Villas of the Veneto: 2

127 villas that can/should be visited by a combination of bicycle and train

text and photos by Paolo Bonavoglia

translated by Richard Bosch Architect/Traduzioni Culturali

Please allow about 30 seconds for the 63 albums on this page to appear—in other words, be patient!

This website presents an English translation of Le ville venete in bici [Venetian Villas on Bicycle], part of an extensive website created and maintained by Paolo Bonavoglia, a former high school math teacher from Venice, Italy, who in his spare time is an avid biker, a photographer and a wannabe architect. His complete website can be viewed at and consists of nearly 400 webpages covering many aspects of bicycle touring [cicloturismo] and describing bike routes throughout Europe and more specifically Northern Italy.

We created this stand-alone website so that English-speaking travelers to Italy, who wish to visit Palladio and other villas of the Veneto on bicycle, will have a single resource that can be referenced easily when traveling. To that end, most pages include a map indicating the exact location of the villa and its nearest train station[s]. For an overall interactive map of the Veneto, showing all these villas and many more, please see this custom Google map, and Paolo’s webpage also includes an overall map of the Veneto with all the villas indicated.

The primary text of this website was researched and written by Paolo Bonavoglia and translated into English by Richard Bosch Architect. The majority of photos are also by Paolo Bonavoglia. The maps were prepared by Richard Bosch. Other resources have been assimilated and credited as appropriate. 

Paolo stopped visiting villas at number 127. That would have left a blank at the end of the Part 2 overview page. It inspired me use that opportunity as an acknowledgement to my other cycling and architectural colleague, Liza Dolza, principal of Cycling Made in Italy, based in Valstagna. She and her wonderful staff made it possible for me to visit many of these villas and escorted me on some of the most beautiful bike rides ever imagined.

As Paolo states in his introduction: “The bicycle is, among other things, an ideal way to visit the numerous villas that are to be found within the Veneto and Friuli regions. There are so many: many along the Brenta River and Canal, many on the flat, coastal plain, and many in the hills and foothills.

Along with other factors they may have in common: they are almost always country houses built between the 16th and 18th centuries on behalf of this or that family of the Venetian aristocracy. The style was defined by Palladio who designed and constructed many of these villas that in turn inspired many others.”

A note about the locational maps:

As of November 17, 2014, detailed maps were in place and correct, but 28 villas that Paolo added since then have not been added as of this update of December 2, 2019. That will be a good winter project.

For an overall map, that is up to date, please refer to this custom Google map
for accurate villa locations and their closest train stations. The bright green pins correspond literally to this collection of villas. More recently Paolo also has added a map showing all the villas to his Le ville venete in bici page. So, you’re doubly covered.

A note about drawings:

It is the intent, over time, to include sketches and drawings, as available, especially of the Palladio villas. If viewers to this site know of sketches or drawings that are already available and wish to share them please email that information to Richard Bosch Architect. All material will be properly credited.

For those wanting to take a day off from biking:

The “Burchiello”--the canal boat that runs between Padova and Fusina--is an excellent way to visit three of the villas on this page--Villa Pisani, Villa Seriman and Villa Foscari “la Malcontenta”--and to see many more from the upper deck. 

From the upper deck one can see the following 13 additional villas:

  1. Moro

  2. Mocenigo

  3. Gradenigo

  4. Valmarana

  5. Contarini Dei Leoni

  6. Soranzo Conestabile

  7. Ferretti Angeli

  8. Lazara Pisani

  9. Soranzo

  10. Cappello

  11. Foscarini Rossi

  12. Recanati-Zucconi

  13. Bon

The Burchiello can be reached by taking the train to Padova or taking the ferry that runs between the Zattere in Venice to Fusina. Villas that are visited include: Villa Pisani, Villa Seriman and Villa Foscari “La Malcontenta.”

Bike routes other than visiting villas:

Other bike routes in Italy, described by Paolo Bonavoglia, and that have been translated into English [or in process]:

  1. Bicycling in Venice

  2. The Veneto by bicycle

  3. Bicycling in Trentino-Alto Adige

  4. Friuli by bicycle

  5. Tuscany by bicycle

  6. Lazio by bicycle

Here are other bike routes, described by Paolo Bonavoglia, but outside of Italy, all translated into English:

  1. Bicycling in Austria

  2. Bicycling in Czechia [aka Czech Republic]

  3. Bicycling in Denmark

  4. Bicycling in France

  5. Bicycling in Germany

  6. Bicycling in Holland

  7. Bicycling in Hungary

  8. Bicycling in Slovakia

  9. Bicycling in Slovenia

  10. Bicycling in Switzerland

Last update November 22, 2019


Palladio villas

Andrea Palladio [translated by Isaac Ware 1738], The Four Books of Architecture, Dover, New York 1965

Vincent Scully, The Villas of Palladio, Little, Brown and Company, Boston 1987

Lionello Puppi [translated by Pearl Sanders], Andrea Palladio, Electa Editrice, Venice 1973

Bruce Boucher, Andrea Palladio The Architect in His Time, Abbeville Press, New York 1998

Exhibit catalog, Palladio, Canova, Treviso 1981

Michele Furnari, Formal Design in Renaissance Architecture from Brunelleschi to Palladio, Rizzoli, Milano 1995, pp 171 – 172 [Villa Barbaro, Villa la Rotonda]

Wolfgang Lotz [edited by Deborah Howard], Architettura in Italia 1500 1600, Rizzoli, Milano 1997, pp 147 – 157 [in Italian][Villa Barbaro, Villa Pojana, Villa la Rotonda]

James Ackerman, The Villa, Form and Ideology of Country Houses, Thames and Hudson, London 1990  pp 89 – 107

Paul Van der Ree, Gerrit Smienk, Clemens Steenbergen, Italian Villas and Gardens, Prestel, Munich 1993  pp 227 - 269 [Villa Barbaro pp 242, Villa Contarini pp 246, Villa Cornaro pp 251, Villa Emo pp 255, Villa Godi pp 259, Villa Piovene pp 262, Villa Rotonda pp 265]

Colin Rowe, The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA 1985 pp 1 – 27

Villa Cornaro, only

Check out Sally Gable’s fascinating book: Palladian Days: Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House, which is extremely interesting and revealing about the reality of taking ownership of a Palladio villa, including rotting wooden beams and scorpions within the walls. None of your usual architectural historian BS.

Venetian villas in general

Franco Borsi and Geno Pampaloni [editors], Ville e Giardini in the series Monumenti d’Italia, Istituto Geografico de Agostini 1984, pp 138 – 242 [in Italian]

Colin Rowe and Leon Satkowski, Italian Architecture of the 16th Century, Princeton Architectural Press, New York 2002 pp 195 – 199 [Sansovino: Villa Garzoni and Sanmicheli: Villa la Soranza - demolished in 1818]

Georgina Masson, Italian Villas and Palaces, Abrams, 1966, pp 88 – 117


What about the seemingly random order?

These villas were added over a six-year period in the order they were visited. Click the link below for all villas in Parts 1 and 2: