Villa Vigna Contarena at Este
Villa Vigna Contarena: back in the 16th century, the Contarini family owned various properties standing in an isolated position near to the centre of Este. According to a proclamation dated 1518, Anzolo Contarini, son of Francesco, owned a house with courtyard, orchard and surrounding land. The name of Vigna Contarena probably comes from the use of the building, which was an autumn residence for the family, or, perhaps, originally to the extensive vineyards it possessed. In fact this villa was part of an extensive complex, with outhouses for the servants, stables and carriage store. The current appearance of the building, which was divided up over the centuries, seems to be the outcome of work that was carried out between 1600 and 1700. However the rich frescoes in the hall and rooms on the first storey with lots of mythological scenes were definitely painted between 1690 and 1720 by some unknown Venetian artists. In fact, no extensive research has been made into the history of the villa so far, and its link to the specific period can only be based on the architectural style. Despite its small size, the old master building has a predominating piano nobile, with a loggia encased with precious columns in Nanto stone placed against the central frescoed bay. The loggia stands on a high base in line with the ground floor, flanked by a stairway with two elbow shaped flights of steps; on the small terrace with balustrade at the top there is a garret with triangular gable and volutes at the sides. Perhaps the secret garden on the northwest side of the villa dates back to the 17-18th century, bordered by a mixed profile boundary wall broken up by recesses.