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    Piazzola sul Brenta - from the industrial citadel to the royal villa

    In proposing a tour in the province of Padua, a stop in the important and strategic town of Piazzola sul Brenta is a must. This territory, located 20 km from Padua along the course of the Brenta river, is rich in evidence of its important past, found in documentary sources dating back to the first half of the thirteenth century. but with references to much older eras. In addition to the famous Villa Contarini, a splendid example of a Venetian villa, Villa Trieste in the locality of Vaccarino, Villa Paccagnella in the locality of Presina as well as the entire area of ​​the former Jutificio, a concrete example of that "ideal city" pursued by Count Camerini, are worth a visit. of industrial archeology.                                                                                                   

    Of particular interest are some naturalistic itineraries along the course of the Brenta river inside the "Brenta natural area" or in the "Tavello", an example of a practically uncontaminated river environment with rich flora and fauna. 


    Inserted in the center of the urban context of Piazzola sul Brenta, a few kilometers from the river, the villa consists of a central body, two lateral wings, the unfinished porticoed half-ellipse, the fishpond and the stables. The vast park opens at the rear. The central body, built in 1546 on a design by Palladio by the will of the family in Contarini, was enlarged and remodeled over the centuries. Since 2005 it has been managed by the Veneto Region, engaged in an important valorisation activity of this important cultural heritage.


    The Tempietto of San Benigno or del Temanza is a monument of interest of the Municipality of Piazzola Sul Brenta, annexed to the splendid Villa Contarini. It was built by the architect Tommaso Temanza in 1770, has a circular plan, and is inspired by the construction designed by Andrea Palladio at Villa Barbaro, in Maser (TV).


    The Camerini Amphitheater is one of the places to see in Piazzola sul Brenta. It is a suggestive location, located just in front of the facade of Villa Contarini, one of the largest of the Venetian Villas, and is surrounded by an arcade. All around there is a green area. The amphitheater is used to organize fairs, events and concerts, in particular the "hydrogen" or "postepay festival", where internationally renowned artists perform.


    This structure, which can be accessed from the square through a recently opened small gallery, was intended to house the Female College set up by Marco Contarini to house orphans or girls in need, who were sent to singing, dancing, embroidery, preparatory activities in line with the conception of the latter as a "place of music". The Loco delle Vergini takes up the shape of the cloister and responds perfectly to these needs from a functional point of view: on the four sides overlooking the internal courtyard, on the ground floor as well as in the upper ones, all the laboratories mentioned above were opened and which represented hence the "operational" heart of the Contarinian complex.


    Place of considerable interest for industrial archeology, the building, intended for the production of jute, has been built since the last decade of the 19th century as part of the ambitious "Camerini plan". The latter aimed to fully transform Piazzola sul Brenta from an agricultural center to an industrial center, an "ideal city" of work where production needs and attention to the quality of life of citizens / workers had to go hand in hand. Today's factory is characterized by the permanence of the tower, the imposing chimney, the huge covered spinning room, the square and the presence of new buildings, whose geometric volumes redefine the city landscape in a modern key.


    Villa Trieste is located in the hamlet of Vaccarino and takes its name from the homonymous family that had bought it in 1808 from the noble Venetian family of the Savonarola family.
    The villa is the result of the renovation works commissioned in 1789 by Gaetano Savonarola; the Trieste, on the other hand, commissioned Giuseppe Jappelli to build the beautiful romantic garden, therefore characterized by collected and shady spaces, waterways, statues, in opposition to the English garden model. 
    And that the link with nature is one of the salient features of Villa Trieste is proven by its own orientation, with the main facade facing the Brenta river and the Tavello area (naturalistic area recognized as a Site of Community Interest) and the back towards the inhabited center, factors that make it an ideal starting point for excursions in nature.


    Villa Paccagnella, in Isola Mantegna (native area of ​​the artist Andrea Mantegna) is an example of a Venetian villa built in pure Palladian style, recognizable in particular in the access staircase, the pediment and the tympanum, which closely resemble other famous Palladian creations .
    Unfortunately, the building, already put to the test during World War II (it housed a military hospital of the German troops, who covered a large part of the frescoes with lime), is currently in very poor conservation conditions, such as to have induced the Institute Regionale Ville Venete to replace the defaulting owner by carrying out safety work.



     The Tavello area, of considerable naturalistic and landscape interest, although for the most part insisting within the territory of the Municipality of Limena, persists in the territory of the Municipality of Piazzola sul Brenta. Taking as a starting point the beautiful Villa Trieste, it is possible to decide whether to go south towards Limena or north towards Curtarolo (Tessara). The route can be done on foot, by bike but also on horseback. Il Tavello is a floodplain area of ​​the Brenta river, has been proclaimed SIC (Site of Community Interest). 
    It is considered in the context of the establishment of the "Medio Corso del Brenta" Regional Park, included in the Naturalistic Areas of Regional Interest, and finally it is classified as SPA (Special Protection Area) in various European Directives. It is part of the BRENTA NATURALISTIC OASIS.



    Not far from Piazzola, in Fontaniva, there is an ancient furnace worthy of note as regards archeology and industrial heritage. The structure now houses Elite srl, a manufacturer of bicycle accessories and rollers: it is possible to visit the structure and, on the occasion of the "open factory", participate in a guided tour of the various company areas and the various production phases, all within a structure which is in itself an industrial heritage and which continues to be the bearer of trades and activities.

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    Martina Pastrello

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