Conceived as a magnificent open-air stage, arranged along a path that is either enigmatic or playful, this garden contains the oldest labyrinth in the Veneto region, numerous sculptures, mysterious inscriptions and surprise water fountains.

As we see it today, the Garden of Valsanzibio is the product of a long-term strategy pursued by the Barbarigo family of Venice to increase its prestige, starting with Gianfrancesco and consolidated by his sons Antonio, Procurator of San Marco, and Gregorio, who became a bishop and then a cardinal. Created in the second half of the 17th century, Antonio was responsible for the main imprint, followed by the influence of Gregorio’s strongly ascetic personality. Nestling in an amphitheatre of hills, the garden space is characterized by two cruciform axes that run between magnificent, tall walls of expertly-pruned boxwood. A long, central perspective frames the villa to the north, continuing on to the mountain behind; to the south, it extends to the opposite hill. Running perpendicular to the main boulevard, a spectacular scenic waterway forms the garden’s east-west axis. Three large fishponds interspersed with fountains issue out of the Baths of Diana, which was formerly accessible by boat via rivers and canals. Important elements from the garden’s original layout – a statue of Time, the labyrinth of old boxwoods, and the surprising “Rabbit Island” – have survived in the squares situated at the intersections of the garden’s avenues. In front of the villa, which is accessed via a staircase flanked by water features, is a garden-terrace with statues arranged around what is known as the “Mushroom Fountain”. Today’s garden is the culmination of changes made in the 19th century, when the Martinengo family took over the property, reshaping the gardens to the landscape fashions of their day. The property has been in the Pizzoni Ardemani family since 1929. Count Fabio is responsible for the remarkable restoration that has restored this valuable complex to its former glory.