Villa Badoer – Andrea Palladio
Francesco Badoer commissioned the villa designed by Andrea Palladio. date of construction is not certain but in 1557, the main body must already have existed because it was inserted into a map of the valleys of San Biagio and Valdentro compiled in the same year.
The famous villa appears in the Four Books of Palladio in 1570, where it is represented with some differences compared to today’s layout.
At the centre of a green lawn enclosed by outhouses rises the residential building with a simple body and monumental pronaos gable preceded by a wide, articulated stairway; at the sides, the “barchesse” on small columns spread out in a semicircle (the “barchessa” in the Venetian villa is a side wing used for residence or services).
With their wide curves enclosing the space, they characterize the building to make it one of Palladio’s best works.
The villa was decorated, and Palladio recalls this fact in one of his books, by Giallo Fiorentino who painted, in the pronaos and the interior, imaginative grotesques, which were recovered by the Istituto Regionale Ville Venete (Regional Institute for Venetian Villas) during restoration work.
The villa, declared a world heritage monument by UNESCO is owned by the Province of Rovigo.
It is the natural host for the organization of meetings and conferences, exhibitions, theatre, opera and ballet performances, whereas the barchesse house the National Archaeology Museum, exhibiting some unique archaeological Bronze Age’s finds of great European relevance.
National archeologic museum
Villa Badoer – Barchesse
The Archaeological Museum that exhibits the finds from the research in the territory’s proto-historic settlements. Of particular importance are the finds from Frattesina, a settlement dating back to between the XIIth and the IXth centuries B.C. (perhaps early VIIIth century B.C.) during the final phase of the Bronze Age (“proto-villanoviana” culture) and the beginning of the Iron Age. The settlement’s most prosperous phase bridged the XIth and Xth centuries AD and is characterized by numerous craft activities partly connected with the raw materials from Eastern and Northern Europe.
The metal workmanship is particularly significant; of all the Italian Bronze Age sites, Frattesina has brought to light the most casting moulds, many of which are exhibited in this museum. Another exhibit is one of the three smelting storerooms (deteriorated bronze objects intended for recycling), with fibulas (brooches), knives, buttons, fragments of bronze bars and numerous shovels with hollow handles. Although these ornaments, tools and weapons were made almost exclusively in bronze, there are also objects in gold such as gold leaf (perhaps part of a disk) and fragments of ribbon. Other handcraft activities are the working of glass, ivory and amber. The glass, which was used mainly to make beads, was produced locally but the birth of this activity in this area is probably due to the presence in the ancient delta of dealers, artisans and prospectors from the Eastern Mediterranean (e.g. Cyprus). The amber, found in the form of beads of different shapes, including the so-called “Tirinto” type, came from the Baltic coasts and arrived at the artisan centre of Frattesina through the Eastern Alpine passes and the valleys of the Adige, and was then routed into a commercial network involving peninsular Italy, Sicily, the Aegean and the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean. A further testimony of the complex network of relations that makes Frattesina a real “port of trade” is elephant ivory, of which both unfinished and finished pieces have been recovered, above all combs decorated with engravings. As regards funeral rites, funeral urns are exhibited deriving from one of the two necropolis of Frattesina: that of Narde. The custom of cremating the dead became almost total at the end the Bronze Age. The ashes were collected in terracotta vases, generally bi-conic in shape. Personal objects such as simple arched fibulas, spindles, glass paste beads for the women and razors and arched fibulas for the men accompanied the dead.
Villa Grimani Molin now Avezzù Pignatelli
The nearby presence of the stupendous Palladian Villa Badoera certainly inspired the unknown architect who, looking to Palladio but above all one if his more distant buildings, the Malcontenta, traced this pleasant, dignified building that enriches Fratta, one of the most suggestive corners of Polesine.
The Badoera villa is in itself the uncontested protagonist, yet it is also enhanced by the other presences around it: the harmonious square in front of it and Villa Grimani Molin on one side. In the maps of the Venetian Land Registry of 1775, Villa Grimani Molin is recorded as belonging to the nobleman Giovanni Francesco Correr.
Within the estate, there is a clear separation between the refined courtyard and the working courtyard. In the first courtyard, there is the main building with two barchesse on each side, arranged separately and at right angles to it.
Unlike the nearby Villa Badoer, orientated in an east-west direction, the main body of Villa Grimani Molin is oriented north-south, as is common for residential villas.
This villa is therefore not secondary but rather an active, decisive component of a series of buildings whose assembled synthesis is virtually unparalleled in the Veneto region. The connection between the two neighbouring villas can also be traced in the affinities of certain interior decorations that the experts unanimously attribute to the same school. The interior frescos, for many years attributed to Giallo Fiorentino, are in fact the work of Anonimo Grimani, who belonged to Giuseppe Porta Salviati’s artistic circle, which also included Giallo Fiorentino, who worked in Villa Badoer. The work was commissioned by Andrea da Molin, Grimani’s son-in-law. The paintings’ themes take their inspiration from subjects already proposed by Veronese.
The construction of this villa dates back to the early decades of the 18th century (or to the last decades of the 17th century) and is asymmetrically developed due to the incomplete western section. It possesses two nearly identical facades, with a single difference: the southern one is also enlivened by a balcony, while the northern side has a simple window. A notched cornice adorns the superior tympanum and flows along the garret, above the oval windows of the granary.
Admittance to the upper floor is by a staircase, which divides itself after the first ramp. At the height of the windows on the first floor two coats of arms are still visible in which it is possible to make out the trace of a stork and of an angel (the Oroboni-Angeli marriage). The villa is famous for the tragic episode involving count Antonio Oroboni, a Carbonari patriot arrested during the night between the 6th and 7th january 1819 who died in Spielberg prison.
Villa Cornoldi now Fanan
The construction of this villa dates back to the early decades of the 18th century. The owner was the notary Francesco Villa, as testified by the stuccoes in the noble hall that portray his insignia, characterised by a turret and the initials F and V on the sides, surmounted by a flag with the letter N. The Venetian Land Registry of 1775 confirms the date.
The estate is composed of the main house and a separate barchessa, perpendicular to it, along the Valdentro. The area of ground between the two constructions is used as a garden. A wall surrounds the complex.
At the beginning of the XIXth century, the villa was several times the scene of Carbonare meetings, so much so that 12th December 1818 saw the arrest here of Antonio Villa, the nephew of Francesco, who died in Spielberg prison with his fellow citizen and friend Antonio Oroboni. The villa, recently and splendidly restored, houses an important private music collection in Italy.
Palazzo Lippomano Monti ora Viaro
The architectural features of Villa Lippomano Monti date the building back to the 18th century (F.B.).
However, other sources date the construction of the building back to the first half of the 17th century, commissioned by the Labia family.
The complex rises on the corner of two roads that converge into a widening overlooked by the Fratta parish church.
The building is composed of a central elevated body on three floors, with a pavilion roof, and two curved wings that embrace the small courtyard to form a semicircle.
In the Austrian Land Registry of 1852, Giovanni Monti, peer of the nobleman Gaspare Lippomano, owns the house; the cottage, instead, is owned by his brother Giacomo, also a peer.
The brothers Monti were both affiliated to the Carboneria.
The great-grandson, Giovanni, born in this house in January 1900, after a long military career as a pilot, established, and still holds, the hydroplane speed record (500 Km/ h), as testified by the plaque that can be seen on the facade.
Villa Davì now Guzzon Zanobbi
The complex is composed of three buildings arranged in a line: the main house, the small chapel and the barchessa.
Separated from these buildings is a small neo-gothic outhouse. The main building is set slightly back from the road and faces it; to the rear stretches a small park, in which some statues and a well are present, surrounded by a ditch, which on the east side marks a boundary with Villa Oroboni.
Semenzato hypothesizes a 16th century origin for the house, shown by elements which divide a three-light window, composed of three pointed arch portals that open in the centre, onto the noble floor. The building seems to have undergone some rearrangement during the nineteenth century. In the Venetian Land Registry of 1775, the complex is owned by Domenico Vincenzo Davì and his brothers. In 1852, according to the Austrian Land Registry, it still belongs to the Davì family. In the maps of the Austrian Land Registry of 1852 the building appears to consist of the main house, the chapel and the barchessa, lined up along the southern front. The Villa now belongs to the Guzzon-Zanobbi family.
Villa and Parco Labia
This villa was probably built on the site of the palace of the attorneys of St. Marco, who managed the “retratto of Frattesina,” a vast area to the southeast of Fratta, reclaimed by the Estensi and passed to the Serenissima Republic after the peace of Bagnolo in 1484.
“La Frattesina” was sold 170 years later to the Labia family, for 180,000 ducats, to cover the huge military expenses that Venice had to bear in the war against the Turks.
Of the notable 18th century complex of Villa Labia only the small church and part of the large garden remain. The house, hit by a bombardment in 1945, was pulled down the following year to be reconstructed in 1956, according to the 18th century way of building, but with a different layout from the previous one. A photograph taken in 1901 documents the former building layout.
Villa Labia’s eighteenth century park, romantic in style and probably designed by Osvaldo Paletti, was built to adorn the eighteenth century villa.
The park, surrounded by a wall, stretches for around 15.000 square meters. Inside there are some rare trees and two ice houses, as well as an underground channel, deriving from the river Scortico, which leads to a small pond.
The building is separated from the road by an imposing boundary wall with wrought iron railings and gates, probably from the ‘900.
The villa originally belonged to the Labia counts and, in 1775, to Anzolo Maria Labia. It came under local authority during 1972 and now houses the Scuola Media Statale (State High School) “A. Palladio”.
Villa Campanari appears in the Venetian Land Registry of 1775, where the house is placed along the road that coasts the right bank of the River Scortico. The ownership is assigned to Domenico Campanari well after 1852. The building is composed of a substantial central body developed on three floors and two lower side wings placed in line with the eastern façade and set back from the western one.
Access to the upper floor is possible by means of an external staircase with two flights. A semicircular gable, enhanced by the projection from the masonry of the central body, crowns the main façade.
On the centre of the façade are three arc-shaped portals.
Inside, over the years, the original features of the building have been completely lost due to a succession of restoration works carried out to transform the abode into the town hall.
As well as the house, at the back in the internal courtyard there is a storehouse and a barchessa that was once a storeroom and homestead.
Palazzo Dolfin Boniotti now “Manegium”
The long main house rises on three floors of which the garret was originally intended to be a barn.
The planimetric layout is divided into four parts, with a passageway west of the centre of the building. The southern façade looks onto the Valdentro waterway, while the northern one looks out on the interior courtyard.
The villa has typical features dating it back to the 16th century or, at least, its radical transformation in the 18th century, and subsequent re-elaboration in the 19th century (F.B.).
The building was donated by the Boniotti heirs to the cultural and research group “II Manegium” an Onlus volunteer group concerned with historical, ethnographical, artistic and archaeological research in the territory anciently called “Manegium”.
The palace is in an advanced phase of restoration and inside, when the work is complete, it may be used to house a permanent exhibition on the Carboneria Polesana, the Ethnographical Museum, an exhibition on ceramics and a photographic exhibition about Giacomo Matteotti.
The complex is placed in the middle of the village and it’s composed of a main house with two identical wings and the twin chapels.
Villa Dolfin is recorded in the Venetianland Registery Census in 1775, it is an example of XVIII century architecture with its elegant façade divided in three floors, its majestic flight of steps that gives access to the main stair and the tipical dormerwindow with neo-classical tympanum that flings the proportions of the building. The same thoroughness of the main façade is present also in the back one because the villa was provided of a back access due to the Valdentro canal that was navigable at that time. As well as the villa there are several modern buildings, a church dedicated to the Holy Family and other service edifices (kitchen, laundry, laboratories, etc..) which have undergone extensive restructuring. The house is a female Institute for people with disabilities and Hospice.
The Institute was established by Blessed Luigi Guanella in 1900. He bought the villa and an estate of 730 mq from the Dolfin Counts. Its management was given, to the guanelliane nuns, helped in everyday funtions by laic staff. Everyday life of guests is alternate between moments spent in family groups and rehabilitation activities, according to spiritual and pedagogical teaching of the founder.
S. Francesco Church
Existing since the beginning of the 16th century, the church, originally dedicated to St. Maria Assunta, constitutes the expansion of a previous church dating back to early 1100, and was the residence of the Confraternita dei Battuti Bianchi (Brotherhood of the Beaten Whites), thus called because they wore a white cloth cowl over their faces. It is a favoured location for meetings of the brotherhoods of St. Rosary and the Cordone di S. Francesco (Cord of St. Francis). The Friar Minors of the Province of the Saint of Padova built this construction, which they dedicated to St. Francis, from 1501 until the 17th of September 1656, the year in which the Serenissima suppressed the little monastery.
In a crypt under the right altar are preserved the remains of the man of letters, mathematician and writer Cav. Giovanni Maria Bonardo, who lived in Fratta in the second half of the sixteenth century, the founder of the Accademia dei Pastori Frattegiani (Academy of the Frattegiani Clergy). Amongst the worthy works of art contained in the church are the very handsome, artistic wooden central altar, attributed to Caracchio from Rovigo and the altarpiece of Our Lady of the Assumption at the centre of the altar, attributed to Maffei.
Apart from religious ceremonies, the Church now periodically hosts concerts, exhibitions and conferences.
Saints Pietro and Paolo Church
The parish church is dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul. Erected (perhaps on the site of an already existing church in 1123), designed by Zuane Bellettato, in 1552.
It was finished in the 1682, as recorded on a plaque on its façade. Inside are preserved frescos by Francesco Zugno, a pupil of Tiepolo, rich carving works and important 18th-century Venetian sculptures.
It also possesses a precious canopy and rich vestments .
Amongst the more interesting works are: the ceiling frescoes by Francesco Zugno; the Stations of the Cross probably by the same Zugno, recently stolen and replaced with copies by a local author; the main double door with angels, decorations, emblems and symbols, attributed to Andrea Brustolon; the marble statues of St. Domenico and St. Teresa (1783) by Giovanni Marchiori; St. Benedetto and St. Scolastica by Giovanni M. Morlaiter; two large cherubs that decorate the altar are by P. Baratta and Marino Groppelli; all the statues on the walls around the church (1743) (excluding that of St. Giovanni Bosco) are by Tomaso Bonazza; the canopy (1783) was engraved by Baseggio Sante; the pulpit with the beautiful scene of Jesus amongst the Physicians (1859), the organ chancel, with columns, chapels, children, emblems and the parapet of the altar of the SS. Quaranta Martiri (Forty Martyred Saints) are precious gilded carving works by Luigi Voltolini from Lendinara. There are also some canvases by famous authors, including: “the Birth of Jesus” and “the Adoration of the Magi” by Mattia Bortoloni; The “Circumcision” by Ippolito Scarsella; the “Ancona of St. Nicola of Bari” by G.B. Burato.
San Bartolomeo Church
The last reminder of the church is a rose-coloured plaque with an inscription and the coat of arms of the founder.
The foundations of the building were laid on 6th August 1338. It was built on the initiative of an influential character, Riccobono Gonfalonieri of Brescia.
It was the private nature of this place of worship that hastened its decline, already begun in the XVI century, and subsequent disappearance. This plaque is currently the most meaningful testimony in Fratta of the Medieval era.
The parish Church, dedicated to the saints Peter and Paul, was built on the site of a previous church, already documented in 1123.
The clergyman’s house was built during the first half of the eighteenth century and its architecture can be traced back to the typical designs of dominical houses of the same period found locally. The house has two floors, as well as a garret and an underground wine cellar: the plan is tripartite, with a central passageway.
The southern façade has a portal leading to the noble floor adorned with a horizontal gable and decorated with a balcony with wrought iron parapet; two pinnacles on the roof enhance the central sector. These elements are absent on the northern façade, provided with a balcony with stone baluster and two chimneys. The facades conclude in a moulded cornice.
The house bears notable architectural resemblance to the nearby Palace Monti, and together they embrace the parish church.
The history of the chapel of St. Maria of the Rosary of Paolino, which goes hand-in-hand with that of Villa Corner, now known as Bellettato, was already present in 1552, when Count Marcantonio Cornaro lived in the villa and possessed, amongst his property, a private chapel. The complex is situated near the river Canalbianco, to the extreme south of Fratta Polesine, and represents the building efforts by the Corner family along the Canalbianco completed by a second “Cà Cornera” in Zaffarda, “La Palazzina” in Cà Moro di S.Bellino and, in Canda, Villa “Nani Mocenigo”.
Religious services at the villa chapel can be dated as far back as 1765 with a permanent priest, maintained by the Corner nobles.
In 1842, it changed ownership, passing to the Crestani and from them to the brothers Tasso, under whom it underwent a period of neglect. Only with a new owner Leopoldo Maragno in 1885, did worship at the B.V. of the Rosary return, to the spiritual benefit of the inhabitants. The children, in 1956, donated the chapel to the Bishop of Adria and Rovigo for a new Parish church which is to be built.
Mulino “al Pizzon”
The point of confluence between the river Scortico and the Canalbianco in Pizzon di Fratta, it is a very unusual place from the point of view of landscape, agricultural architecture and industrial archaeology.
Two important examples of industrial archaeology are found here: the first is a large mill (mulinon), the only one driven by water in the completely flat Polesine plain, exploiting the difference in levels between the Scortico and the Canalbianco.
The Mulinon, registered in the Austrian Land Registry of 1841, was probably built in the 18th century.
It worked until 1962 and still preserves its imposing machinery intact.
The second is a lock, supported by Vincian doors with windows that still exist. These locks are testimony to one of the first waterways in Polesine, set up during the mid-19th century and along which industrial transport retraced the waterways once travelled along by Venetian nobles such as Badoer and Grimani Molin during the 16th century to reach their villas in Fratta.
Giacomo Matteotti House
In the years between the two world wars, a brave citizen of Fratta dared to fight the arrival of a new dominator, paying with his life for the love of justice and freedom: Giacomo Matteotti (1885-1924). A law graduate, Matteotti was active in the Socialist Party: intelligent, zealous and passionate in supporting the rights of the humble classes, he was elected Deputy in the Collegio di Ferrara. For having denounced the electoral plots that carried the Fascist party to power, Matteotti was killed in a vile and ferocious manner on 10th June 1924 and he now rests in a simple mausoleum in the cemetery of Fratta. This building, probably 18th-cen-tury, seems to have undergone alterations and additions during 1933.
The villa will be soon be restored by Comune of Fratta Polesine and Accademia of Concordi – Rovigo.