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Leone di Venezia
Driving around Portogruaro, my cousin Daniela mentioned coming across the entry to Villa Bombarda who’s gates were guarded by a pair of very impressive copper winged lions of S. Marco. Learning that the Villa was built around 1661 by the Venetian noble Giulio Giustianin and his brother, it made sense they wanted to show their noble fealty to Venice.
We found the entry on a curved section of road just outside the burgh of Porto Vecchio. The gate was impressive and on that day open. My cousin and I needed only to look at each other and smile at our good fortune to proceed through the gates.
The villa is part of the large forested park with a cool arbored gravel road leading to the villa complex. The further we drove the further we went back in time to the late 17th century. Rounding a corner we could see an opening ahead revealing some of the outbuildings along the Fiume Lemene. The first being the mill on the bank of the river. A swan peacefully floating by. The front of the villa is a long stuccoed two story façad leading to the Cappella christened Oratorio dell’Addolorata.
The owner approached us, wiping his hands, on a rag with a questioning look and a colloquial greeting of “Bon di”. After explaining our interest in seeing the villa and taking photographs of it and the grounds, he asked if we wanted to buy it. A nervous chuckle passed between my cousin and I but he gave us permission to wander wherever we wanted. We stayed an hour or so and saying our good-byes he said he’d take any reasonable offer.
To this day I wonder how much it would have cost us to buy the villa and it’s forest… but dreaming costs much less.
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