Villa/Palazzo Gradenigo, Oriago di Mira (VE)

Viewable from the upper deck of the Burchiello


Oriago, a district of Mira, altitude 4 m/13 feet above sea level; train station at Oriago on the Venezia-Adria line, or at Venezia Mestre about 4 km/2.5 miles to the northeast. The villa is located along the Ciclopista del Brenta [the bike route along the Brenta].

Villa Gradenigo is one of the oldest Venetian villas to be found along the Brenta Canal.

The Gradenigo family is one of the twelve so-called *apostolic families of Venice, but this villa never belonged to the Gradenigo family, who, in fact, only rented it. The villa was instead constructed at the beginning of the 16th century for the Scarpa family, originally from Bergamo, and subsequently it passed through many hands.

As with other villas along the Riviera del Brenta, this villa has a form that is similar to a palazzo along the Grand Canal.

Inside the villa there had been frescoes attributed to Benedetto Caliari, brother of Paolo (Veronese).Ofthese, by the end of the 20th century, there remain only two restorations: “La magnanimità di Alessandro Magno” [The magnanimity of Alexander theGreat] and **“Muzio Scevola.” The villa was decorated with frescoes on the exterior, as well, but during the first half of the 19th century, in order to avoid an Austrian tax on luxury homes, the frescoes were whitewashed for the purpose of reducing the taxable value of the overall structure.Today there remain only some traces over the main entry below the balcony of the piano nobile.


Today the villa is used as a private residence and may be visited only by first making an appointment and only by groups.

*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.

**Gaius Mucius Scaevola was a Roman youth, who defied and shocked the Etruscans with his bravery, and helped bring about reconciliation between Rome and the Etruscans around 508 BC.RB

All photos by Paolo Bonavoglia, unless indicated otherwise

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