Known as the “Pearl of the Euganei Hills”, Villa Barbarigo with its monumental garden is located in an area steeped in nature and history, an ideal destination for art lovers and nature enthusiasts. Thanks to the thermal waters of Abano and Montegrotto Terme – the largest spa hub in Europe – the area is a sought-after destination for those in search of relaxing wellness retreats.
At Villa Barbarigo, in the province of Padua, you can admire the authentic Italian Baroque Garden of Valsanzibio, which has gained international recognition over the years. In addition, after being published in leading art and botany books, it was awarded the title of most beautiful garden in Italy in 2003, and one of the most beautiful in Europe in 2007. In 2004, it was used as the setting for “The Merchant of Venice”, a romantic movie starring Al Pacino.
The villa – used as a residence prior to the design of its monumental garden –complements the majestic park. In fact, it is the only Villa in Veneto whose park is the main feature. The garden was built during the second half of the 17th century by Venetian nobleman Zuane Francesco Barbarigo with the help of his sons, Antonio and Gregorio. It was the latter – a cardinal, then Archbishop of Padua and future saint – who inspired the religious symbolism of the project designed by leading Vatican architect and fountain expert Luigi Bernini, brother of the famous sculptor Gianlorenzo. Cardinal Barbarigo wanted the garden of Valsanzibio to symbolize the path of perfection that leads man from Error to Truth, from Ignorance to Revelation.
The magnificent Baroque garden has 70 statues, mostly by Marengo, sculpted in Istrian stone. There are also other minor sculptures that blend harmoniously with the architecture, streams, waterfalls, fountains, water features and fish pools that are scattered amidst numerous trees and shrubs, spread over more than 10 hectares of land. Additionally, within the complex itself, important highlights along the Road to Salvation include the Bosso maze, the symbolic Cave of the Hermit, Rabbit Island and the Monument to Time.