The Venetian villas in Bardolino
In the past Lake Garda was the holiday destination of rich tourist elites. The aristocratic families have always been interested in this Region.
In particular the western shore already held numerous villas during the Roman Empire; some centuries later the Renaissance culture boosted the construction of magnificent buildings all along the lake.
The area was definitely charming due to the beauty of its landscapes, the lush vegetation, the healthy climate and the serenity of the place, before tourists gradually crowded it.
Bardolino also holds thirteen Venetian Villas; they were aristocratic residences dating back to the Republic of Venice, between the fifteenth and the nineteenth century.
Nowadays these historic residences attract the visitors’ attention although the inside is not admitted to the public; while walking around the village, they cannot do without looking at the beauty of their shapes and luxuriant gardens.
The Venetian Villas usually took place within larger agricultural properties.
The very heart of the architectural complex held the owners’ residence (known as “casa dominicale”) that was more refined than the others as it was not only a ceremonial place but also a summer residence; the same area also held the “barchesse”, that is, rural service buildings where all the activities were coordinated: kitchens, farmers’ houses, stables, basements and much more.
Each villa took its name from the aristocratic family living in it.
It is the first villa we find starting from the village centre; it is located behind the Chiesa di S.S. Nicolò e Severo, near the public gardens.
The historical knowledge of this villa is insufficient, but it might date bake to the nineteenth century.
The structure is quite simple and it is characterized by rectangular windows equipped with lintels; the body is connected with a square terrace. In the past there was also a wide park then replaced with new buildings.
In the port area the lakefront holds Villa Guerrieri-Rizzardi-Loredan; it goes from via San Martino up to the lake.
The part that runs along the street held the service rooms, while the one facing the lake held the country house.
The current structure dates back to the nineteenth century restoration, but the original walls testify to at least three domus gentiliciae built between the fifteenth and the sixteenth century as showed by the elegant sixteenth century loggia.
On the southern side there is a wide garden full of numerous tree species, while since the nineteenth century the eastern part has been holding the Guerrieri and Rizzardi’s farm that has survived until a few years ago.
The old basements were carefully redeveloped and nowadays they hold the “Borgo Bardolino”, an evocative courtyard full of shops and restaurants that was open to the public in 2016.
Villa Giuliari Revedin-Gianfilippi Canestrari-Campostrini
Only a stone’s throw from Villa Guerrieri – Rizzardi – Loredan towards Garda there is Villa Giuliari-Revedin, Gianfilippi Canestrari, Campostrini that runs along piazza Matteotti.
It dates back at least to the seventeenth century and it too was restored in the nineteenth century when a porch was built with a balcony looking out onto the square.
The atrium holds an epigraph that testifies to the presence of Alexander I in 1822.
Due to the construction of new buildings, the villa completely lost its park.
This noble residence is also known as “Villa delle Rose”, due to its beautiful garden full of plants, hedges and green paths visitors can admire while walking on the lakefront towards Garda.
The building features gothic elements such as the trifore and it consists of several sections: the linear façade on the lakefront held the country house and it features several trifore and a bifora.
At the top of the structure the eaves with its dovetail battlements give the building a defensive nature. Inside the villa there are numerous frescoes and eighteenth century decorations.
It is also known as “Villa delle Magnolie”, due to the presence of beautiful magnolias; it dates back to the sixteenth century and it features a plain and elegant style.
In the past the villa was surrounded by a wide park that was reduced do to the construction of new buildings. The villa holds the ruins of an ancient limonaia, that is a typical structure of Lake Garda used for citrus trees plantation.
Near punta Cornicello there is an open green park; at the end there is the eighteenth century villa today property of the city.
It is a three-storey building showing different architectural styles, from the medieval style to the neoclassical one.
Villa Bottagisio Carrara was recently restored and since 2012 it has been holding the Bardolino public library, together with numerous events and exhibitions.
Along the eastern Gardesana street towards Garda, there is the eighteenth century Villa Ferrari; it is surrounded by a wide park once reaching the lake shore.
The main facade looks out onto the lake and it is enriched with several windows and a little balcony at the second floor offering an enchanting view.
The building has one floor with a tympanum; the stone pinnacles on the top further increase the height effect.
Villa Da Persico-Marzan
Cisano holds Villa De Persico-Marzan that might date back to the eighteenth century, despite the numerous makeovers.
During the twentieth century significant restorations aesthetically changed the structure, such as the introduction of a new section stretching towards the lake.
Corte San Colombano
It is a partially neo Romanesque courtyard building with a quadrangular fortified tower enriched by dovetail battlements, raising on top of a churchly building.
The history of this building is really old and it is quite different from the previous ones. It even dates back to the age before the Expedition of the Thousand, when the monks of San Colombano monastery settled in the area founding the priorato di San Colombano di Bardolino; it was the administrative centre of the numerous properties of the monastery on the Lake Garda eastern shore.
In 1810, a Napoleonic decree was promulgated ordering the abolition of monastic orders and the state property administration bought the courtyard building to sell it to private citizens.
The buildings were repeatedly modified over the years and till today they are private property.
Casa rurale Caldana-Dalle Vedove-Sabaini-Andreoli
This simple building, also known as Corte Caldana, is located at the entrance of the village, going from the lake to Calmasino.
It is the oldest building of the hamlet as it might date back to the fifteenth century and it features interesting architectural and decorative elements.
It was a country residence surrounded by protective walls. The courtyard holds two different bodies belonging to different work phases: the main body with its hut shaped façade was the oldest and noblest section, while the second body with its simpler lines was added later.
Not so far from Casa Caldana there is Villa Guerrieri dating back to the first half of the eighteenth century. The villa is located at the very centre of Calmasino and it overlooks the current square.
The L shaped complex is surrounded by four streets and till today it occupies for the most part the urban fabric with its wide garden.
The name of this villa comes from the very panoramic position. It was built during the second half of the eighteenth century and then it was enlarged. It consists of the large country house and a lateral body used as “barchessa” (rural service building) with its garden.
The villa holds large rooms; there is no fresco nor other decorative elements and it still features the original doors and floor. Today the building holds the Gruppo Italiano Vini.
It is located in Palù. It is a rectangular seventeenth century house with some farm buildings.
The villa owes its prestige to the old chiesetta di San Francesco dating back to the period between 1569 and 1595; it was ordered by count Girolamo Lombardo on a gratuitous loan for all citizens.
The Bardolino ruins, churches and villas tell us about its origins through the ancient times