The original Palladian garden between the 16th and the 17th century

There is no certain documentary testimony to the original layout of Villa Emo’s garden apart from a brief description by Palladio himself in his famous treatise The Four Books on Architecture, where the architect states: Behind this building there is a square garden measuring eighty campi Trevigiani: in the middle a little river flows and makes the place very beautiful and enjoyable. Unfortunately in this brief description he does not give any details regarding the planting, the walks, the tree-crops and the flowers in this garden; however, it does not mean that Palladio was not aware that, as he himself writes in his treatise, gardens and orchards […..] are the soul and recreation of the vi

The 18th century layout

In 1731 Giovanni Emo commissioned the measuring, listing and description of all the land he owned near Piombino, Fanzolo and neighbouring sites to the agricultural engineer Angelo Gattolini from Treviso. At present there is still a very big map of the massive work carried out, kept in the Emo-Capodilista’s archive at the villa which refers to the property owned by the Emo family at Fanzolo and the registration of the same. While the first one is a bird’s eye view of the family’s land with key (though this is practically illegible due to the poor state of preservation of the map); the second one is composed of full-page drawings, in excellent state of preservation, of the different plots of l

The garden in the late 1800s

The third chapter on the evolution of Villa Emo’s garden is dated 1868. A file of few pages for that year is kept in the Emo Capodilista’s archive bearing the significant title: A project for a garden and for soil drying, and inside it was The garden project by Cav. Negrin from Vicenza. The representation of the whole General Plan of the new gardens annexed to the villa in Fanzolo, owned by the very noble Emo Capodilista’s family, is the work of the civil architect Antonio Caregaro Negrin and was designed by his son Giovanni in 1868 in Vicenza. The document is a valuable and detailed water-coloured , technical design where we find two specific terms of Landscape Architecture from the second

Villa Emo’s garden between the 20th and the 21st century

Some photographs from the first years of the 1900s reveal how the garden, designed by Arch. Negrin, evolved. The 1900 photo by A. Charvet, published in the magazine Emporium and accompanying an article called A Venetian nobleman’s villa (La villa di un patrizio veneto) by Molmenti, shows the villa seen from the west barchessa. We can see that the west orangery is no longer there. In its place a large lawn or perhaps the oval flowerbed designed by Negrin for the symmetrical garden, extends in front of the barchessa, with a pine tree and other shrubs in its middle. In two 1909 photos which appeared in the magazine Ars et Labor: music and musicians in the article by O.F. Tencajoli, Villa Emo in

​The façade of Villa Emo

Like in Villa Barbaro in Maser, which is of the same period and not very far, the pediment’s gable in Villa Emo is decorated by the sculptor from the Trentino region, Alessandro Vittoria. The approach of the sculptor for Villa Barbaro, is very different to that for Villa Emo. At Villa Barbaro the sculptor opted for a majestic solution outside the geometric and spatial canons, probably on request of the learned owners, the brothers Daniele and Marcantonio Barbaro, with two significantly projecting sculptures and the inclusion of an inscription in the lintel of the gable, whereas at villa Emo his intervention was more contained and balanced. The central part of Villa Emo is slightly projecting

The sculptures in Villa Emo’s garden

The collocation of the sculptures in the front garden of Villa Emo, dates back to the 1920s. This thesis is supported by the considerations regarding the inheritance when Venier took over from Carlo Emo-Capodilista in 1921. Among the assets inherited by the latter there is Villa Contarini-Venier in Vò Euganeo and the statues that adorned this villa’s garden reached Fanzolo between 1921 and 1925 to embellish the garden. The sculptures dating back to the 16th century and by unknown artists, seem by chance to reflect faithfully the narrative cycle depicted by Zelotti in the frescoed halls. ​​ The sculptures can be analysed as pairs and reflect, in their position, the respective rooms in the vil

The Emo family’s coat of arms

The winged Victories and the statues in the garden are not the only sculptures in Villa Emo. Part of this decorative sector is the wooden coat of arms which is located on the northern wall in the central hall and covers the third window that used to illuminate the place. The coat of arms was once placed on the transom of Angelo Emo’s flagship (1731-1792), the last great Capitano da Mar of the Serenissima Republic. The enormous wooden sculpture, about two metres wide and two and half high, probably dates back to 1700 and represents the coat of arms of the Emo family embedded in an oval on which are the four alternate stripes in red and silver. This oval is surrounded by two dolphins, two bare

The façade of Villa Emo

The positioning of Villa Emo in the wider property is based on two directions that are perpendicular to each other, a horizontal one which is the villa itself and a vertical one which is the path leading to the villa, originally completely tree-lined with poplars, which in the XVI century represented an important road sign for passing travellers in the land of the Emo family. From the architectural point of view the central body in the villa façade immediately stands out. It is slightly projecting with respect to the axis of the two barchesse and is characterized by the distinctive features of the classical façade, like the pronaos, typical of a Greek temple, that is the four Doric columns a

The barchesse

The barchesse, that is the two long porticoed side wings which start from the main body of the villa, are at the core of the agricultural company: they are two identical blocks, each with eleven big rounded arches. In Palladio’s design, visible in his treatise, The Four Books on Architecture, the eleven arches on each side only join the Villa perspectively because in actual fact the lateral bodies and the central one are separated by the measurement of three spans. Palladio creates in this manner a purely optical connection between the two elements of the villa: the manor house on the one side and the rural, agricultural part on the other. Besides, the arches that face directly the open coun

The oratory of Villa Emo

The existence of a place of worship in the building by Andrea Palladio is rather confused and controversial. The scholar Donata Battilotti has tried to shed some light on it. An ambiguous testimony is provided by the pastoral visits paid by the Bishop of Treviso to Fanzolo in 1564 and in 1567. During the latter in fact, on the 2nd of May, the oratory of the villa was consecrated, which indicates that on the previous visit the oratory had not been built or finished yet. However, the building mentioned does not correspond to the present oratory, built in the west barchessa in the 1700s as a result of the transformation from villa-farm to villa-noble residence. The oratory consecrated to St. Jo

The main body

The main body of Villa Emo is, as is customary in the Palladian villas, split into three storeys in accordance with the operational functions of the Venetian villa. On the ground floor there were the kitchens, now replaced by modern kitchens that were used for the catering service of the disused hotel. Currently they can be used for events at the villa. On the main floor (piano nobile) there were the rooms where the noble man, his family and their guests lived. They were completely decorated with frescoes by Battista Zelotti between 1561 and 1565. The living spaces are distributed in accordance with the precise geometrical rules set out by Palladio; a basic module suitably reproduced as a ha

The Emo family, its name and origins

The original name of the Emo family was probably Aimo, Aymo or de Aimo; when the family reached Venice, the name underwent various changes and eventually became the better-known Emo. Nevertheless the name Aimo continued to be used within the family: for example, in 1723, some copies of the printed portraits of Giovanni Emo, the Procurator of San Marco, bore the name Aimo while others the name Emo. This shows that the two names were of equal standing, and demonstrates the will of the family to use the archaic form. As far as the origin of the family is concerned, this cannot be traced with absolute precision because the information in the chronicles is conflicting. Some claim that the Emos ca

The Emo family between the X and XV century

Despite the many doubts and assumptions about their origins, what we know for sure is that the Emos were present in Venice from the X century as attested to by documents dating back to the year 997 in which they still signed themselves with the archaic forms Aimos or Aemus. But the real proof of their integration into political and noble society is given three centuries later in 1297, in the Serrata del Maggior Consiglio (a measure issued by Maggior Consiglio in Venice), in which the Emos were one of the many families who were officially included in the Venetian nobility. They kept their status till the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 which led to the dissolution of the aristocratic go

The Emo Family between the XVI and XVII century

In 1518 following the massive investments in land of their father Giovanni Emo, his sons bought more and more land: Leonardo had almost twice the number of campi of his brother, 269 against 142, distributed among five farms with two rural centres, one composed of a brick house and stone tezza with a straw roof and the other of a brick house with a tiled roof, two stone tezze covered with straw, a cortivo, an orchard and a piece of grassland, with a farm of 54 campi used for cattle breeding. It was in those years that the cultivation of sweet corn was introduced to the plots of land of Fanzolo and Vedelago. This was the hypothesis of the scholar Bordignon Favero who, to substantiate his thesi

The Emo family between the XVIII and XIX century

The intricate story of the Emo family, which is forever bound together with the land in Fanzolo and the Palladian villa, seems over the centuries to have become increasingly more rarefied and is to date still the object of study and research. It is worth mentioning Captain Angelo Emo (1731-1792), who was the last navy captain of the Serenissima Repubblica and is considered to be one of the greatest admirals in the history of the Italian navy. The political involvement of the family follows the history of the Serenissima till its end in 1797, brought about by the French. Following the Napoleonic upheaval, in 1819, the House was awarded the title of counts of the Empire by the Emperor of Austr

The Emo family in the XX century

During the First World War, Villa Emo was the seat of the English command on the Italian front and a military field hospital. In the Second World War, upon strict orders of the Ministry of Education, which at the time was also in charge of the artistic assets, Villa Emo was one of the four Trevisan Villas not confiscated and used for military purposes. In the period between the two wars, guests at the villa included the Prince of Wales who would later become King Edward VIII, and the Princess of Piedmont, the future last queen of Italy, Maria Josè. The last generations of the Emo family have done their best to keep Villa Emo at its best. In the 1900s they promoted, among other things, st

La facciata di Villa Emo

La collocazione di Villa Emo nell’ampia proprietà è incentrata su due direttrici tra loro perpendicolari, una orizzontale, costituita dalla villa stessa, e una verticale costituita dal viale, in origine completamente alberato di pioppi, che nel XVI secolo rappresentavano un importante segnale stradale per i viaggiatori di passaggio nelle terre della famiglia Emo. Dal punto di vista architettonico, nel prospetto della villa si impone subito alla vista il corpo centrale. Esso è leggermente aggettante rispetto all’asse delle due barchesse e caratterizzato dai tratti distintivi della facciata classica come il pronao del tempio greco, ossia le quattro colonne, qui di ordine dorico, e il frontone

Le barchesse

Le barchesse, ovvero le due lunghe ali laterali porticate che partono dal corpo nobile della villa, rappresentano il fulcro dell’azienda agricola: si tratta di due corpi di uguale misura, entrambi ritmati da undici grandi archi a tutto sesto, per ogni barchessa. Nel progetto del Palladio, visibile nel trattato I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura, gli undici archi presenti in ogni lato univano soltanto prospetticamente la villa, poiché in realtà i corpi laterali e quello centrale erano tra loro separati per la misura di ben tre campate. Palladio costituisce in questo modo, un collegamento meramente ottico tra i due elementi caratterizzanti della villa: quello padronale e signorile da un lato e

L'oratorio di Villa Emo

L’esistenza di un luogo dedicato al culto nell’edificio di Andrea Palladio è abbastanza confusa e controversa. La studiosa Donata Battilotti ha tentato di far luce su questo dilemma: una testimonianza indiziaria ambigua è fornita dalle visite pastorali effettuate dal vescovo di Treviso a Fanzolo nel 1564 e nel 1567. In occasione di quest'ultima, il 2 Maggio viene, infatti, consacrato l'oratorio della villa, il che fa pensare che al tempo della visita precedente l'edificio sacro non fosse ancora costruito o finito. L’edificio citato non corrisponde però all’oratorio attuale, ricavato nel Settecento nella barchessa ovest a seguito della trasformazione da villa-fattoria a villa-residenza nobili

Il corpo centrale

Il corpo centrale di Villa Emo è, come consuetudine nelle ville palladiane, suddiviso in tre piani, in base alle funzioni operative della villa veneta. Al piano terra si trovavano le cucine, ora sostituite da cucine moderne utilizzate un tempo per il servizio di ristorazione del dismesso albergo, oggi fruibili per gli eventi in villa. Nel piano nobile ci sono le stanze in cui viveva il nobile signore, la sua famiglia e gli ospiti, completamente decorate con gli affreschi, opera di Battista Zelotti tra il 1561 e il 1565. Gli spazi sono ripartiti secondo le precise regole geometriche impostate dal Palladio, in cui un modulo base, opportunamente replicato per mezzo o intero, genera dei perfetti

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Villa Emo

Via Stazione 5, 31050 Fanzolo di Vedelago (TV) | Italy -

T 0423-476355

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