The Pisani family 1500 - 1900
The Bassi Counts of Murena, Governors of Pisa, took up residence in Venice, after being driven away by Pepin, son of Charlemagne. Here they were called Pisani (meaning "from Pisa").
It was around the year 800 when the Pisani family started to build their fortune as merchants,
bankers and mercenary leaders. This lead them to the highest positions in the Republic, and they
became one of the richest and most noble Venetian families. The Pisani family of Vescovana,
belonging to the branch of the Pisani of Santo Stefano, take their name from the beautiful palace
where they lived in Campo Santo Stefano in Venice.
It was this branch of the great family that was the most brilliant and open to the arts, that
through trade and commerce, accumulated enormous wealth that was invested not only in its Padovan
property, but also in Venice in beautiful palaces and on the mainland in wonderful villas. The
construction of these villas was entrusted to the most illustrious architects of the day, such as
Palladio, Falconetto, or Scamozzi.
They were Doges, Generals, Ambassadors and Cardinals of the
Venetian Republic, and for the duration of the Republic's splendor, until its fall, held the highest
political, administrative and religious positions.
In Vescovana, they paid the necessary attention to such an immense estate that was source of
important income, that aided the family's coffers when compromised by absurd expenditures incurred
to build palaces or to impress with banquets and parties when the Venetian Republic played host to
With slow and intelligent draining projects, the Pisani knew how to convert land
rich only in water, into flowering and prosperous countryside where cultivation of grain, tobacco
and citrus fruit ensured a great affluence.
The Pisani of Santo Stefano had the Villa Pisani of Stra built in 1700. The elegance of this queen
of Venetian villas, put the family in serious economic difficulty, the same family who had only
recently had their triumph depicted on the ceiling of the Tiepolo Room.
It was purchased by Napoleon, who made it the residence of his Viceroy, Eugenio Buarnais, and then
was to become the residence of the Italian sovereigns.
After having sold the Villa in Stra, the Pisani family focused their attention on the Villa in Vescovana.
With the arrival of the last Countess Pisani, Evelina van Millingen, was enriched by the addition of the splendid garden and grand park.
It was certainly this charming Lady, after Cardinal Francesco Pisani, commissioner of the Villa, the protagonist and soul of the residence.
The Pisani family of Santo Stefano came to an end in 1880 with the death of Almorò III Giovanni Giuseppe, husband of Evelina.
In 1900, after her death, the only remaining heir was a distant nephew
of Almorò, the Marchese Carlo Bentivoglio d'Aragona, whose daughter Elisabetta married Count Filippo
In the late 1960's, the grandchildren of the Marchessa Bentivoglio, Counts Nani Moncenigo, sold the
property to the Bolognesi Scalabrin family.