|Map of the villa and surroundings|
Piombino Dese, district of Levada, 12 m/40 feet above sea level. Train station at Piombino Dese on the Venezia-Bassano line 5 km/3 miles to the southwest. The villa is located along Via dei Marcello. On bicycle one can reach the villa by following the bike route along the former Treviso-Ostiglia rail line.
Unlike most of the other Venetian villas, this villa still belongs to the same family that built it during the sixteenth century; the Marcello family is one of the most illustrious families of the Venetian aristocracy: although they are not among the twelve (*)apostolic families, they claim origins, obviously presumed, from the ancient Roman (*)gens of Marcellus. The family produced a doge, Nicolò Marcello (1473 – 1474), many generals, and the celebrated composer Benedetto Marcello.
The first version of the villa, in essence a hunting lodge, was constructed by Andrea Marcello at the beginning of the sixteenth century in an area called “Levada” [elevated] because being a few meters higher than the surrounding plain they would be protected from flooding. At the end of the sixteenth century the sons of Andrea began to enlarge the hunting lodge resulting in what currently is the central block of the villa and to reclaim the surrounding wetlands. The identity of the architect is unknown, but the inspiration is clearly Palladian.
At the end of the seventeenth century ownership of the villa passed to the Contarini family, next to the Morosini, and then to the super-rich banker Maruzzi, of Greek/Balkan background, who enlarged and embellished the villa to its current condition. For this reason, in some books, the villa is referred to as Villa Maruzzi-Marcello.
An extraordinary bit of history at the beginning of the nineteenth century: the last of the Maruzzi married a Russian count, an attendant of the czar, who in a crazy night of gambling lost the villa and most of his assets to a Hungarian count who, not really interested in the villa, accepted an offer from the Marcello family that allowed them to regain possession of the villa, possession that has lasted until today.
The building consists of a central block of three floors connected to two single-story wings with roof terraces, all in the form of a large C. The main facade is distinguished by twelve Ionic half-round columns and by a large triangular pediment surmounted with three statues.
The villa is still the private residence of Count Marcello, but it is open for guided tours of groups of at least twenty (10 € per person). Alternatively, a tour of the park costs 5 € per person (see the official website of the villa, below).
Latest visit: 2012-04-29