Villa Widmann Borletti at Bagnoli di Sopra
Bagnoli di Sopra
Villa Widmann Borletti: the place name of Bagnoli in the southern part of the Padua plain, and the enormous surrounding vineyards date back to the year 1000, when they were owned by the Benedictine monks. During the 16th century the ancient domain was passed under the management of the Canons of the Holy Spirit of Venice, who settled there and reorganised the old monastery and did some very important reclamation work. In 1656 the order was suppressed and the estate was put up for sale to acquire the funds that were needed to support the Republic of Venice in the war against the Turks. The year after, Bagnoli was bought by the rich Widmann family who thus were elevated to the ranks of Venetian nobles. Count Ludovic began general transformation of the monastery and attached church of St. Michael, making his home with the long façade over the square the dominating building of the entire town. The architect is uncertain, although some attribute it to Baldassarre Longhena, who had already worked for the Widmanns in Venice, besides Andrea Cominelle and Domenico Rosi. However there is little doubt about the new constructions, which incorporate part of the previous buildings: during the second half of the 17th century, the central building was rebuilt on three floors with loggia and pediment, together with the one in the right corner, on a more advanced level. A small theatre was set up inside the hall and became famous thanks to Carlo Goldoni, who was often a guest at Villa Widmann. The theatre also involved the gardens to the rear of the main villa, where the statues were placed, which were commissioned in 1742 from the Padua sculptor Antonio Bonazza, inspired by the daily figures of country life. The exteriors of the villa are in quite good condition; the gardens were renewed around 1950.