Recently restored, the 16th century villa, frescoed by tiepolo, will soon become a reference for collectors, with a vast documentation center, the only one in italy. The prestigious exhibition gallery of villa dei leoni will hold an important international exhibition in 2009 entitled “Laughing on paper. Portrait, society and imagination in italian caricature from leonardo to tiepolo”, that will present a hundred works from the most important national and international museums, many of which have never been seen in italy. Villa dei leoni is one of the oldest of the architectural jewels that embellish the riviera del brenta: the building, constructed around 1550, is characterized by the original architectural lines, in spite of later remodeling in the 18th and 19th century. The main rooms were decorated with an important cycle of frescoes painted by gianbattista tiepolo: the monumental “arrival of henry ii at the villa in mira, welcomed by federico contarini and his family”, a ceiling representing “fame announcing the arrival of the guest to the residents of the villa” and other figures. These masterpieces are now preserved by the jacquemart-andre museum in paris. This time it was not napoleone bonaparte who took them to paris, but the french banker and collector eduard andré, where he installed them in his private home, which later became a state museum. The original marble lions are also kept at his mansion-museum. A broad stairway leads to the entrance; on the left is a room called “The hall of mirrors”, whose richly gilded frames are reflected on the walls and ceiling. We reach the noble floor on a stairway with vaulted ceiling. The northern façade, that faces on the italian garden, is particularly noteworthy, featuring an elegant loggia with five arches that lightens the structure. The interior still contains many of the sumptuous decorations in vogue in the 18th century, such as the doorframes and the venetian marble floors. A 16th century sink in red marble from verona can still be seen on one of the upper floors. The villa was surrounded by walls and had a large garden, a chapel and boat houses. Napoleon’s sister carolina murat lived there for a short time. The nearby oratory (recently restored, and used for art shows) houses the tombs of one of the ancient owners, carlo gorzkowky, advisor to the emperor of austria, and his wife, this is documented by the engravings by coronelli, montalegre and del costs. The villa is currently owned by the city of mira. The ground floor houses the public library, and there are municipal offices on the first floor. The elegant chapel, considerably larger than normal for its time, was damaged by the earthquake of 1976 and has been restored. The garden, which was famous for its rare trees, is now a public park open during the day. The boathouse was converted several years ago into a theater.
YOU CAN VISIT:
recently restored, it will be opened to the public shortly.
Contact us for the schedule of days and times of guided tours
section H – go to the map