Villa Pagani Gaggia

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Villa Pagani Gaggia stands on a ridge sloping down towards the Piave River, in Socchieva. It’s right on the border between the municipalities of Belluno and Sedico.
Built in 1600 by the Pagani family, it was redesigned and enlarged in 1789 by the French Alexandre Poiteau le Terrier, and architect and a gardener who had worked in Versailles and in Fontainebleau, who built a porticoed wing and the chapel. In the 198-acre open space, he created a splendid example of a French-style park, inserted an avenue of hornbeams leading to the villa, as well as “tunnels” of hornbeams facing the countryside. Lakes, bridges and a maze of hedges were added as well.

After some serious damage during the infamous rout of Caporetto (1917/8), the villa was renovated between 1924 and 1939 by the senator and engineer Achille Gaggia – the new owner. He preserved the pre-existing garden, but added caves, statues, balustrades and a theatre; he also had several landscape elements added, in order to ideally link the building to the agricultural countryside.

Between the two World Wars, the villa hosted the British Deputy Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden and King Fuad I of Egypt. On 19 July 1943, the “Meeting of Feltre” (so-called because it was originally scheduled in that city) between Hitler and Mussolini (a few days before the latter’s arrest) took place right here.

Today, the villa with its linear facade, two three-mullioned windows above the entrance door, and roof closed with a high tympanum features a main body, and a service wing with a portico and a chapel next to the rustic one. The latter consists of a long portico surmounted by a floor built on ashlar pillars.

The current owners, the Gaggias, have restored the original interiors, enriching them with furnishings and works of art.

The garden is one of the largest and most complex parks in Veneto. Natural areas rich in vegetation are interspersed with turrets, rock formations and stairways. The most common tree is the hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), used in pruned hedges, in the labyrinth, and in the galleries.
There are also many centuries-old trees, including an empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa) in the courtyard in front of the villa, and a tall red beech (Fagus sylvatica “Purpurea”) which stands alone in a large lawn: one of the monumental arboreal specimens in the province of Belluno.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Via San Fermo - località Socchieva (BL)(BL)

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