Friuli’s Largest Palazzo
The largest palazzo in Italy’s Friuli–Venezia Giulia region, Villa Manin stands along a stretch of highway near the town of Codroipo. Set amid cornfields and vineyards, the villa was originally the summer residence of Ludovico Manin, the last doge of Venice. During the 1797 signing of the Treaty of Campoformido, which ceded much of northern Italy to Austria, this palace was briefly home to Napoleon Bonaparte, whose diminutive bed is on display in the Napoleon Room. In contrast to its interior décor, painted in typical 17th-century trompe l’oeil, Villa Manin is currently used for rotating exhibitions of contemporary art. To complement the villa’s monolithic dimensions, the vast courtyard was modeled after Rome’s Piazza San Pietro, with a semicircular colonnade at the opposite end. To the rear of the villa lie forty-seven acres of gardens, complete with mythological statues, fountains, and fishponds.
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