Villa Vigna Contarena is located in Este, at the foot of the Euganean Hills, in the historic center of the town, La Barchessa di Vigna Contarena is immersed in a huge park, bordering the wall of the Carrara castle, and is accessed by a gate in via Cappuccini along the slopes of Mount Murale.
Villa Vigna Contarena History
Villa Contarini degli Scrigni, called "Vigna Contarena", is a Venetian villa built on a project by Vincenzo Scamozzi. The building we see today dates back to the early 1600s and represents the expansion of a previous building. It is one of the numerous villas built by the noble Contarini in the mainland under the dominion of the Serenissima Republic, which from the fifteenth century also involved the Euganean area.
Inside the atrium is embellished by valuable frescoes: framed by lunettes and false niches are represented allegorical figures (Charity and Mansuetudine). The noble salon presents some mythological representations, framed in a complex frame formed by zoo-phytomorphic elements and sculptural motifs. The myths depicted are Diana and Endymion, Apollo and Daphne, Apollo who kills the nymph, Apollo and Diana. Above the paintings is the monogram of Mark III Contarini, ambassador to Vienna in the 1940s.
On the second floor we find other less important paintings, including the Seasons and the Cardinal Points, while other mythological figures have been brought to light following recent restorations. The diversity of decoration styles suggests that more artists worked in this villa; the period of execution of the frescoes can be placed between the end of the seventeenth century and the first decade of the eighteenth century.
Next to the villa, towards the back of Via Cappuccini, a wall encloses a small enclosed green space called "secret garden" or "vineyard", a term with which in the sources of the age the gardens were embellished with archaeological finds. The secret garden takes up the ideal conception of the Renaissance hortus conclusus and inside it still today there are stone seats alternating with niches once occupied by statues. It was the villa builder himself, Giorgio Contarini, who transformed his residence into a small archaeological museum, collecting a large number of Roman finds, mostly stone inscriptions.
Recently restored by an intervention aimed at maintaining and enhancing its historic features, the Barchessa di Vigna Contarena houses apartments for tourist use and rooms for conferences, meetings and special events.