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Exploring the Breathtaking Historic Villas of Italy's Veneto

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Next to Tuscany and Umbria, Italy's Veneto region—aside from its famous capital of Venice—doesn't seem to receive much attention from foreign tourists and property investors, but holds some of the country's most impressive real estate. Set on 17 gated acres, this Palladian villa dates to 1764, but has been expanded and altered over the years. In the late 18th century, artists Paolo Guidolini and Giacomo Ciesa painted the frescos that grace the ceilings and walls of the great hall. The grand front facade is defined by an Ionic colonnade and five 18th-century statues, and flanked by a series of brick stables built by a "an important Venetian family" in the 19th century. Ringed by vineyards, the house has 12 spacious rooms, two staff apartments, but only two bathrooms, according to the listing.

? Just outside of Verona—the city where Shakespeare set Romeo & Juliet—lies this historic compound, centered around an elegant 16th-century villa. The 21,000-square-foot main house includes 12 bedrooms, all with en-suite baths, while the barchessa houses all the amenities. There are many: conference room, pond, tennis court, basketball court, soccer field, sauna, gym, and an eye-popping historic indoor pool, beneath arched brickwork. With colonnades, doors with pediments, crumbling ruins, and fountains, this 20-acre property has everything to please the historic home aficionado.

? Also on the outskirts of Verona, this imposing villa lies amid an acre of lush gardens. The imposing structure dates to the 16th century and houses 14 rooms, four of which are bedrooms. Compared to some of the other regal architecture in the Veneto, the rooms here are slightly closer to human scale, but don't lack for extravagant historic detail, like coffered ceilings, tile flooring, and a front facade with no fewer than 20 windows.

? At the heart of a small vineyard in the vicinity of Bassano, this 17th-century spread looks a bit dilapidated on first glance, but the worn exterior hides a thoughtfully renovated interior. More casually detailed than the others on this list, the sprawling 25,000-square-foot mansion houses 11 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and two kitchens. Currently operated as a bed & breakfast, the villa would also make a luxurious yet understated private vacation getaway.

? A ring-shaped collection of structures that totals a whopping 150,000-square-feet, this compound is otherwise unremarkable, save for one key historical conjecture. According to the listing, famed ladies man Giacomo Casanova lived here back in 1779. It also once "belonged to a powerful and famous family during the Republic of Venice." Today it is in a state of limbo, having been partially renovated by architects who had planned on installing some 70 apartments, a restaurant, a meeting facility, and a 24-room hotel, but who "suspended" work somewhere along the way.

· Villa in Vicenza [Lionard]
· Renaissaince villa in Veneto [Lionard]
· Veneto hills [Lionard]
· Veneto plain [Lionard]
· Casanova [Lionard]