An easy detour from Vicenza and just minutes from Villa Capra, Villa Valmarana ai Nani is a striking example of a Venetian villa, perched on the slopes of San Bastian hill, looking out over the Valletta del Silenzio (Valley of Silence). Still inhabited by its aristocratic namesake, the Valmarana family, Villa Valmarana takes its suffix ‘ai Nani’ or ‘the Dwarves’ from the 17 stone sculptures that adorn its wall – a homage to the dwarf princess who once lived in the villa, if you believe the legend.
The villa is also open to the public and visitors can stroll the idyllic gardens and peek inside the Palazzina (the main residence), the Foresteria (the guest residence) and the Scuderia (the stables). The highlight of a visit is admiring the magnificent frescoes, painted in the 18th century by the Tiepolos and celebrated as some of their finest work.
Villa Valmarana ai Nani is located around 2km south of Vicenza and opening hours are: Tues-Fri 10am-12.30pm and 3-6pm, and Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Adult admission is €10.