How to reach
From Milan: Highway A4 Turin-Trieste, exit Padua West. Enter in SS47 Padova / Vicenza / Selvazzano and then take SR47 and continue for about 3,5 km up to the exit 8 towards Padova / Via Adriatica. Go straight up to the Roundabout, 2nd exit to enter into SS16. Continue for about 6 km then turn Left on a SP30. Continue for about 600 meters then a right turn and take Via San Pelagio up to Castle.
From Bologna: Highway A13 Bologna-Padova, exit Terme Euganee. Keep left at the fork, follow directions to Battaglia Terme and continue for about 6 km on SS16 up to reach the Castle of San Pelagio.
Distance from Venice Airport: 64 Km
The imprint given in 1700 by a forefather Roberto Zaborra is still legible. He introduced surprising and bizarre natural elements in a search for harmony.
The show garden, or proprietor's garden, with two hundred rose varieties, about a million plants, is the fruit of thirty years of resolute hunting amongst nurseries throughout Europe. The addition of two hundred species to the existing unclassified ones followed precise criteria: scent, colour, shape, size ... as well as taking the present use of the Castle into consideration. A clear example is the Aviateur Blériot rose with its delicate bunches of yellow blossoms, named after the 1909 cross-Channel pilot.
Some rose varieties are planted amongst shapely trees including a magnolia, an ancient catalpa and a secular cypress. The white scented flowers of the French rose Blanche Moreau from 1800 are charming, whilst the 1892 rose Blanc Double de Coubert grandly disperses its intense all around. One can also admire the 1905 Rosa rugosa Hansa with its scented double magenta flowers. The Chinese roses introduced into Europe in the last twenty years of the nineteenth century are particularly attractive, such as the Rosa Hugonis, a ladylike rose, which is decked in delicate little pale yellow flowers and short fern-like leaves in spring.
Bushes of blue-green yucca and groups of powder pink Hana Kisoi tree paeonies as well as a profusion of English roses are planted around the striking central basin containing white and pink water lilies.
The Secret Garden is inside the Castle, next to the chapel, separated from the countryside by a high wall. It has small paths and lawns surrounding an eighteenth century stone basin. There is a rich collection of trees and shrubs: cypresses, yews, ancient limes, an aged lagerstroemia, a lanky old persimmon bearing a huge quantity of rather small fruit, viburnums, hibiscus, oleanders, lemon verbena, clematis, jasmines, lavenders, passion fruit and more roses.
An avenue of ancient hornbeams, pruned to form a tunnel, leads from the show garden and once linked the residential area of the Castle to the countryside. This ends at a hillock containing the ice house, an underground room of about four cubic metres, once used to conserve food. It is reached by a spiral pathway bordered with Euganean trachyte. From the top there is a view over the antique fish pond and the field from which D'Annunzio and the Venetian squadron left for their famous over Vienna on the morning of August 9th 1918.
There are two planted mazes: one is the “Minotaur Maze” which has a dual function: firstly it recalls the mischievous labyrinths of Venetian Villas, places of entertainment and amorous and, secondly, the myth of Icarus and therefore the history of , the theme of the museum. In March 2013, was also inaugurated the third Labyrinth dedicated to Africa with his botany and its myths of the flight.
The “Maybe yes and maybe no” maze recalls the name of the famous story by D'Annunzio and the shape of a labyrinth in a ceiling painting in the Mantua Ducal Palace. Inside an unsettling play of mirrors attempts to confuse visitors.
Nowadays the Villa is an Aviation Museum and there is also a “Heroes' Avenue” in the gardens with “aeronautical plants” such as the laurel dedicated to D'Annunzio in memory of his great poetic work, the oak planted in memory of Giuseppe Colombo the Paduan mathematician who invented tethered satellites and an ash dedicated to the Count from Schio who used its wood to construct his airships.
Other features in the park include: the vegetable garden, the catalpa wood and the lawn of a hundred paces with its strip of wild meadow, a refuge for multi-coloured butterflies and a useful biotope for collecting seed. The field also serves as a link with the surrounding rural landscape, rising above its purely aesthetic connotation to take on a vital bio-ecological function.