Villa Valmarana ai Nani is a magnificent stately home which has huge architectural, historical and artistic significance.
It is composed by three buildings: the Palazzina (1669, in English: Little Palace), the Foresteria (1720, in English: Guesthouse) and the Scuderia (1720, in English: Stable).
The Palazzina and the Foresteria were frescoed by Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, father and son, renowned Venetian painters. This Villa's frescoes are considered the best proof of their ingenuity, as well as the highest expression of the 18th century Italian painting.
Villa Valmarana's buildings are encircled by several green spaces, designed for different purposes and needs: an Italian garden with well and dovecote, a pathway under hornbeam tunnels, a pagoda in the woods.
There are 17 stone dwarfs placed on the boundary wall. The Villa's name is after those statues: in fact, the Italian word for dwarf is nano (plural: nani).
Formerly, those sculptures were scattered around the garden. They represent traditional characters belonging to the Commedia dell'Arte (an ancient form of theatrical comedy) or to the puppet theatre: the King, the Soldier, the Doctor, the Cavalier, the Turk, the Guardian of the Menagerie, etcetera).
The dwarfs are also linked to the legend of Layana, a dwarf princess who was segregated by her parents because of her deformity: a moving tale which deserves to be discovered and told.
It is believed that the author of the dwarfs was Francesco Uliaco, inspired by Giandomenico Tiepolo (to whom are also attributed the preparatory drawings).
The Villa was purchased by Giustino Valmarana in 1715 and nowadays the Valmarana family still lives in the Villa.