If you ever happen to be near the province of Udine you must pay a visit to “Villa Manin” which is situated in Passariano, a village very close to where I grew up. Here you can find a majestic large villa immersed in the countryside with a beautiful park at the back.
Villa Manin used to belong in the 17th century to the last doge of Venice Ludovico Manin who reigned between the 1789 and 1798 and bought it as a country house. The family was very powerful at the time. These days this is one of the most important artistic and cultural monuments in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
Napoleon Bonaparte and the French troops stayed here in 1797 during the Italian campaign and made a decision which affected the all of Europe. It was here that negotiations were made which eventually culminated with the “Treaty of Campoformido” (October 17, 1797) and marked the end of the Republic of Venice to the benefit of the Hapsburg Empire.
Following the Treaty the Manin dynasty rapidly declined and the villa deteriorated due to the gradual loss of the family fortune. Then it was bought by the Board of Venetian Villas and then in 1969 sold to the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia which currently still owns it.
Like many of these large houses and villas these days they are just too expensive to keep and often the region or the state has to step in and buy them to avoid their decline. Inside the villa there are often art exhibitions to attract tourists and visitors which help with the costs of maintaining the building.
There are many frescoes in the rooms like the Triumph of Spring in the central round panel and mythological scenes on a monochrome background on the walls painted by Louis Dorigny (1654-1742), one of the most widely sought-after painters of the time and beautiful grand chandeliers on the ground floor made of Murano glass.
The villa also has a Baroque style Chapel and a museum where you can admire Coaches and the Armory which has a collection of weapons and armour from different parts of the world.