Ca' Zen, an 18th-century Villa Veneta, was built by the Zen, a patrician Venetian family, in its Po Delta Park. The complex includes the Main Villa with its typically Venetian layout, the little barchessa farm structure, the chapel and the stables. The granaries and farmhouses date to the 19th century.
Ownership of the estate passed from the Zen to the Guiccioli Marquises; we know of a romantic and passionate ill-fated love story between young Teresa Gamba (bride of Alessandro Guiccioli) and the English poet Lord Byron who, during a visit to the Villa, dedicated some splendid verses to her. Ca’ Zen then acquired by the current owners, the Casalicchio Avanzo family.
In the 1960s, Elaine Westropp Bennett, originally from Southern Ireland, married Cavalier Pericle Avanzo; it was her idea to open this great country house to Italian and foreign guests curious about the Po Delta, this garden amid some of the world’s most celebrated art cities.
Today, following a major renovation effort, Ca' Zen is open for stay, excursions, events, guided visits, and offers charming bed & breakfast accommodations.
Things to do during your stay
- Participate in a “whispered” fish auction as the historic Pila and Scardovari fish markets.
- Visit Villa Badoer, the “Badoera”, the only villa designed by Andrea Palladio in Polesine territory.
- Navigate the ancient Po river paleochannel, amid reed banks, surrounded by aquatic fowl, you will see the unique aspects of the Delta.
- Visit the coastal botanical garden of Porto Caleri, which conserves the unique environment of the Veneto coastal forest, and the archeological museum of Adria, the city that lent its name to the Adriatic Sea.
- Discover the charm of Chioggia, and ancient fishermen’s village, or stroll the streets of Ferrara today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Taste sarde in saor (traditional marinated sardines), freshly-harvested sautéedpeoci (shellfish), cannaroli rice, stewedmusso (donkey),grilled bisato (eel) ...
- Watch the mussel harvest at dawn in the Scardovari lagoon.