Stories by run – Oriago and Villa Foscari la Malcontenta
Stories by Run_Villa Foscari la Malcontenta

Running the 32nd Venicemarathon on 22nd October means seeing a one of a kind race course sprinkled with historic dwelling  like Villa Foscari la Malcontenta

Villa Pisani emphasises the union between Venice and its mainland, both from historical and artistic point of view. From here, in fact, starts the famous and beautiful Riviera del Brenta, pearl of the Venetian province. The road flanks the Brenta river in a landscape of sublime harmony between nature and architecture that is reflected in the waters of the river.

After the towns of Stra, Fiesso d’Artico, Dolo and Mira, you will reach Oriago, where houses, churches and ancient aristocratic palaces will be the framework of the marathon. The runners will soon be in front of Villa Foscari, which majestically overlooking the river. Nicolò and Alvise Foscari, members of one of the most prestigious families in Venice, entrusted the project to the famous architect Andrea Palladio and so it was built in 1550.

In the villa there are many details belonging both to the Venetian tradition and the ancient architecture: as in Venice, the main side of the building faces the water, but the Ionian pronaos and the large staircases descended from the style of ancient classical temples. The majestic twin access ramps were a sort of ceremonial path for the visitors: after their arrival in front of the villa, there was the owner waiting for them at the center of the pronaos.

The Villa is also called “La Malcontenta”: it seems that the nickname derives from the story of its unhappy owner, a lady belonging to the Foscari family, relegated solely among those walls to pay the penalty for her licentious conduct. Another hypotheses is that the Villa was called in that way because in that place the flow of the river has a different trend, which causes some problems in the regular stream of current and this is a known problem for centuries.

Already in 1368 the river had been diverted, but it continued to break the banks. In 1444 it was dug a pit which it was supposed to serve as lightening, but this didn’t yield the hoped results, so in that point the current was renamed the “male contempta” which derives from the Latin and it means something that can not be controlled.

We almost reached the end of the Riviera del Brenta and the race course continues towards the city of Mestre.

Discover more about Venetian architecture by booking one of our guided running tours.

*Stories by run is a weekly column written by Venice by Run for the VMC – Venice Marathon Club events magazine.

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Giulia Abbruzzese