During the 19th century, the sumptuous garden of a powerful Doge family was turned into a vast landscaped park: the grandeur and magnificence of the past reflects in the vastness of a once-private property, now managed by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, open to the public and home to a variety of events.

Delimited by a high mixtilinear wall, the garden that the prominent Manin family from Venice created for themselves as a way of complementing their majestic residence, today displays varied late-romantic layout. The earliest garden plan, attributed to a French architect of the School of Le Nôtre, dates back to the second decade of the 18th century: the layout was inspired by the Gardens of Versailles and by those of Villa Pisani in Stra, the most splendid Doge residence in the Veneto Region. Over the course of the 18th century, the northern part, delimited by Rococo-style mixtilinear walls, saw various additions including complex hydraulic water features and a considerable statue collection. Visited by illustrious personalities (Maria Amalia of Saxony, Carlo Goldoni, etc.) and backdrop to important political events such as the appointment of Lodovico IV as Doge (1789) and the French occupations (in 1797 the villa became Napoleon’s headquarters in Friuli), Villa Manin’s garden suffered a period of considerable deterioration during the 19th century: in the early 1800s it underwent interventions of formal simplification designed by Giannantonio Selva (the architect responsible for Teatro La Fenice in Venice), while in the 19th century Friulian engineer Pietro Quaglia redesigned the park according to the then-predominating romantic-patriotic trends: the result was the landscape layout still in place today, despite the loss of some of its features. In the 1960s the complex, which had by then became public property, was subject to a greening intervention: numerous plant species were planted, not always harmonising with the pre-existing vegetation. The large tree-lined avenue to the north, set outside the enclosure, is a symbolic representation of the once great power of the Manin family. The same sense of grandeur and influence, attested by historical records and literary sources, also translates in the 18-hectare green area, the earliest example of historical garden in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region.