Over 500 years of history

A jewel at the foot of the Berici Hills

A complex story that makes the interpretation of the origins hard. Villa Barbaran was built between the middle and the end of the 16th century, when the property was owned by Giovanni Battista Bonfi. In 1665 the building became property of the Rutili family and in 1805 the villa passed to the nobles Libertino and Nicolò Barbaran. Today the villa belongs to the Grassi family.

An intricate enigma: the construction phases

Vicenza stone is the undisputed protagonist of a complicated building

The history of Villa Barbaran is quite intricate and in some cases unknown. The Nanto stone is however among the few certainties, an element that distinguishes and characterizes the building.

The construction complexity of the site arouses the curiosity of industry professionals; Professor Romeo Ballardini dedicated academic research to it, involving numerous students.
A survey in developed ten phases hypothesizes the existence of the building before the Gothic era, during the first decades of the twelfth century. 

The 1500 is however the century in which Villa underwent the greatest transformation, arriving at the present figurative structure. In those same years the villa must have undergone formal adaptations and good level figurative renovations, but they are not linked to each other by a common project.

In the following centuries the villa was used as a residence and in the 1900s it was divided into several residential units.

Phase 1. This is the time preceding the Gothic characters, in which the study highlighted the presence of a tower developed on three levels and a single-story body, combined with a semi-open volume, leading to a canopy.
Phase 2. During the Gothic period the intermediate room was built, developed on a single level and partially open to connect the two terminal bodies. Another intervention ascribable to this period is also the raising of the south block.
Phase 3. The raising of the canopy and the construction of a new volume to the south-east is dated at the end of the 15th century.
Phase 4 e 5. In the 16th century a new building was built connecting the new volume with the north tower. In the following years, while the volumetric system remained unchanged, the visual impact changed with the opening of four new windows on the south front.
Phases 6, 7 e 8. In the second half of the 16th century the most important transformation takes place and gives the villa a new formal and figurative order. At first the north tower is covered with a single pitched roof and the wall along the front street is rebuilt. Subsequently, the new porticoed body is built, leaning against the previous eastern front and the frescos are painted. Finally, the body of the stairwell is raised up and, in its correspondence on the north front of the courtyard, a symmetrical volume is set.
Phase 9. Probably following a collapse, the south tower is lowered and covered by a single pitch.
Phase 10.The coverage of the west front becomes uniform along all the building.

The added value of Villa Barbaran: the frescos

The works of Domenico Brusasorci

In the second half of the 16th century, the interior of Villa Barbaran was embellished with frescos by the Veronese painter Domenico Brusasorci. 
Paintings of exquisite workmanship, of pagan subjects (Venus and the cupids) that make the building representative. “Puttini”, little angels, mythological and figurative scenes and landscapes decorate the walls of the rooms, in particular on the first floor.

Grassi Pietre

Via Madonetta, 2 
36024 Nanto (Vicenza) – Italy
Tel. +39.0444.639092
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