The journey begins at ‘Diane Pavilion’ or ‘Diane’s Doorway’, the monumental and main entrance by water to the estate of the Barbarigo in the 17th and 18th century. Here there was the landing place for boats coming across the so-called “Valle di Saint Eusebio”, from which the name “Val San Zibio”, in those days extended over several miles, but today limited to the small pond (the Paludo) to mirror the elegant pavilion. The Diane’s Doorway is greatly decorated with fountains, low reliefs and statues on top of which dominate Diane-Moon, the Goddess of the hunting, voted to nature and to wild animals as well as to prodigies and mutations. From here, entering the garden through the “Sileno’s Archway”, one walks along the Decumano or Fish Ponds Boulevard close to the fish pond called the Diane’s Bath or river fish pond, to the Rainbow Fountain and the wind fish pond. Once arrived at the center of the garden, near the Pila or Conca Fountain, where the Decumano intersects the Main Boulevard, the Central Boulevard or Cardo, if you turn left into the Main Boulevard you walk close to the labyrinth on the left side, essential stage in the road trip to salvation, and, on the right side, close to the ‘Romitorio’ or Hermit’s Grotto, allegorical place where you can meditate on the revelations realized in the journey through the labyrinth.
On the other end, at the Pila Fountain, if you turn right into the Main Boulevard toward the Villa you walk alongside the Rabbit Island on the left and the Monument to Time on the right. The rabbits’ island or rabbits’ warren, the only one still present in the few historic garden still existing, is a symbol of Immanence, that is, of the usual condition of all living being limited by the body jammed between the boundaries of space and time. On the opposite side of that same Boulevard, in contraposition with the Rabbit Island, the monumental statue of Time, blocked his flight across space, symbolizes the spiritual condition in which the human soul travel beyond the limits of space and time. The main path, enlivened by statues, fountains and water jokes, with precise symbolic meanings, comes to its end at a staircase, inscribed with revealing verses and leading to the square of the Villa. Here eight allegories of the Garden’s and its Owner’s qualities surround the “Fountain of Revelation”, final goal of human perfectibility.
The Garden of Valsanzibio has preserved all its original features unaltered thanks the unceasing and careful attention received first of all by six successive generations of Barbarigo since its very creation in 1669. At their extinction, in 1804, Nobile Marco Antonio Michiel was appointed heir and he was succeeded in 1835 by Counts Martinengo in 1835 and forty years later by Counts Donà dalle Rose. Since 1929 three successive generations of Nobili Pizzoni Ardemani enjoyed the property of the estate and garden. They mended all ravages caused by military occupation and forced neglect during world war two and have recently restored all fountains, fish ponds, water jokes, cascades and streams, that is all its thirty three water points that give so special character to this monumental garden.