Villa Cornaro is located along the main road in the centre of Piombino Dese, almost opposite the church, with the north façade a little hidden among houses.
The life of the village rushes by before your eyes: cars, bicycles, pedestrians, the Saturday morning market, children coming out of the oratory, and teenagers stopping at a bar until late.
Commissioned to Andrea Palladio by Giorgio Cornaro, a member of the noble Venetian Cornaro family, the villa marked a leap in quality for the work of the famous architect: with its double loggia, it is more like a palace than a traditional villa. It is situated along a public road, a position that highlights its multi-purpose nature. Fireplaces in all its rooms reveal that it was not only used in summer.
The layout of Villa Cornaro is planned with harmonious spaces, around a large hall with four free-standing columns, which can be accessed through the loggia or a narrow vestibule.
The two storeys of the villa are connected by two elegant twin staircases, which clearly separate the ground floor, the official reception, work and meeting room, from the upper floors reserved for family members.
The statues in the hall on the ground floor are the work of the sculptor Camillo Mariani.
Initially bare, Villa Cornaro was frescoed at a later date in the 18th century, thanks to Andrea Cornaro, the owner at the time. Young Mattia Bortoloni was chosen for the work. At the early age of twenty-one, he frescoed the building with scenes from the Old Testament (on the ground floor) and the New Testament (on the first floor).
The building was owned by the Cornaro family for 253 years and then became the private residence of various families up to 1951. During the post-war period and the economic miracle, it was a difficult time for the villa, which was used for a few years as a parochial nursery school, and was then left uninhabited and not maintained for years.
It only began to return to its former glory in 1969, thanks to the farsightedness and patience of the American couple Rush, who began restoration and maintenance work over the next 20 years.
Since 1989, Villa Cornaro has belonged to the couple Gable of Atlanta (USA), who continue to improve the Villa and study works by Andrea Palladio.
Carl and Sally Gable are the sixth family to live in the Villa. They decided to describe their experience in a book that is a diary, an essay and a cookbook all in one: Palladian Days, Finding a new life in a Venetian Country House.
In their book, Sally and Carl also mention the Scquizzato family, the Memi family and Francesca’s recipes. You can find out more here!
Villa Cornaro a 5-minute walk from Ca' de Memi.
Individual visits: May - October, Saturdays: 3.30pm - 6pm.
Groups (min. 10 people) booking required, all year round.
For info and bookings, please call: +39 049 9365017 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THINGS TO SEE:
- Inscriptions on the columns on the southern side, where the Cornaro family made a note of births and major events.
- The Masonic symbols of frescoes by Mattia Bortoloni: ask the guide to tell you about the latest studies and research that consider Villa Cornaro to be the first example of Masonic art in Italy.
- The old fishpond in the south garden and the works that are unveiling it.