venice and the rest of Europe and that had already killed Lucrezia Lion, wife of Zuane Francesco Barbarigo. In this circumstance, Zuane Francesco made a solemn ‘vow’ to God that, if the rest of his family would have been spared from this terrible disease, he would have create a marvelous masterwork to commemorate and glorify the might of God; this solemn ‘vow’ was took up himself also by the first born Gregorio that, for this reason, his demand having been granted, wanted that the garden of Valsanzibio have an entertainment purpose, but, above all, that it had to have a spiritual objective.
2 Enrico Merengo, (Vestfalia, 1628 – 1723, uncertain the date of birth and death), once considered as a Flemish, today he is identified with good certainty as the Vestfalia German sculptor Heinrich Meyring. His work as a sculptor is well known in Venice between the years 1679-1714. He is considered the best pupil of the Flemish sculptor Giusto Le Court (from Wikipedia) – In Valsanzibio: the garden contains seventy statues made by Henry Merengo, all of which with engraved inscriptions on their supports and among this we mention the personification of the Time, the statue of Endimione, Argo, Tifeo and Polifemo.

“Volan col Tempo l’hore e fuggon gli anni”

GALLERY

THE PLANTS & TREES OF THE HISTORIC GARDEN OF VALSANZIBIO

THE PLANTS & TREES OF THE HISTORIC GARDEN OF VALSANZIBIO

In the photo the century-old American or California Cedar (Calocedrus o Libocedrus Decurrens) – more than 350 years old; the oldest specimen of its species in Europe.

In the In the historic garden of 7 hectares and in the adjacent park of 5 hectares, there are 800 plants and trees of over 100 different species.  Even today there are still many trees planted between 1664 and 1669 (about 70% of the plants present today are the original one!). The garden of Valsanzibio is unique in the world for the abundance of Boxwood plants (Buxus sempervirens, in this garden there are more than 60.000 square meters), for the longevity of the same plants (many boxwood plants are more than 350 years old) and for the height that these plants reach in some Boulevards (more than 6 meters tall!). There are 40.000 square meters of Hornbeam plants (Carpinus betulus) that, for the most part, are trimmed in such a way as to form a tunnel made of leaves and make the three “Shadow’s Alleys”; about 70% of these plants are the original one, planted between 1664 and 1669,  and, thus, since when they were planted they were coming from a nursery and were already plants of 15/20 years old, they are more than 350 years old.  The California Cedar (Calocedrus Decurrens, # 4 in the map), one of the original plants of the garden, is the oldest specimen of its species present today in Europe.  Normally, all the Boulevards and Alleys of the garden are bordered on both side by boxwood plants (The “Cardo” or Main Boulevard, The “Decumano” or Water Boulevard and the “Venetian Alley”) or by Hornbeam trees (the three “Shadow’s Alleys”) with the exception of the “Rainbow Boulevard” that has the south part bordered by boxwood plants while the north part is bordered by different species of maple trees (Acer campestre, Acer platanoides ed Acer negundo). The “Venetian Alley”, bordered by century old Boxwood plants about 5/6 meters tall, is a unique Alley that reproduce with the tall Boxwood’s espaliers the typical passageways bordered by buildings that you can see in Venice, the “Calle Veneziane”. This unique Alley, that you can see only in Valsanzibio, run through the entire east-west length of the garden (about 500 meters) and is less than 1,5 meters wide.

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THE PURIFICATION OR SALVATION PATH

THE PURIFICATION OR SALVATION PATH

The journey begins at ‘Diane Pavilion’ or ‘Diane’s Doorway’, the monumental and main entrance by water to the estate of the Barbarigo in the 17th and 18th century. Here there was the landing place for boats coming across the so-called “Valle di Saint Eusebio”, from which the name “Val San Zibio”, in those days extended over several miles, but today limited to the small pond (called the Paludo) to mirror the elegant pavilion. The Diane’s Doorway is greatly decorated with fountains, low reliefs and statues on top of which dominate Diane-Moon, the Goddess of the hunting, voted to nature and to wild animals as well as to prodigies and mutations.
Thus, by entering the garden through the Diane’s Doorway and passing under the “Sileno’s Archway” we start the allegoric purification or salvation path wanted by then Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo in consequence of a solemn ‘vow’ made by his Father to our God in 1631.
The allegorical journey begin by walking along the Decumano or Fish Ponds Boulevard and the first element that we encounter in our purification journey is the fish pond called the Diane’s Bath or the Fishery of the Rivers. Here, after leaving the impure and still water of the marsh land, we allegorically start the passive washing of our soul with the fresh and pure water of the rivers (the two statues laying down toward the end of the fish pond represents the two main rivers of the region, the Bacchiglione and the Brenta).
Then, after passing by the Rainbow Fountain, where the sun rays crossing the mix of water and air makes an everlasting rainbow, we encounter the Fishery of the Winds. Once again after the water, it is now the fresh and pure air of the winds that carries on our purification. Read more

STEPS OF THE SONNET

STEPS OF THE SONNET

Giardino di Villa Barbarigo Pizzoni Ardemani a Vaslanzibio

Curioso viator che in questa parte
Giungi e credi mirar vaghezze rare
Quanto di bel, quanto di buon qui appare
Tutto deesi a Natura e nulla ad Arte

Qui il Sol splendenti i raggi suoi comparte
Venere qui più bella esce dal mare
Sue sembianze la Luna ha qui più chiare
Qui non giunge a turbar furor di Marte

Saturno quivi i parti suoi non rode
Qui Giove giova et ha sereno il viso
Quivi perde Mercurio ogni sua frode

Qui non ha loco il Pianto, ha sede il Riso
Della Corte il fulmine qui non s’ode
Ivi è l’Inferno e qui il Paradiso Read more

THE DIANE’S PAVILION OR DOORWAY

THE DIANE’S PAVILION OR DOORWAY

The Diane’s Pavilion or ‘Diane’s Doorway’ was the main entrance by water to the Barbarigo estate in the 17th and 18th century and was one of the first work of the Bernini’s projects to have been started, around 1662. Probably, this magnificent and impressive doorway represents one of the most important area of the overall monumental complex, in fact, it did not only mean that the entrance to the estate of the Babrbarigo, underlining the might of the place you were entering in, but it represented, as it does still today, the beginning of the salvation’s itinerary, wanted by the Saint Gregorio Barbarigo. Just in front of the doorway, on its outside, on two solid pillars, lean the shields of the Babrbarigo, held up by two statues representing angels in a peaceful attitude as boys with a short tunic. The Diana’s Pavilion, besides being a majestic structure, is decorated with mascarons, low reliefs and 13 statues engraved in the Istria’s stone by the sculptor Henry Merengo. Among these statues, probably, the most important are the six on the entrance facade and the four on the inside parapet. The six sculptures on the entrance front from top to bottom are:
- the statue of Diana: this sculpture represent Diane, the Goddess of the hunting, of the prodigies and of the mutations, portrayed in a bellicose attitude and admonishing to not violate the border of the park; this statue is the guardian of the garden and it is deliberately positioned in the highest part of the doorway because, in last analysis, it symbolizes God that is above everybody;
- the bearded mascaron: this marvelous sculpture on the key vault of the main entrance, represents the head of a virile man, strong and gruff, in the act of screaming, he could represent Sileno, the master of wisdom and clairvoyant, who welcomes the visitors to Valsanzibio, or, more probably, he represents the Barbarighi generations from whom thick bears the naissance takes the name; not by chance, this figure was placed just below the statue of Diane, but on top of all the other sculptures to underline that the Barbarighi were second only to God! Read more

THE XVII° CENTURY BOXWOOD LABYRINTH

THE XVII° CENTURY BOXWOOD LABYRINTH

The labyrinth of Valsanzibio was realized with six thousand boxwood plants (Buxus Sempervirens). The most part of these plants are hundred-year old (they have almost 400 years of age) and they were planted between 1664-1669 when the garden of Valsanzibio was brought up to the present form. The entire pathway of the maze, long about 1,5 kilometers, is made up by eight thousand square meters of boxwood walls trimmed annually. This pruning work takes one thousand and five hundred hours of work, with the help of manual and mechanical cutters (but, in any case, always guided by hand!), ladders, levels and plumbed lines. Furthermore, eight hundred trips of special wheelbarrows, filled up with cut twigs and pushed on the average for about six hundred meters until the end of the narrow corridors, are needed. Between back and forward these trips cover about 1.000 km and take almost three hundred hours to which you need to add another equivalent amount of time for loading, tiding up and unloading. Then, there is plant replacement, fertilizing, dunging, hoeing all done by hand, pesticides treatments and weed clearing…in other words, the annual working hours of a professional gardener are not enough! Also for this reason the large historic labyrinth, that has resisted for about two or three hundred years during different epochs and turmoil, had to succumb to the economic metamorphosis of the twentieth century. Read more

THE STATUE OF TIME OR THE MONUMENT TO TIME

THE STATUE OF TIME OR THE MONUMENT TO TIME

The Monumental Statue of Time, in antithesis with the Rabbits’ Island located right in front on the West side of the Main/Central Boulevard, symbolize the spiritual condition in which the human soul travel beyond the limits of space and time. This amazing statue represent Cronos, the God of time, that is leaning on the sand clock, device to measure time, and he is bent under the weight of the years. In fact, the rock that he has on his shoulder symbolize the years: twelve faces like the twelve months of the year; different shade of light on each face in relation of its distinct sun illumination…faces brighter or darker symbolizing that some years are better, but other are worse. Finally, Cronos looks toward the sunset and has the wing because ‘Volan col Tempo l’hore e fuggon gli anni’ (‘Fly with time the hours and escape the years’ – inscription on the basement of the monumental statue).

THE RABBITS’ ISLAND

THE RABBITS’ ISLAND

The rabbits’ island or rabbits’ warren, the only one still present in the few historic garden still existing, is a symbol of concreteness, that is, of the usual condition of all living being limited by the body jammed between the boundaries of space and time, and this island is in antithesis with the monumental Statue of Time located right in front on the East side of the Main/Central Boulevard.

GALLERY – PHOTOS & CURIOSITY

GALLERY – PHOTOS & CURIOSITY

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL GALLERY OF THE OUTDOORS PHOTOS

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL GALLERY OF THE INTERIORS OF THE VILLA

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PRUNING 1° – THE PRUNING OF THE PIRAMID OF THE PARTER

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE PRUNING 2° – THE PRUNING OF THE PARTER

ALL THE PHOTOS, IMMAGES AND VIDEOS PRESENT IN THIS SITE ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT AND ARE PROPERTY (IF NOT DIFFERENTLY SPECIFIED) OF THE TENUTA VALSANZIBIO S.R.L.. REPRODUCTIONS FORBIDDEN BY LAW

“Della Corte il fulmine qui non s’ode, Ivi è l’Inferno e qui il Paradiso”

VISITS

The Monumental Garden of Valsanzibio will regularly open to the VISITS

SATURDAY THE 27th OF FEBRUARY 2016

Open to visitors from 10 to 13 hrs and from 14 hrs to sunset, every day from March to
the 8th of December (Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 10 to sunset non-stop).

Guided tour available only by reservation (cost not included in the ticket, with the exception for schools’ groups).
Shop open only Sunday and Holidays and on request in the other days.

TICKETS
Normal = € 10,00
Adults in group = € 8,50 (20+ persons)
Boys aged 14 or under = € 6,00
Schools’ groups (mandatory reservation) = € 6,00

VISITS TO THE MONUMENTAL GARDEN AFTER THE 8TH OF DECEMBER, IN JANUARY & FEBRUARY (click here)

VISITS TO THE INTERIORS OF THE VILLA
starting from 200,00 €, only escorted by a guide and by reservation
for enquiries contact the [email protected] (click also RENTING)

’APERITIVI’ IN FRONT OF THE VILLA (CLICK HERE)
An opportunity to book guided visits of the Monumental Garden finishing with a deligtheful ‘Aperitivo’ Bellini drink under the patio of the Villa, looking upon the Square of the Reveletions – Thanks to Bellini Canella

ROMANTICALLY LABYRINTH (CLICK HERE)
An opportunity to privately book the labyrinth for about 30 minutes toward the sunset to romantically ask the hand of the loved soul.

NOTE: dogs are NOT admitted with the exception of small size one, CLIK HERE to view the dogs’ admittance rules.

METEO FOR VALSANZIBIO ON ‘meteo-locale-it’ (CLIK HERE)

FANS

click on the item of your interest to have more information

SUPPORTERS OF THE VALSANZIBIO’S MONUMENTAL GARDEN

BECOME A SPONSOR

VOLUNTEERS

STUDENTS

DEI VENTI EOLO SIGNOR, E I SCIOGLIE, E I LEVA

NEL SEN DI DEIOPEA RIPOSA IL VENTO;

SCONVOLGE BOREA IL MAR, SCUOTE LA TERRA.

PIU’ CHE SOAVE QUI ZEFIRO SPIRA.

CONTACT

TENUTA VALSANZIBIO S.R.L.

Via Diana 2 – Valsanzibio di Galzignano Terme – 35030 (PD)

Tel +39/(0)49/9131065; +39/(0)49/9130042 – Fax +39/(0)49/9139259

INFO VISITS/RESERVATIONS HISTORIC GARDEN –> Cel +39/340/0825844 (during visiting hours)

Email [email protected]

INFO ONLY FOR RENTING / EVENTS –>Cel +39/335/5634918 (Alessandra Cicogna)

LINKS: Ville Venete & CastelliVille Venete

Grandi Giardini Italiani – Ass. Dimore Storiche Italiane

In this garden the century old plants are followed by the

de rebus plantarum, PAN srl, Spin-off of the Padova’s University

and the products used in the garden are natural products formulated by

MICHEL BARBAUD

with the method ORGANIC FOREST

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CHE NON E’ SOLE IL SOLE SE NON E’ SOLO.

(TO BE THE BRIGHTER STAR IN THE SKY, LIKE THE SUN, YOU NEED TO BE ALONE!)

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