This is an excerpt from the book “Venice to Milan“
This is the continuation of itinerary: Cities and Courts in the Po Valley Part 1 from Milan to Venice
At least two days should be spent in Venice
We still have to visit the islands of Murano, Burano and most of all, Torcello, the most enchanting spot in the Lagoon.
Leaving Venice by the Padua road and passing through Mestre (5 miles), we will not take the Autostrada, but rather the National Highway no. 11, which runs along the banks of the Brenta. Here the great Venetian families built their famous country villas which, taken as a body, constitute the most important example of residential architecture in existence.
We can neither describe nor list them. They follow one another in uninterrupted succession, all more or less celebrated, up to the outskirts of Padua. Most worthy of being seen is the Villa Foscari (known as the Malcontenta), in a romantic and secluded position on the road to Fusina.
From here we return to the main road for Padua: the astonishing series of villas, built over a span of 300 years, goes on, through the towns of Cringe, Mira, and Dean: at Stra is the celebrated Villa Pisani (1756), now belonging to the State, with its magnificent park, its maze, and its sumptuous interior, where many crowned heads have stayed, including Napoleon.
Particularly noteworthy is the glowing fresco painted by Tiepolo at the age of 66 on the ceiling of the reception-hall. Passing by still other villas, through Noventa Padovana, we reach 17 miles from Mestre the city of Padua, well worth one day of visit.
Leaving Padua, we take the road to Monselice, and 27 miles from Padua we reach the city of ROVIGO.
ROVIGO: Founded in about the 9th century, it was subsequently a possession of the Este family and then of Venice. We enter it by Viale Porta Adige and then, taking Viale Trieste, we come to the late 16th century Rotonda or Church of the Madonna del Soc corso, containing 17th century paintings. We then make for Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, a handsome Venetian square where we will find the Palazzo Roncale (1555), designed by Sammicheli, and the neo-classical palace of the Accademia dei Concordi, with an excellent collection of paintings (works by G. Bellini, Carpioni, Pittoni. Piazzetta, Longhi, Tiepolo, Holbein the Elder, Tintoretto). The Picture Gallery of the Episcopal Seminary is important with fine works esp. of the 18th century.
From Rovigo, after a 23 mile drive over the plain of the Po Delta, we reach the Po, at Pontelagoscuro, and then immediately enter FERRARA, well worth one day visit.
In the afternoon of the twelfth day of our trip, we leave Ferrara by the Porta Reno and take the State Highway SS 64 which 30 miles further on brings us to BOLOGNA.
At least half a day should be dedicated to Bologna.
Leaving Bologna by Porta Sam Felice, we follow the Via Emilia for some 23 miles until we reach MODENA.
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