Castle / 4 bedrooms / sleeps 10

Key Info
  • Nearest beach 60 km
  • Child friendly
  • Car advised
  • No pets allowed
  • Private garden

Villa Vigna Contarena is a spectacular property, which has belonged to the family for several generations. It is cherished as a family home, and has been the centerpiece of a large agricultural estate still in operation today.

The villa's origins date to the 16th century, and there have been several major remodelings since that time. It is situated in an 2,5-acre park constructed in the 18th century "Italian style Garden" enriched, among others by a secret garden of oriental style (Persian Garden).

Archeological finds from Roman times, found in the park, are displayed around the garden.

The furnishings and decorations in Vigna Contarena are fitting for its history and grandeur, but still with all modern conforts.The villa has interesting architectural features in ceramic tile and wood. The floors are in the typical Venetian marble terrazzo. During the summer months, comfortable furniture and a dining table are set up under the wide umbrellas on the big private patio facing the 12th century walls of Este´s castle. There are fans in all rooms even if the Villa, due to the thick walls, is very fresh. The villa has WiFi Internet access.

On demand It comes with a staff of two to cook and clean and lay out supplies for evening cocktail parties in a living room filled with priceless paintings, frescoes, and antiques.

Vigna Contarena is the country estate of one of the oldest families in the Veneto, noblemen whose family paintings, reveal lives of privilege (the owner currently in charge of the villa is a count). The marble floors may be a trifle crooked and chilly in this unheated country estate -- the family usually likes to close it for the winter in mid-October-- but the ambience is splendid, and the setting is as good as a movie's.

The grounds around the estate are unique, right in front of a medieval tower and surrounded by the shadow of secular trees.

The villa is encircled by formal gardens planted with roses and hedges while the park has wonderful paths for walking, a fountain and a play area for children.

At the ground floor of the Villa are 2 fully equipped, cozy and freshly equipped holiday apartments each hosting up to 5 people each who can be rented separately or in an unique solutions. Each apartment is around 12 sqm and has one double room, one triple room, fully equipped kitchen, livingroom and 2 bathrooms.

The rooms at the first floor are all enormous, with soaring ceilings and rich frescoes. There is a large living room. Next to it is a formal dining room with a fireplace and a giant Murano crystal sparkling chandelier and seating for twelve can host catered dinner with local products and wine tasting with sommelier.

Throughout the villa are beautiful floors, draperies, paintings, artistic ceramics and antiques. Furnishings and décor are tasteful and elegant. Grand staircases, exquisite frescoes, fanciful paintings and sumptuous surroundings make this a truly luxurious villa.

The villa is on the edge of the town of Este, once a Roman stronghold that now holds a music festival in the summer. It is an excellent location for touring Venice, which can be reached by train or bus. The other sights of the area within easy reach are the historic cities of Padua, Vicenza, Ferrara, and Verona. Many of the famous villas designed by Palladio are in easy reach. There are also three 18-hole golf courses in the vicinity of Vigna Contarena.

Passed the massive iron gate that separates the villa from the street, you could walk to the town center or cycle out to a nature trail. The route into the fertile Po Valley is flatter and easier than the biking terrain in Tuscany, although if you want more challenge, you can be pushing hard up into the Euganean Hills in 25 minutes.

Within walking distance of the villa are some ancient ruins and the contemporary Este ceramics factory, which makes tableware sold at stores around the world, including Tiffany & Co. We liked our cheerful yellow coffee mugs decorated with butterflies so much that some of us ordered sets to send home.

The hillsides throughout the Veneto reveal some of the architectural wonders of the famed Andrea Palladio. You can visit Villa Rotonda, considered one of the most perfect buildings ever created, and judged by most authorities to be Palladio's finest work. Built between 1580 and 1592, the beautiful stone building, perfectly square and decorated with Ionic columns on all sides, sits on a hillside near Vicenza, where Palladio lived. The Italian Alps can be seen in the distance.

Also near Vicenza is the Villa Malmarana, the walls of which are decorated with some of the most beautiful frescoes ever painted by the famed Italian artist Gianbattista Tiepolo and his son Giandomenico. In the center of town, the Olimpico Theatre designed by Palladio contains an amazingly proportioned stage set that fools the eye into thinking it goes back for half a mile.

On another day excursion is Padua, home of the University of Padua, founded in 1222 and as such the second oldest university in Europe. The Church of St. Anthony, with its incredible Byzantine style is also worth a visit.

Romanesque building, is the second-most-visited church in the world, after St. Peter's in Rome. No wonder: Michelangelo took part in the design of the cathedral, erected between the 16th and 18th centuries, and it is filled with some of the most glorious statuary and artwork in all of Italy. Nearby, the cerulean blue walls and ceiling of the 14th-century Scrovegni Chapel are covered with the most complete cycle of Giotto frescoes. October is mushroom season in the Veneto, and when we journeyed into the country to Valsanzibio, said to be one of the most important Baroque gardens in the world, many hikers were changing into their climbing boots to hike the hillside in the nearby park in search of dinner mushrooms. Poisonous mushrooms are as prevalent here as safe ones, so we opted to wander into the 40-acre garden. Some of us ventured into the boxwood maze, only to find ourselves so lost that we needed a garden guide to help us find the exit path.

Italians eat what is fresh, and in October, in addition to mushrooms, produce is still abundant. Our villa has its own vegetable garden, to which the staff adds mushrooms and other groceries from town for dinners of meat or fish, homemade pasta, and....dessert!!

Guests can eat at the villa every night or mix things up by trying the local restaurants. The two best were the Ristorante Cavallino, within walking distance, and Ristorante Val Pomaro, hanging over a cliffside a 20 min. drive up the Euganean Hills into the gorgeous town of Arqua Petrarca.

Villa Vigna Contarena is a luxury rental with self-catering or full-time staff (on demand).
In case of full-time staff is requested breakfast is served every morning on the patio or in the beautiful dining room at the first floor of the Villa.
Lunch and Dinner, too, can be served inside or outside using fresh local products. Wine tasting with sommelier available on request. Guests can decide to eat at home in complete freedom (daily notice can be given on site).

Rentals must be for a minimum of one week, but can be of any length beyond a week (price pro-rated by the day).
The villa and its garden are available for rent only from April to October.

Many people dream of living in a castle in Italy. Villa Vigna Contarena is most definitely the place to live out this dream.

Size Sleeps up to 10, 4 bedrooms
Rooms 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms of which 2 family bathrooms and 2 shower rooms
Nearest beach Adriatic coast 60 km
Access Car advised
Nearest travel links Nearest airport: Venice 60 km, Nearest railway: Monselice 6 km
Family friendly Great for children of all ages
Notes No pets allowed, No smoking at this property

Features and Facilities

Luxuries Internet access, Staffed property
General Central heating, Wi-Fi available
Standard Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer
Utilities Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine
Furniture Single Beds (2), Dining seats for 10, Lounge seats for 10
Other Linen provided, Towels provided
Outdoors Private garden, BBQ, Bicycles available
Access Secure parking, Wheelchair users

The Veneto region

When visiting Italy, the North East, and particularly the Veneto region is a must. Venice ranks first as touristic destination. Several other cities have considerable appeal to the visitor who does not stop to the most celebrated place, and wants to see more. Padova, with its 770 years old University, the Giotto Chapel and several monuments from middle age. Verona, with the Arena and Sheakspere's Romeo and Juliet athmosphere. Vicenza, with the villas and monuments of the great architect Palladio. The Dolomites can be reached in less than two hours drive. The sandy Adria beaches are also worth a trip.


Este is on the southern side of the Euganei Hills, a natural park reserved to excursions by cars, mountain bike or hiking. There is a tradition of wineyards and wine making of over 1000 years. Several Olive trees yeld a very delicate oil. Este sports a history datin back to the Etruscan times, as demonstrated by the remnants in the Museo Nazionale Atestino, next door to Vigna Contarena. Several Villas, Churchs and monuments from middle age to 1800 are to be seen in the area. Este features a lively athmosphere in the public gardens, in summer time, with entertainment and cultural initiatives. Venice and other major cities can be reached by train from Monselice.