Tour of the Riviera del Brenta

The mansions of the Venetian nobility

If you are travelling from Venice to Padua, don’t take the highway but drive along the lush green Brenta Canal. It was here that the Venetian nobility built magnificent villas, mansions and palazzos in order to escape the bustle of the lagoon city of Venice. But people who aren’t just passing by can also enjoy the magnificent buildings, locks, bridges and the green idyll of the canal – several times a week leisure boats also travel directly up the canal on the way to Padua. The tour starts near the Piazza San Marco. No matter which way you choose to visit the Riviera del Brenta, the imposing mansions certainly make the trip worthwhile.

With Zainoo along the Riviera del Brenta

A full day must be planned for the trip along the beautiful Riviera del Brenta. Whether by car, by bike or in proper style by boat, visiting each villa takes time. Those arriving by car should definitely start in Malcontenta in order to visit the beautiful Palladian Villa Foscari. You should also keep in mind that the excursions, depending upon the organisers, do not approach all of the villas but usually only a selection.

Tour: Riviera del Brenta:

  • The tour starts in Malcontenta where the Brenta Canal flows into the lagoon of Venice. Here is the Villa Foscari “La Malcontenta”, which was designed by the outstanding master Andrea Palladio himself.
  • Now follow the passage up the river until you reach the SR11, the Via Nazionale, in the Riviera del Brenta, and follow it to Mira, the main town of the Riviera del Brenta. Right at the entrance of Mira you will find the Villa Widmann Rezzonico Foscari on the right, with its beautiful ceiling paintings.
  • Directly in front of the Villa Widmann across the river you will find the remains of the Villa Barchessa Valmarana. You can reach it by going back part of the way and crossing a bridge. One of the two wings can be seen here which contains beautiful paintings and original furniture from that period.
  • Follow the SR11 again until you reach the western edge of Mira and the Villa Barchessa Alessandri. The guest house deserves special attention. The cycle of frescoes by Giannantonio Pellegrini in the interior of the guest house shows themes of Greek mythology and is especially wonderful.
  • At lunchtime, ZAINOO recommends that you stop off in Dolo. Here, the Brenta Canal branches creating a small island. Directly above the right channel is a mill dating from the 16th century. In the adjoining restaurant you can dine very well high above the channel.
  • Now continue west along the canal until you reach Strà, the location of one of the highlights of the Riviera del Brenta: Villa Pisani. This huge magnificent building, which resembles more a castle than a villa, is not only the biggest but also the most famous building on the tour. Inside, the unique ceiling painting by Tiepolo merits closer attention.
  • Just before the Brenta Canal flows into the Brenta, you will find the last of the villa on this tour: Villa Foscarini Rossi. It was built in the style of Palladio and has a nice porch and many frescoes inside the building. Here the exhibition of historic designer shoes is also very interesting.

Those who travel by car will reach the highway again via the SR11 after two kilometres. Most pleasure boats continue to Padua where a bus will take you back to Venice.


Tour details

Approximate walking time:


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