Villa Duodo, Monselice (PD)

 
 

Monselice, province of Padua, altitude 50 m/165 feet above sea level; train station at Monselice [all RV(1) trains stop here].


This villa was built in the late sixteenth century by Pietro Duodo, a Venetian nobleman and the envoy of the Serenissima assigned to the Holy See, who commissioned its construction (2) at this location to Vincenzo Scamozzi.


Villa Duodo is set into the Santuario delle Sette Chiese [Sanctuary of the Seven Churches]; this complex of buildings is accessed from the main piazza of Monselice; Via del Santuario runs along the bottom of the steep hill, that dominates the city, up to the entry gate that marks the entry to the complex; a series of chapels, these also the work of Scamozzi, flank the narrow road which continues to climb up to the piazzale where to the right is the church of San Giorgio and straight ahead Villa Duodo. The climb is not too steep, but can be difficult for cyclists because of the rather uneven cobble stones.


Although the piazzale is only about 50 m/165 feet in altitude, it offers a sweeping view of the plain south of Monselice; for this reason, in November 1951, it was used to set up emergency radio antennas, that reestablished Roma-Bologna-Venice telephone service, after the flood of the Po River in Polesine had caused failure of the coaxial cable.

On the left side of the piazzale a narrow stairway allows you to continue up to the Ezzelini fortress, that resembles a chimney, at the top of the steep hill; also, to the left of the Villa, a wide and monumental stairway allows you to get to an exedra from which there is an overview of the villa and the piazzale.


Villa Duodo is now home to the Centro Internazionale di Idrologia [International Center of Hydrology] of the University of Padua and normally is closed to the public, although the park and chapels are 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


(1) RV means treno Regionale Veloce (Fast Regional Train); RV trains between Venezia and Bologna run every hour. RB


(2) A Rome away from Rome? Why was the Holy See in Monselice? According to Wikipedia, Pope Paul V had granted pilgrims visiting the sanctuary equal indulgences with those visiting the seven basilicas of Rome, after which the seven chapels are named. RB