Villa Badoer, Fratta Polesine (RO)


Fratta Polesine, 12 m/40 feet above sea level; train station at Fratta Polesine 1 km/.6 mile to the north.  The villa is located at the edge of the village.  The entrance is towards the right where the Museo Archeologico Nazionale [National Museum of Archeology] di Fratta Polesine is located.

This is one of Palladio’s most faithfully-executed villas.  It was commissioned by the Venetian senator Francesco Badoer, a member of one of the oldest Venetian families, one of the twelve so-called *apostolic families of Venice.  It was realized between 1566 and 1570.  The villa was used as a base to administer the family estates and to manage the process of land reclamation.

The principal facade has at its center a loggia [porch] in the form of a Greek temple formed by six Ionic columns and a triangular pediment with the family coat-of-arms, a theme that recalls other Palladio villas, ranging from Villa Rotonda to Villa Malcontenta.

To the side of the villa there are two colonnaded wings “which like arms… seem to receive those that come near the house” to paraphrase the words of Palladio.

At the front of the villa, a broad staircase was considered necessary to provide greater visibility of, and prestige to, the villa and to place the main floor above flood level; the garden level is in fact more than one meter [40 inches] below the level of the embankment of the nearby Scortico Canal.  The interior walls are decorated with frescoes, but which are rather deteriorated, the work of Giallo Fiorentino.

The villa currently is owned by the province of Rovigo and is open to the public.

All photos by Paolo Bonavoglia.

For an overall interactive map of the Veneto, showing all these villas and many more, please see this custom Google map

*These twelve families have been called apostolic because, through their patronage, they gave birth to the Republic of Venice by electing the first Doge, Paoluccio Anafesto, in 697 AD.  The twelve families were: Badoer, Barozzi, Contarini, Dandolo, Falier, Gradenigo, Memmo, Michiel, Morosini, Polani, Sanudo and Tiepolo.  Often added to this list are four so-called evangelist families: Bembo, Bragadin, Corner e Giustinian.