One of the most charatteristically Venetian itineraries in the mainland is, beyond a doubt,  the Riviera del Brenta. It is a good way of putting Venice in its historical perspective – showing it is to be more than a unique city which rose up from the lagoon as if by magic –  of seeing the landscape which influenced Venetian culture, and the places where residents of the Serenissima liked to spend idle summers. All this can be appreciated by travelling along the banks of the River Brenta, where the Venetians used to build their holiday villas and palaces.
You first stop at Oriago to look at the villa Malcontenta, the work of Andrea Palladio. During winter closure, Villa could be visited – if possible – only for booked groups of minimum 30 people. At Mira Porte, Villa Foscari-Widman stands on the north bank of the river, and  then you find Barchessa Valmarana. An important monument is Villa Contarini detta dei Leoni, with its two marzocchi (lions bearing the shield) at the riverside entrance. Strà is the seat of the Villa Pisani National Museum in a park of 14 hectares, with splendid works of art, as Gianbattista Tiepolo’s masterpiece, The Glory of the Pisani family, a fresco on the ceiling of the ballroom. In Strà there is another Villa Pisani, known as La Barbariga, a 18th century villa with an English-style garden.