Subject: Venetian Villas
Hi everybody

I've spent last weekend along the Brenta river, flowing from Padova (Padua) to Venice, where the most important and richest families of Venice built, as from 17th century, their own country mansions. The word villa is the root of the old Italian word for holiday, villeggiatura. These villas face the river, which was the main travel route then, and have beautiful gardens on the rear. Some of them have side buildings used by servants or as depots or guesthouse, called barchesse because their original purpose was the storage of boats, as nightly mooring on the river was forbidden. The most famous villa is Villa Foscari, named La Malcontenta, designed by Palladio, but if you follow the river you discover many more. Since most of them are private and some have still living-in owners, they can't be visited; this year, April to June and September to October, about ten usually closed villas were open to public on Saturday and Sunday. The ticket price goes from 8,000 to 15,000 lire (4-7 USD) per person and is inclusive of the guided tour, scheduled every hour and leaded by eager and well informed student girls. We had the chance to see huge frescoed halls, secret gardens, little chapels and antiquities; sometimes it was just the two of us and the guide and therefore the pleasure was doubled. If anyone of you is interested, the opening is scheduled throughout October and I'll be happy to give some suggestions. One last thing: we had lunch in Dolo at Trattoria alla Posta, on the main road along the river, and we were delighted by the seafood choice, especially the risotto. This restaurant isn't listed in any of my guides but it's worth some good rating.

Ciao from Trieste (drowned by the rain)