History and vicissitudes of Ca’ Marcello
Ca’ Marcello was always a private residence, a welcoming and elegant place open to convivial pleasures and, at the same time, an intimate hearth. Today, it is still lived by Count Jacopo Marcello and his family, furthermore open to those who wish to share the love for its refined splendor.
From the original settlement to the Venetian Villa
Ca’ Marcello in Levada was built at the beginning of 1500, albeit with a more modest structure than the current one, by Andrea Marcello, who had a hunting house built not far from that of the Contarini family (which today has given way to noble chapel of the Marcello family).
Until the fifteenth century, the area where Ca’ Marcello is located was famous both for the opulence of the woods that provided a lot of game, and for the extension of springs from which the Sile river was born and for fertile lands where the Dese and Zero rivers flowed.
Only some areas were constantly dry, as they were a few meters above sea level. One of these was precisely Levada (whose name indicates precisely that it was an elevated area). This is why the area was chosen by the Marcellos who began to reclaim it at the end of the 1400s when the Serenissima Republic of Venice, until then an exclusively seafaring power, turned to the mainland and chose the best territories to be exploited first for hunting and then for agriculture.
Towards the middle of the sixteenth century it was Andrea’s children who built a larger dwelling with the aim of reclaiming and cultivating the surrounding areas, building a three-storey villa that forms the current central body of Ca’ Marcello. At the end of the century, the family owned over 4000 hectares of cultivated land around the villa, which primarily served as the headquarters for the management of the large farm, as a collection and trading center for rural production, as well as a shelter for tools and livestock for carrying out the activities of the farm. Subsequent generations continued the reclamation work and had the barchesse (lateral arcaded wings of the house) built to shelter the growing agricultural production.
Map of 1557 where you can see the position of Levada between the rivers Dese and Zero
Changes and expansion of the villa
In the mid-seventeenth century the villa passed down over the Contarini family, then to the Morosini family, then to the Marquis Maruzzi, a wealthy family of bankers which had Greek origin, who purchased the property in 1725.
In this period the villa became a home of high representation and a place for the family summer holidays, adapted to meet the convivial pleasures and to demonstrate the prosperity of the owners, who built all the architectural and artistic embellishments still visible today. Due to this family is the construction of the private chapel (1753), topped by a Greek cross. The Maruzzis were art lovers: they renewed part of the front of the villa and commissioned the frescoes of the ballroom made by famous painters and decorators such as Giambattista Crosato and Giuseppe Zais.
In the early nineteenth century the owner of the property was Alexandrina Maruzzi, the last heir of the family, married to Count Sumarukoff, orderly of the Tsar of Russia. In this period the villa lives new pomp and parties with the participation of high personalities of the Venetian society and of the court of Russia. This glamorous and luxury lifestyle caused large losses to the belongings of the couple and, when Sumarokoff was finally called home, they decided to sell the whole property of Levada. Some anecdotes and letters signed by the Count, imply that the real reason that prompted them to sell the villa was the habit of playing of the Alexandrina’s husband. In fact it seems that he played and lost in a hand of cards the villa and the surrounding land, in favor of the Hungarian Count Helicay.
The latter, who did not intend to live there, gladly accepted the offer of purchase of Count Girolamo Marcello, who lived in another mansion not far away, in the village of Badoere.
Ca’ Marcello in the last two centuries
Therefore, the villa came into the hands of the Marcello family with an act dated June 5, 1847 which states that Girolamo paid to Alexandrina Maruzzi 256,000 Austrian lire for purchasing the entire property.
The villa was later assigned by inheritance to his nephew, Count Ferdinando Marcello, grandfather of the current owner, who carefully preserved the original furniture through the vicissitudes of the independence wars and the war of 1915-18.
During the First World War, the villa hosted various Italian commands and the Supreme Command of the British troops. The King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III stayed overnight at the time of the Piave battle, in June 1918.
On the death of Count Ferdinando, the house passed to his sons Jacopo, Girolamo and Vettor who brought the house to its original state after the tacky rebuilding made in the nineteenth century.
The current owner is Count Vettor Marcello, who lives here all year round with his son Jacopo and his family of 5. He was responsible for the perfect preservation of the property and, in the last two decades, the restoration and reorganization of the park.
The Count Ferdinando Marcello’s wife with their children. Picture taken in 1903 along the path of the dovecote.