One of the things that will break your heart traveling around Italy is the fact that the country is so rich with history, art and architecture, that it seems nearly impossible to preserve it all, and some absolute treasures seem to be getting left behind. Case in point The Villa Trissino-Muttoni aka “Ca’ Impenta”.
I was traveling on the outskirts of Vicenza with a friend after a concert in search of “Panin Onto” (Dirty Panino), the region’s answer to Los Angeles’ Taco Trucks, when I spotted the top of a beautiful villa just off the road. My love of historic residential architecture had me immediately salivating and we pulled off the road to take a look.
Before us was a sight that took our breath away, a 15th century villa unlike any I had ever seen in the Veneto, that had some kind of “it” factor. I was in love. It was gorgeous. It was bold. It was elegant….. It was decaying.
The property was gated, the garden unkempt and through subsequent research I found that this privately owned villa is not even open to view by appointment. It sits silently waiting for time to have its way with her. The Frescos on the Façade that gave the villa its “Ca’ Impenta” (Painted House) nickname have long since faded. I wish there was more I could share, but there is not, and that is the point.
The good news is that when one thinks about time in relation to buildings in Italy, it can be done in centuries rather than days. The room I am writing this from is in a villa owned by the “new residents”, and they moved in before the United State declared independence from England. Like much of the world, Italy is currently facing a less than ideal economy and they are having to make a lot of tough decisions about financial priorities, but hopefully they will continue to preserve their amazing artistic heritage because it is something not just for Italians and not just for the people on the planet right now, but a treasure for all the world long after we are all dead and gone.
If a place like Villa Trissino-Muttoni was in the United States there would be entire books written about it, but despite its awesomeness and, in fact, being of some historical significance for the Veneto, there is almost nothing on the web about it. You can read a little bit about it here (use google translate if you do not speak Italian) http://associazioneartes.altervista.org/blog/villa-trissino-muttoni-detta-la-ca-impenta-la-gloria-e-loblio/
On the good news front, the Dirty Panino did not disappoint and we ate far more than we should have.
Location of Villa Trissino-Muttoni