“Coltivar la terra e lassar star el mar o coltivar el mar e lassar star la terra” Raffaele Caresini Cancellier Grande
About 500 years ago, in the twilight of the period we call the Renaissance, there began to appear near the coast of the Northern Adriatic around the present city of Venice, a group of country houses unlike any homes ever seen before. Venice was not just a city. It was the center of a vast empire with military and commercial enclaves all around the Adriatic and Eastern Mediterranean. Venice’s power came from the great East-Western trade routes and originally was entirely a sea power. The mighty Venice had no land at all on the Italian mainland until the mid-14th century. But dramatic events had set in motion a land rush for the vast undeveloped areas of the European mainland west of Venice. The Ottoman Turks in 1453 captured Constantinople. In 1492 the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus discovered the Western World. In 1497 Vasco de Gama of Portugal demonstrated a new sea route to Asia by sailing around the southern tip of Africa. Fortunately, peace had broken out on the mainland and had the security necessary for large scale agriculture and for transporting those harvest to the population centers. There was a new crop to plant – corn from the New World which arrives through the BOTANICAL GARDEN of Padua, the first one founded in Europe. There was a class of entrepreneurs (first the Emo-Capodilista family) with the capital to clear the fields, drain the swamps, organize the farm centers. They had amassed their fortune in foreign trade, in shipping, and – surprisingly for a sea-going class – in agriculture. Villas areas were from Venice in the direction of TREVISO along the Terraglio and from Venice in the direction of PADUA along the Brenta Canal. They were all within a radius of about 50 miles, and they were all the work of a single architect: Andrea Palladio an architect who stunned the European world as he revolutionized Western architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries and it remains a major influence throughout the world even today. It is possible to combine every kind of itineraries with Villas in each Province of Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, Verona and Venice and I like to suggest itineraries with Villas and Walled Towns.