Villa Cappello, also known as Villa Imperiale because summer residence since 1858 of Ferdinand I of Habsburg and his wife Empress Maria Anna of Savoy, is the pride of Galliera Veneta, in the province of Padua. The park that surrounds it, often cited as one of the most beautiful in Italy, is now open to the public with free admission.
Villa Cappello o villa Imperiale History
The Venetian family of the Cappello family, already in 1508, owned the land in Galliera Veneta, in the province of Padua, comprising nine fields and a house; it will however be only in 1530 that the first nucleus will be enlarged and it is in this phase that the creation of the Italian park is to be inserted.
In 1821 it will pass to the Comello, another Venetian family, who will ask the services of architect and set designer Francesco Bagnara to design the new park according to English taste. Bagnara maintains and enhances the original structure of the park by expanding it and inserting new elements such as a new island, fish ponds and other routes. The characteristic elements remain however the free zones and the green area.
In 1852 the property passed to the Empress Maria Anna Pia di Savoia who ordered a further enlargement and a new restructuring; the empress of the Hapsburg Empire can not however enjoy the villa for a long time, since in 1866 the Veneto became part of Italy.
During the twentieth century the villa during the First World War is home to a military hospital and then to the command of the IV corps; subsequently it is acquired by the current INPS becoming a sanatorium for TB patients; in '78 it was then used as a nursing home, while the barchesse became the site of health and social services; only later the Municipality becomes the owner of the land corresponding to the park as well as the western part of the structure where the civic library was obtained.
In 2006 the Municipal Administration intervened with a restoration operation of the park, under the Superintendency of Architectural and Environmental Heritage, with which 700 plants were planted and 200 planted, pruned many weeds and resurfaced sections of undergrowth. The lake has also been expanded and a continuous irrigation system has been built, 11 wooden bridges, a boarding area to offer the possibility to take a boat ride around the lake and installed playgrounds for children, benches and a new lighting system. to offer the best experience of the park.
The park, which covers an area of about 8 hectares, is often mentioned among the most beautiful in Italy and is one of the rare examples of gardens conceived according to scenographic criteria capable of creating particular effects of panoramic illusions.