The history

Origins

Cunizza, Marquise d’Este, Cardinal Francesco Pisani and Countess Evelina van Millingen are the protagonists of the history of Villa Pisani: from an ancient medieval court to a sumptuous Renaissance palace and a refined 19th-century cultural salon.

This important history, which began around the year 1000, reached its peak during the 1800s, when Evelina’s ‘beautiful fairytale’ began. A miracle of culture and love of nature, tenaciously desired and realised, and now restored and defended by the current owner.

1500 – 1900: The Pisani family

Hunted by Pepin, son of Charlemagne, the Counts Bassi di Murena, governors of Pisa, settled in Venice, where they were called Pisani.

It was around 800 when the Pisani began to build their fortune as merchants, bankers and generals. This led them to the highest offices of the Republic. They became one of the noblest and richest Venetian families of the time. The Pisani di Vescovana, belonged to the branch of the Pisani di Santo Stefano, named after the magnificent palace they lived in Campo S. Stefano in Venice. This was the most splendid and arts-sensitive branch of the great family, which, through an intense mercantile and banking activity, had accumulated great wealth. Wealth that was invested not only in the Paduan fiefdom, but in Venice in beautiful palaces and on the mainland in beautiful villas. The construction these villas was entrusted to the most illustrious architects of the time, such as Palladio, Falconetto and Scamozzi.

They were Doges, Generals, Ambassadors and Cardinals of the Serenissima. Throughout the splendour of the Venetian Republic, until its fall, they held the highest political, administrative and religious roles.

In Vescovana, they devoted the attention that was due to an immense landed estate from which they drew an important income. It was an income that helped the family fortunes when these were compromised by the insane expenditures. Such expenditures were made to build palaces and to impress at receptions and parties when the royalty of Europe came to the Serenissima.

With slow and skilful reclamation works, the Pisans were able to change a land rich only in water into a flourishing and prosperous countryside where wheat, tobacco and citrus fruits were cultivated, ensuring great wealth.

The Villa at Vescovana

It was the Pisani family of Santo Stefano who had the Villa Pisani in Stra (Venice) built in 1700, the Lady of the Venetian Villas, so sumptuous that it put the family, which had shortly before had the fresco celebrating its triumph painted by Tiepolo, in serious financial difficulty. The Villa was bought by Napoleon who made it the residence of his Viceroy, Eugene Buarnais, and later became the residence of the Sovereigns of Italy. After the sale of the Villa di Stra, the Pisani family focused their attention on the Villa di Vescovana, which, with the arrival of the last Pisani Countess, Evelina van Millingen, was enriched with the splendid garden and imposing park. It was certainly this fascinating lady, after Cardinal Francesco Pisani, who commissioned the Villa, who was the protagonist and soul of the residence. The Pisani family of Santo Stefano died out in 1880 upon the death of Almorò III Giovanni Giuseppe, Evelina’s husband.

In 1900, on Evelyn’s death, the inheritance passed to a distant nephew of Almorò, Marquis Carlo Guido Bentivoglio d’Aragona, whose daughter Elisabetta married Count Filippo Nani Mocenigo. At the end of the 1960s, Marchesa Bentivoglio’s grandchildren, Counts Nani Mocenigo sold the property to Mario and Mariella Bolognesi Scalabrin.

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