Born as a farm in the countryside, it is the first Palladian Villa
Venetian Villas: Villa dalla Zonca
Eat at the bio restaurant and sleep in this great noble Villa
On the road to Treviso, I stopped at a strange pizzeria in the village Arcade. It is totally modern, but got from a old stable, there is also a modern full-size statue of a horse. In this pizzeria you can taste only special pizzas handmade using biological flour, no beer, but local wine produced in the farm next. If you decide to spend the night in the near hotel, you’ll discover it is actually the barchessa (rural stable) of a prestigious villa, Villa Zonca.
Villa Zonca follows the typical Venetian Villa chronology: it is from the end of the 15th century and it has been restored during the 18th century. The Dalla Zonca family conquered the villa by the end of the 19th century and they had the house perfectly restored from its own ruins after the First World War. Count Agostino Dalla Zonca welcomes me looking like a perfect country gentleman and he takes me on a tour of the two floors of the house. At the entrance in the ground floor there is a beautiful statue of a beautiful woman, that may have been sculptured by Canova. The Count doesn’t talk too much about it, but his family was known to receive different artists, a sort of vocation to the patronage. So the villa is full of precious works of art.
There is an amazing room that suddenly reminds to sumptuous parties and a great library with the history of all Dalla Zonca family members, who were very important people in the commercial and diplomatic Italian history. Actually, the most beautiful room is… the Count’s bedroom, but it isn’t open to the public… I peeked into just for a second, thanks to his daughter-in-law Pamela. Hoping that her father-in-law won’t read this!
Visit official Relais Barco Zonca website
Video Full Text: Villa Zonca
We’re in Villa Dalla Zonca,
the earliest construction, which dates from the 15th century, was extended in the seventeen hundreds.
It’s a classical Venetian villa,
dating from a time when the nobility of Venice looked at the hinterland
and had their summer residences built on it.
They were also farms.
There’s the master of the house at the top of the stairs!
Count Agostino Dalla Zonca who owns this wondrous marvel.
Your family has always distinguished itself for its patronage and
here you have always welcomed those who came from far away places.
Once it was great artists but now it’s a great many tourists!
Ever since my family bought this house, at the end of the 19th century,
my great-grandfather always sought to take in and give work to artists,
musicians, writers and painters.
In actual fact the villa is crammed with works of art, but
the residence has a value in its own right.
Once upon a time the economic resource was the land
and these villas have always represented a sign of the times.
Nowadays the resource is tourism,
and we’re witnessing an economic transformation.
Once these houses were at the heart of a farming business.
Then they went from tenant farming to being directly managed.
Many tenant farmers bought the land and today they are all quite well-off.
This meant it was necessary to create other forms of income to preserve this building.
So we took one of the outbuildings
and converted it into what we think is a beautiful relais,
where we can offer hospitality and
at the same time invite people to visit what we work so hard at to preserve for our grandchildren.
We tourists can enjoy these forms of excellence
and your contribution helps to preserve them.
Where would we be without tourists?
Once there were those taking the Grand Tour, few but good.
Now we are many, and perhaps a little less good, but the concept is the same.
Historical records show that Lord Byron arrived in Venice with 8 servants,
3 dogs, a parrot and even a monkey,
and rented out an entire building.
That sort of tourist no longer exists.
It’s not a question of settling for whoever comes to our door.
Every customer who comes here is most welcome,
and every single one provides his or her own contribution to preserving the cultural heritage,
which is a small part of the larger national legacy.
This is what I call style. Well done!