Valsanzibio reached its maximum splendour in the second half of the seventeenth century under the aristocratic Venetian Zuane Francesco Barbarigo and his son Antonio. His first-born son Gregorio, Cardinal and future Saint, inspired the symbolism of the monumental layout by Luigi Bernini, the papal architect. Seventy statues, mostly by Merengo, merge into the architecture, waterfalls, fountains and water games in the 37 acres of intact nature on the hillside.
The salvific itinerary begins with the pagan gateway dedicated to Diana. Once arrival was by boat through the Sant'Eusebio fishing valley (hence ValSanZibio), now a mere vestige. On entering one skirted the Diana Pool, the rainbow fountain and the fishpond dedicated to the Winds; then along the Great Avenue with statues, fountains and water games to the Lynx stairway. Eight allegorical figures encircle the Ecstasy Fountain in the square of the villa, the final destination of the symbolic itinerary.
A topiary house, a box maze and a hermitage are alongside the path. A little island, with many-coloured rabbits, is the only warren of ancient Roman inspiration still existing. A monument to Time on high ground is the keystone of the path to salvation. The garden is still intact thanks to the Barbarigo family until 1804, then the Venetian patrician Marco Antonio Michiel, from 1835 the Counts Martinengo da Barco, then the Counts Donà delle Rose and from 1929 the aristocrats Pizzoni Ardemani, who still own it. After having repaired the extensive damage from the last war, they restored springs, cisterns, canals and reservoirs to bring back the splendor of 16 fountains, 4 fishponds, 3 water games, rivulets and pools.