Born as a farm in the countryside, it is the first Palladian Villa
Venetian Villas: Dominio di Bagnoli
Agriculture, tourism, wine and local cuisine
Follow me on the route of this Palladian Villas Tour: approaching Dominio di Bagnoli, my tour is getting more and more some kind of wine tour!
The transport of wine seems to have been a real problem for the ancients. The Romans and the Longobards had discovered the Friulano vine variety here at Bagnoli di Sopra, that produced a wine very easy to transport due to its acidity: basically a travelling wine!
Dominio di Bagnoli looks like a South American fazenda, so huge that can be fully seen only flying over it, on a small touristic plane (there is also the landing strip!).
In the middle of the farm, Villa Widmann – Borletti (from 1917), projected by architect Baldassarre Longhena in the 17th century. It is a typical Venetian Villa: the building overlooks a typical Italian garden, with beautiful statues that represent some characters of Art Comedy (the Italian writer Goldoni used to practise some of his works here).
At the bottom of the garden there is a gate leading to the Brolo, an enclosed space connecting the Villa to the vineyards and the wide farmland. Borletti Family -who owns Bagnoli estate- realized soon the importance of linking together agriculture, tourism and local cuisine. They are enhancing the historical value with a cellar museum and the restoration of granaries, where nowadays big wine&food events take place. Moreover, an outbuilding has been turned into some rooms and apartments to host tourists.
Goldoni praised this amazing Villa in his writing:
Bagnoli xe un logheto cussì belo,/Cussì ben fato, e pien de simetria,/ Che poeta no gh’è, no gh’è penelo/ Che ve possa mostrar cossa lu sia./Nol par minga una vila, ma un castelo/ Una contea, o qualche signoria./ Chi no crede sta roba vegna quà,/ Che, come ogn’altro, el resterà incantà.
(Bagnoli is such a beautiful place,/so well conceived and balanced/that no poets neither paintbrushes/could show how it looks/A castle instead of a Villa/a county, a seigneury/Who doesn’t believe it should come here/and he will be enchanted, as everybody else)
Video full text: Tenuta Bagnoli
Here we are, inside the villa. What magnificence!
Dominio di Bagnoli is the name of the Villa and the surrounding area.
We have historical evidence dating back to before the year 1000,
the records from the year 950 already show the existence of a property named Dominio di Bagnoli.
The area was sold to the Most Serene Republic of Venice in the mid 17th century,
that in turn sold it on to the Widman family.
One of the family’s prominent characters was Ludovico
a friend of Goldoni’s.
Ludovico spent his summer holidays here and he would invite Goldoni.
To repay this kindness Goldoni would write his comedies here.
And it is here that the writer would hold his rehearsals.
(the actresses recite verses from one of Goldoni’s comedies in dialect)
How wonderful. Bravo!
How does it feel performing in such a place?
It’s fantastic and emotionally overwhelming.
But there’s also room for tourists and “common mortals” in the guest house.
The vineyard, the animal farm, the land, and tourist hospitality.
We have three apartments here with rooms for tourists.
On one side they overlook the historical and monumental part of the villa,
and on the other, the farm.
You can see the structure of the main villa that is typical of those found in Veneto.
There’s the villa and the garden which ends where the wall is,
and behind that there’s the brolo (a historic vegetable garden and orchard) that’s a sort of cross between a garden and the farming side of the business.
How marvellous! It’s like a real set!
It overlooks an enormous holding of 600 hectares.
There’s even a small airport.
Just like in the South American fazendas, the only way to see their layout is to fly over them.
From up there you’ll see the fields, the barns, the biogas plant, the villa and the vineyards.
We’re taking off with Andrea.
Even the plane is vintage, dating from 1948, and it blends in perfectly with the setting.
This worries me more however.
The historic villa is beautiful, but will this historic aircraft fly?
The plane was built in 1948, but it’s as if it were brand spanking new,
having been totally restored – it is a small gem.
Sorry, but how many flying hours do you have?
And that’s a lot, right?
But can this plane carry someone like me?
I see that it has dual controls, but I wouldn’t count on me if anything goes wrong!
Over there are the vines and the fields.
And there’s the energy production plant.
The villa forms part of the residential area Bagnoli di Sopra,
of which it was the founding structure.
For many years the majority of the local people have worked for the farm.
Dominio Bagnoli is a perfect example of a Venetian villa.
Today, just as it was 500 years ago:
a noble residence which is based on farming,
but that also opens its doors to passers-by, who once were artists,
but now are tourists.