Birthday Lunch at a Veneto Villa

October 23, 2016

We were celebrating a birthday with a trip to Treviso organized by a Trieste travel agency. It is a leisurely hour and half bus ride to Treviso. In the morning we thoroughly enjoyed strolling through Treviso with our guide Natalia who was passionate and knowledgeable about her city.

Then off to have lunch in a Palladian style Veneto villa just under 20 km from Treviso. The villa is on a small one way road so narrow that the driver had to drive past the villa a few kilometres to the small town of Arcade to find a place wide enough to turn around and then park the bus.

We entered the villa grounds through a set of gates that were a secondary entrance at one time. We found ourselves in a small but colorful courtyard. On one side of the courtyard is a three story 15th century building. It is painted a time worn brick-red color and you can just make out the geometric white and red stripes. Part of it now houses a pizzeria.

On the south east façade of the building there is an interesting sun dial (meridiana).   It is designed as three concentric circles. In the inner circle there are celestial symbols, stars, the moon and sun in a sky blue background. The next circle shows the signs of the horoscope and on the outside the 24 hours of the day are marked off. The coat of arms (stemma) of the counts of Della Zonca, with a reddish colored billy-goat in the centre, is also painted on this facade.

There are also two long “barchesse” in the courtyard painted a white with gold accenting the oval porticos.   These buildings would originally have been open stables.  Today the staff that manages the villa is housed in one of the “barchesse”.    The second “barchesse” is a B &B.

The central part of the villa was built in 1467 and was enlarged and renovated in 1722. It has been owned by the Della Zonca family since 1897. The villa was partially destroyed during the first world war and was rebuilt in 1919.

The villa is surrounded by a walled “Italianate” garden. We walked through the tranquil little garden and enjoyed the view out the front gate towards the mountains beyond.

Then we headed indoors to a long room warmed by a crackling fireplace where we were welcomed with a glass of Prosecco, the local wine.  Prosecco, has been granted DOCG status, preventing the name from being used for wines made outside this protected area running from Treviso to Valdobbiadene.

The dining table was laid out with “boards” heaped full of artisanal breads, prosciutto, pancetta, salamis and cheeses. This was followed by a “primo” of crespelle with red radicchio.

Treviso is known for its “radicchio rosso di Treviso”. Only in this corner of the northern Veneto is this variety cultivated –it has slender curly crimson and white leaves. The slightly bitter leaves are delicious as a salad ingredient,  grilled or roasted, and in risotto.

Radicchio roso di Treviso







Not much room left after that for the “secondo” of roast pork, rosemary potatoes and grilled eggplant but we managed to thoroughly enjoy those too!

A traditional Veneto meal in a lovely and historic setting provided some great birthday memories!





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