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The allure of past history that remains very present

If these walls could speak, what would they tell us? We asked the question and decided to explore the past, to discover everything that’s happened here over the centuries. The villa apparently dates back to the Middle Ages, because it has the typical structure of buildings of that period: there are traces of its defensive role, alongside wells and ovens, used to feed a large number of people.
The original layout was subsequently covered with many layers of restoration work, such as that of the 17th century, when the Marinelli family refurbished the interior and built a small church, with contributions from some of Verona’s top artists. The family also restored their other properties in Piovezzano and Ca’ dei Frati, located within the estate. The villa was used for agricultural production and also as a summer residence, following the customs of the Carminati family, who had owned it since 1679.
The years rushed by, and the villa changed hands several times: first the Cogozzi family and then the Redemptorist congregation, which used it as a spiritual and meditation retreat centre. The early 20th century saw the arrival of the Ronzetti family, who began a new restoration of the manor house and decorated the small northern house in the Liberty style.
Today the villa belongs to the Padovani family and is part of the Dimore Storiche Italiane / Veneto Villas circuit. Under the courtyard we discovered a spring of thermal water with unique characteristics, which now feeds the indoor and outdoor pools. Understanding the history of this country villa was essential in tracing the wonderful, teeming life that has passed through it.

What wouldn't we do for a church

Inside the courtyard there is even a small church, with a fascinating history. You should know that in 1778 the Marinelli family – who owned the villa at the time – began the building, for use as a private place of worship. Several years later, the Marinelli brothers decided to make the church available for public worship, opening its doors to the local people so that they could attend Mass. But first they needed the approval of both the Doge and the bishop, in order to meet the bureaucratic requirements, which were just as complex and muddled then as they are today.

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A glance at the documents in the historic archives of the diocese of Verona reveals that at the time of their application to Doge Manin, the Marinelli brothers pretended that the building work had not yet started. It was their only way of obtaining permission, which was duly granted on 13 September 1794. At this point, they also needed the blessing of the bishop, and this raises a smile, because it concerns the most likeable anecdote of the entire episode.
On 20 September the Marinelli brothers asked the bishop’s permission to erect a public place of worship. The parish priest of Piovezzano, Don Squarzoni, was promptly sent to inspect the site, and he pretended not to have seen the already-built church, but stated that he had found a “decent and suitable” place for the building.
Having obtained the bishop’s permission, the final charade was committed: the priest declared he had blessed the laying of the first stone on 24 September, and found the church completed on 2 October, just a few days layer! Bureaucracy was satisfied, the church was open for business and the local people began attending.
We intend to continue enriching it every day, continuing its glorious past with an eye on the future.
Remo Padovani

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