The Brenta Riviera in art

Canaletto - Dolo sulla Riviera del Brenta_olio su tela del 1760-1770

Over the centuries plenty of artistic works have depicted the Brenta Riviera. We would mention the engravings by Coronelli, Costa and Volkamer; and the important Venice landscape painters of the 18th century such as Canaletto, Guardi, Tiepolo, and Cimaroli. The sights and picturesque landscapes of this territory cannot help to fascinate and remain engraved in the minds of artists: the lush nature, the complex and varied architecture. Each villa is different from the others, it conquers the gaze and diverts thoughts. It is natural to fantasize about bygone days, customs and habits, another dimension that we find in the outstanding artworks that have survived till present day.

Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto (Venice, 17 or 18 October 1697 – Venice, April 19, 1768) was an Italian painter and engraver, a citizen of the Republic of Venice, known primarily as a landscape artist. He began his career with the creation of the backdrops for some theatre plays and soon became one of the best known painters in Venice.


Giovanni Battista Cimaroli (Salò, 1687 – Venice, 1771), an Italian painter, worked in Venice with Antonio Canal known as Canaletto. He mainly reproduced landscapes, into which he infused the Arcadian and quiet lyric poetry of nature. He was appreciated by his contemporaries for the excellent quality of his reproductions of the Veneto countryside, of the pastimes of aristocrats during their vacations along the Brenta Riviera, or of the most picturesque corners of Venice as he closely followed the footsteps of Canaletto.


Francesco Lazzaro Guardi (Venice, October 5, 1712 – Venice, January 1, 1793) was an Italian painter who lived in the Republic of Venice. Unlike Canaletto, in his paintings this artist did not aim at creating sharp perceptions, but would rather propose a subjective and evocative interpretation of reality by painting images of evanescent and unreal towns. At times his sensitivity can be defined as pre-romantic, thanks to flaked-off shapes and melancholy shadows.

and others important artists


Vincenzo Maria Coronelli (Venice, 16 August 1650 – Venice, 9 December 1718) was an Italian Franciscan, a cartographer and encyclopedist. Famous throughout Europe, Coronelli returned to Venice in 1684 after spending two years at the Court of the Roi-Soleil and was appointed cosmographer of the University of the Serene Republic of Venice. He founded the Accademia degli Argonauti, the first geographical society in the world. In 1709 he published “La Brenta, quasi borgo della città di Venezia, luogo di delizie de’ veneti patrizi, delineata e descritta” (The Brenta, almost a village of the city of Venice, a place of delight for the Venetian patricians, delineated and described).


Johann Christoph Volkamer (1644- 1720) was an enterprising merchant of Nuremberg with a deep passion for botany, the son of a physician and botanist, devoted to the study and design of gardens. In the early years of 1660 he visited a multitude of gardens and parks in Italy, which stimulated in him a special interest in the universe of citrus trees which he grew in his own garden near Nuremberg.
In 1713 he published “Continuation der Nürbergischen hesperidum”, presenting landscapes and villas of the Northeast of Italy, places with which the author maintained his business contacts.


Giovanni Francesco Costa was born in Venice in 1711; he was recorded in the register of the guild (fraglia) of Venice painters in 1734. An architect, scene painter and “theatre engineer”, the designer of theatre stage machines and engraver, Costa asked the Senate to be given a special privilege (present-day copyright) on his greater and most famous collection of prints dedicated to the Villas of the Brenta Riviera. The privilege was granted on March 11, 1748. Two years later, the 1st book of this collection was published “edited by its author” under the title “About the delights of the Brenta river expressed in the palaces and in the houses rising on its banks from the mouth on the Venice lagoon to the town of Padua, sketched and engraved by Gianfrancesco Costa architect and painter from Venice”.