Towards the middle of the sixteenth century powerful noble Venetian families thought to invest the wealth accumulated in the trade with the East in the creation of agricultural enterprises in the mainland; so did the Corner, Barbaro, Emo, Grimaldi ,etc. who were power holders but also art lovers.
Thus was born the Venetian Villa, a type of dwelling and original production, which had great success because it responded to esthetic and practical needs; In fact, next to the main building, that housed the patrician, built by renowned artists, stood the barns, stables and cottages.
Initially, all the Villas were built in contact with nature and had as the primary goal the investment for intensive agriculture and only later the Villa took on a character of a vacation home, also becoming a kind of status symbol.

Over the course of three centuries, several hundred villas were built in the countryside of the Veneto region and along the main rivers.
Among the most famous, Villa Maser, designed by Palladio and frescoed by P. Veronese, Villa Emo and Villa Foscari, called “Malcontenta”, frescoed by Zelotti . Among the most fascinating, though less known, Villa Soranzo Chiminelli in Sant’Andrea di Castelfranco Veneto.
Lovely building of the second half of the sixteenth century, frescoed on the outside and on the main floor by Benedetto Caliari, Paolo Veronese’s brother, and his school.

The Villa was built on an earlier “domus” mentioned in a deed of partition in 1477, already documented in a map of 1598 and cited by historian B. Scapinelli in “Historia di Castelfranco” (1623).
Recent studies show that the original property, “in origin attributed to the Corner family,” was indeed of Francesco Soranzo, noble Venetian, pastor at St. Andrea oltre il Muson from 1563 to 1595. In 1614 The villa passed to the noble family Piacentini and later on, in 1852, to the Tiepolo family.
During the second world war, in 1944, the Villa was occupied by german armed forces who used the house as a military hospital, and later under the american command.
It was in this last year of the war that the whole property was bought, in very poor conditions, by Francesco Chiminelli who, whith great enthusiasm and passion, gave way to a restoration project p the close supervision of competent bodies.
The first refurbishment of the inhabitable premises was followed by the restoration of the frescoed walls still partially covered by lime.
He is also responsible for the collection of objects that today are part of the Museum of peasent art and the tanning.
After Francesco’s death his sons Alessandro and Baldino, with the spame love and passion of their father, have embarked on a new, important and accurate restoration work, restoring the Villa to its former glory.


The Villa consists of the basement used as vaulted cellars, a mezzanine floor entirely frescoed , and the first floor, once used as a barn. For the relatively small dimensions and decorative elements, it falls into the category of vacation homes, hunting and typical literary pleasures of the architecture of the mainland, namely the “villa culture” of wealthy Venetians. The layout of the first floor, with the classic central hall, four side rooms and the loggia, reproduces the traditional Venetian plant. In the province of Treviso, there are several examples of this architecture, characterized by the sobriety of the linear scheme with vast tripartite openings. A two-storey west wing of the Nineteenth-century is connected to the villa at the mezzanine level, once called “Mesa”, and with the ground floor porch with courtyard gives access to the public road. Originally the entrance opened to the south paved courtyard and garden enclosed by a wall also frescoed, modified in 1800 on the west side to create a two-story barn. A chapel with a wooden altar of the fifteenth century, overlooks the entrance porch. The villa, recently restored, is equipped with winter heating and modern facilities, furnished with antiques and fine sculptures.

Veronese’s Frescoes

In front of the Villa the Soranzo crest is visible. The remainder of the exterior decoration recalls Palladian architectural flavor. The triple opening of the lodge is underlined by a fake colonnade: large fluted columns with Corinthian capitals mark the prospects with the bottom of imitation ashlar, to build a “painted architecture” of great charm. Beyond the short staircase, flanked by statues of the eighteenth century, near the Bonazza style, depicting the four seasons, we come to the atrium that gives light to the central hall. The decoration is very diversified: cherubs, garlands of vegetables and fruits, birds, musical instruments and notes, and four figures of musicians. The two side doors are topped with fake windows. The Corner coat of arms is repeated in the north wall and remembers the history of the illustrious family. In fact it is deduced that the Villa can be dated to after 1564, the year of the transfer of the Bishop’s Hat to Giorgio Corner, as confirmed by a slab-tile dated 1578. The two lateral arms are of the Priuli and Soranzo families. Lovely are the ceiling decorations, framed in small vaults, lunettes and ovals, with musical angels and winged putti. Its ‘the “manner” of Veronese, which is found in the Villa Maser and the neighboring Soranza, designed by Sanmicheli, demolished in 1800, so they cannot exclude a partial intervention on his part.

From the lodge you go to the salon. Here the effect of illusion is accentuated in the diagram boxes in which architectural counterpoint windows and open loggias of expansive landscapes prospectively focused on the diagonals. Of the two center panels, representing country scenes, unfortunately remain only sinopie, as the originals were torn during the second world war. The side panels represent Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. In the overdoors there are monochrome figures of the four seasons, the Samaritan woman at the well, Susanna and the Elders. Accents mannerist, which recall Veronesians inventions, especially in open landscapes over the fake loggia’s balustrade, with figures of women in sumptuous drapery and close-ups of trees of heaven moved: real “trompe l’oeil”. Even the side rooms are entirely frescoed and have wooden Sansovino ceilings with beams originally painted. The east room, which is accessed from the hall, is the “music room”: musical instruments of all kinds, and notes between flowery festoons are elegant vertical friezes. The themes of Faith, Hope and Charity and, in the panels above, Magdalene and St. Jerome, complete the cycle. On the wall to the north a landscape framed by Ionic colonnades and east of a marble fireplace surmounted by the Virgin and Child. In the north room, another fireplace in Verona marble is inserted into an architectural decoration, with fake banners, armor, coats of arms and monochrome scenes of biblical character, cupids, grapevines. On the panel over the door the theme of the Deposition and, above fireplace, the Martyrdom of S. Giustina. The room on the right of the saloon, lights up fake windows, with landscapes of trees and animated by scenes of monochrome on rounds, softened with floral decorations, with the effect of wall hangings. The kitchen, built in the nineteenth century, and the staircase that rises to the mezzanine floor and attics intended to be a barn, once partially painted, complete the atmosphere. In an undefined period, the frescoed walls were covered with layers of lime and the premises divided. The current owners under the control of the Istituto Regionale delle Ville Venete and the Soprintendenza ai Monumenti conducted the restorations at different times.


In front of the Villa, to the south, a large paved square, gives breadth and depth to the frescoed facade. Here, the Italian garden, closed to the east from the ancient frescoed wall and also in need of restoration, is seen as an integral part and xtension of the Villa and it recalls the typical style of the reinassance gardens with the right balance between rational strictness and creativity fantasy.
Built following specific rules of order and symmetry, it is a pleasant and harmonious combination of proportions, where the evergreen hedges divide the surface in four green areas set around the central path.
Decorated by a fountain located on axis with the lodge, and numerous valuable sculptures, in hard stone and in Vicenza stone, and archaeological finds.
The two barns, located on the west side of the garden, rapresent another important and characteristic architectural aspect of that period.
To the west lies the “orchard”, a lawn, furnished by several antique farm machinery and fruit trees in tradition of the eighteenth century.
In depth, beyond the old gate, set on brick pillars, lies the great avenue fullfiled with cypresses and poplars that bisects the farm is destined to the west to vineyards, and to the east to agricultural production.

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