The villa is famous not only because the last Doge of Venice, Ludovico Manin, lived there, but also because Napoleon Bonaparte stayed there for more than two months. His stay ended in 1797 with the signing of the Campoformido Treaty, the agreement between Austria and France that changed the destiny and the borders of Europe.
Count Antonio Manin wanted the complex to be constructed not only as a sign of his wealth but also to show his loyalty to the Serenissima Repubblica of Venice.
Originally from Florence, the Counts Manin fled from the conflicts between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and settled in the Friulan countryside. They began constructing the villa between 1650 and 1660. The entire complex harks back to the architecture of Venice of that era: the central layout of the building close to the barchessa building, the Palladian-inspired exedra, the courtyard featuring a variety of materials and decorative elements.
The current appearance of the complex is the result of reconstruction work done on the villa during the eighteenth century. Inside it you can see splendid works of art like Ludovico Dorigny’s tondo. Two museum collections are open to the public: a valuable armoury and a collection of period carriages.
The park annexed to the villa is quite striking. Done in the French style, it features rare botanical species, small lakes and hills with mythological sculptures.
Over the years, the villa has been home to numerous events and exhibitions, both national and international, and now, thanks to a collaboration with important museums from around the world, it is an important hub for exhibits of contemporary art.