Hidden treasures

Napoleon in Villa Pisani in Stra and personal hygiene

Historical Curiosities

Napoleon in Villa Pisani in Stra and personal hygiene

Villa Pisani in Stra, on the Riviera of the River Brenta (Venice), is a jewel of art and architecture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Built by the rich and powerful Almorò and Alvise Pisani (elected doge in 1734) since 1720, it is certainly considered the queen of the Venetian Villas, due to the size of the building, its decor and its beautiful garden.

At the fall of the Venetian Republic, the Pisanis, burden by debt, sold it in 1807 to the conqueror, Napoleon Bonaparte, who gave it as a gift to his stepson Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy. Eugene, refined patron, commissioned a series of modernization works that changed the appearance of many halls of the mansion and the park.

Napoleon often stayed in the villa and you can still admire his room, with four-poster bed in Empire style. The next room is the bathroom, equipped with floor bath and taps, a real luxury for the time.

The Age of Enlightenment introduced improvements also in personal hygiene, especially in the upper classes. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the use of the bidet – an Italian invention, originally popular especially among the courtesans and, therefore, surrounded by an aura of sinfulness and immorality - was beginning to assert itself especially in France in a restricted social circle. It was not uncommon for great lovers to receive it as a gift. It was also used for clothes washing and perhaps even in contraceptive function.

But not everyone approved of the practice, which eliminated the natural scents. Napoleon himself exhorted his first wife, Josephine de Beauharnais, not to wash before their love encounters.

Villa Pisani is included in our charming private tour of the villas of the Brenta ... Convenient departing from Piazzale Roma in Venice, transfers by car or minivan and tour guide at your disposal for the whole day! Besides the wonderful Villa Pisani, the tour also includes a visit to Villa Foscari, known as La Malcontenta and Villa Widmann in Mira.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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