Dr. Birgit Stegbauer
Italy is always worth an excursion. Certainly it is the case with Villa Manin at Passariano in the province of Udine. The villa can be reached within one and a half hours from Villach. It is one of Friuli's most popular destinations and of historical as well as of architectural importance.
The Manin were a noble family who's members have served the Republic of Venice over centuries. One member of the family even got elected the Republic's highest representative and became Doge. That was Ludovico Manin in 1789. His Dogeship fell under a time of radical political change in Europe: The French Revolution was just about to start. Napoleon gained power and did totally restructure the maps of Europe. In 1797 Doge Ludovico Manin was forced to resign from office and suspend the Republic of Venice whose former territories were incorporated to the (austrian) Habsburg Empire. It was just then when Napoleon chose Villa Manin as accommodation for the negotiation with the Austrians.
"Villa Manin is too big for a count and too small for a king" is a statement due to its part-time resident Napoleon. Indeed Villa Manin is far more than your average summer residence of a rich family from the first half of the 18th century at the venetian Terraferma. This villa was a demonstration of the owners grandeur and power, it was highly representative. Though the manor house is quite a unostentatious building, it's monumental look derives from the artful arrangement of the adjoining buildings. These form two front courts, something that is so typical for baroque palaces. The villa's garden has changed over the centuries from a french garden to a park. Villa and park are open to the public thanks to the Autonomous Region Friuli Venizia Giulia, who owns the ensemble since 1969.
What makes a visit to the villa a real attraction is its harmonious balance between architecture, art and nature: Have a look at the villa's architecture, visit its richly decorated baroque chapel, see the coach and armor collection in the villa's right wing. Explore the park which you enter through the main house. Take some refreshments at the Caffe Ristorante Del Doge at the villa's left wing.
In Villa Manin different kinds of special exhibitons take place from time to time.
It's good to know about Villa Manin:
English and italian information about Villa Manin, the special exhibition, tickets, guides and getting there:
9 am to 6 pm, Sat and Sun 9 to 7 pm
Audio Guide, italian and german - sorry, no english! (6,50 EUR),
Kid's audio guide in italian (4 EUR)
Park's entrance fee: 1 EUR/person
This is how to find Villa Manin with the GPS (Garmin):
Manin, 33033 Passariano, Italy
Caffe Ristorante del Doge open daily excl. Monday