Cruising in Venice’s mainland
Contradictory, isn’t it?
Most think Venice is confined within her beautiful lagoon: the only place to cheerfully set foot on a boat, and not much to see in her backyard.
Venetian aristocrats did not think so, and as soon as the law forbidding them to buy land instead of committing themselves to sea trade was changed, they started investing in real estate, first for agriculture, then to build luxurious residences, the Venetian Villas along the Brenta river, what we call “Riviera del Brenta“.
If you are coming from Venice and developed tender feelings for her “vaporetti”, water buses, then you should take a boat tour: the river from the inside has a totally different look, and you may see the villas’ façades from the right side, just like the Foscaris used to when arriving to their villa here.
La Malcontenta, as it is known today, is in the little town of the same name, but this is just a coincidence: the town was named after badly contained waters, in Latin “mala contenta“, probably engineers did not have that great experience they do nowadays.
The name of the villa has a more romantic story, though a sad one, in fact Malcontenta means “unhappy”: a young Venetian girl who was forced to marry one of the two old brothers Foscari who was quite often away on duty.
Her too liberal life eventually made her husband decide to put her in this golden cage,
hence the name of the villa, where the lady was unhappily missing her glamourous life in Venice.
We surely appreciate this project by Andrea Palladio, a World Heritage Site.
A helm is tempting for the kid inside me, when the captain is away.
The second stop is Barchessa Valmarana. Barchessa is not a proper villa, but an outbuilding: the main villa was destroyed more than a century ago. War? Natural catastrophe? No, by its owners to save on taxes!
Readers are welcome to comment on that.
Interiors are still very charming though.
Water has always had an enormous attraction on me, and I find waterways irresistible that is somewhat surprising to have not enjoyed this tour in a very long time.
A professional chef on board was so kind to provide my culinary highlight: pumpkin cream, and marinated red radicchio. Ideal for cheeses and local cold cuts.
You have to watch you head sometimes, bridges are lower then they are in Venice.
Waters along the way are not all on the same level, there is a complicated system of gates operated by locals: very fun moment to see the boat move upwards or downwards two meters depending on the depth of the next canal.Tours leave from Venice to Padova or from Padova to Venice, find out more @ “il Burchiello“.