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Itinerary of Noventa di Piave. Traces of the past

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Here, as elsewhere, Venice was keen to make its presence felt. Virtually all the land was bought up by numerous aristocratic families who, as was the custom, built fine villas on their property, attracted by the fertile soil, the lovely countryside and, above all the convenient river link with Venice.
Tragically, Noventa was reduced to a heap of rubble in World War I after troops retreated from the front at Caporetto. Local people disregarded advice against rebuilding the town.
Undeterred by the hazards presented by the nearby Piave, and overcoming the general problems caused by the decline of transport and the extraction of gravel from the riverbed, they pieced together the modern Noventa in just a few years.

Despite the trials it suffered over the centuries, culminating in the destruction wreaked by World War I.
Noventa is a buoyant little town where, happily, several traces of an old art heritage are still in evidence alongside the new.
A number of fine Venetian villas are still standing, including the Villa Bortolussi (18th century), which has a simple, elegant façade.

 

We particularly advise you to visit the 19th century Villa Ca' Zorzi, where the celebrated poet and essayist Giacomo Ca' Zorzi (known under the pseudonym of Giacomo Noventa) was born. Critically, acclaimed for his originality and intrinsically Italian (and specifically Veneto) turn of phrase, the writer lived and died in Milan.
Although the church of San Mauro was destroyed, a lovely statue of the Virgin Mary by Giovan Battista Marchiori (1696-1776) was salvaged, along with two important works, an icon of the Madonna and an exquisite processional cross.
The icon is certainly 15th century, although there are conflicting views as to its origin: ascribed by some to the school of Bellini, others believe it was made in the Orient.

The processional cross, blending Gothic and Veneto-Byzantine styles, is either 12th or 13th century, and is unanimously regarded as a masterpiece of goldsmithery and one of the Veneto's most priceless treasures.

These two works of art may now be found in the Parish Church, beside which stands a tall, tapering campanile.
As mentioned earlier, mosaic paving bearing decorative motifs has been found, together with fragments of frescowork.
It is to be hoped that these will soon be on show in a small museum. At Romanziol don't forget to visit the Villa Da Mula, where a fine statue of St. Antony is kept in the chapel.
Initially ascribed to Giovan Battista Mosca, it is now believed to be the work of a late 17th century Veneto sculptor.

Lastly, you will find an interesting stucco composition, portraying our Lady and St. John at the foot of the Cross (18th century school) in the Chapel of Ca' Memo.

Sad though it is thet the bulk of Noventa's artistic and cultural heritage has been lost, it is still rewarding to wander through the bustling little town, where the local people's powerful ties with their roots have generated new life and industry.

Credits and Bibliography: Text extracted from the brochure 'Itinerari della Provincia di Venezia' - 'Turismo Veneto' Edition

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