What it is and where it is
Toward the east, beyond the imposing Palladian loggia of Piazza Paolo Camerini, opens this 17th-century cloister-like building complex, now in residential use. The Loco delle Vergini is an integral part of the places to know for those who, fascinated by Villa Contarini and the Baroque period, want to get an overview of seventeenth-century life in Piazzola sul Brenta. Established no earlier than 1680 in that historical period it housed a women's music college, a charitable and educational institution for orphan girls.
Why it is special
This complex wanted by Marco Contarini, in line with his efforts to enlarge the Villa and his love for the arts, was the real creative and artistic forge of Piazzola Sul Brenta in the 1600s. Entering it and closing one's eyes, one can imagine what life there might have been like. The guest girls learned singing, music and embroidery, reading and the basics of mathematics. There was also a printing press in the Cloister: the librettos of the operas in music that Marco Contarini had staged in the two Theaters existing at the time, adjacent to the Loco delle Vergini, were printed there.
Not to be missed
This place often goes unnoticed because it is perfectly incorporated into daily life. The building, in fact, is in private use. You can see the lights on behind the windows, parked cars, and many other signs characteristic of life today. Fortunately, however, this is only a veil of modernity that can be easily lifted. Be on the lookout and take the opportunity for a guided tour, a theatrical review, or other events true to the vocation of this cloister that will bring its most authentic soul back to life.
A bit of history
Among the volumes printed in the Loco delle Vergini printing house is "The Pleasure Clock." This book is an account of the famous visit of Ernest Augustus VI, Duke of Brunsvich, which took place in August 1685. At Villa Contarini he was hosted for three days enlivened by theatrical performances and naumachiae staged on the Villa's fishponds. The naumachies, depicting naval battles and full of special effects for the time, are recounted in detail in the book. Reading it, one is able to understand the magnificence and awe they aroused in those who witnessed them.
In the mid-1700s with Marco Contarini, the City of Piazzola sul Brenta was perhaps shown in its greatest splendor. Piazzola, after the death of Pio Enea degli Obizzi, founder of the famous theater in Padua, was awarded the title of "Lady of the Theaters."