Hidden treasures

Ovid's Metamorphoses in the frescoes of the Villa Foscari 'La Malcontenta'

Unknown places & works
Metamorfosi_Ovidio

Ovid's Metamorphoses in the frescoes of the Villa Foscari 'La Malcontenta'

Along the River Brenta, a few kilometres from Venice, there are beautiful villas once belonging to Venetian nobles. One of the most famous is Villa Foscari, known as 'La Malcontenta', because a noblewoman of the Foscari family was imprisoned there, due to her constant betrayals.

The entire Main room of the villa is decorated with a fresco cycle mostly inspired by Ovid's 'Metamorphoses', the famous poem in which the Latin poet, who lived at the court of Emperor Augustus, tells of several myths in which one of the protagonists turns into something. The work was rediscovered in the second half of the 1500s and became a bestseller, probably for the subtly erotic stories.

The frescoes of Villa Foscari were made by the painter Battista Franco known as Semolei and, following his death in 1561, they were continued by Giambattista Zelotti. Unfortunately, during the 1800s these splendid frescoes suffered severe damage due to the white coats of paint that were applied to escape the taxes that the Kingdom of Italy imposed on valuable properties. Most of them were removed with the detachment technique and only in 1920s they were rediscovered and partly recovered.

This beautiful villa is included in our charming private itinerary of the Villas of Brenta. It is a day trip with a guide to discover the most beautiful mansions of the River Brenta: Villa Foscari, Villa Widmann and Villa Pisani. The convenient start of the tour from Venice makes it an ideal solution for those who wish to enrich their holiday in Venice with other famous attractions located near the historic centre!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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