Churches and places of worship
Church of St. Bellino, Bishop and Martyr
The church already existed in 1473, but the current one was built in 1649 with donations from the populace. The façade shows some gothic influence in its design. It’s divided in two parts. The lower one has six Tuscan pilasters, four large windows, and the entrance. The upper level is decorated in the same fashion as the lower one. It’s embellished by a Romanic rose window and by two statues of angels on the sides. The church contains many paintings by the 1700s Venetian painter Angelo Trevisani. These include the Nativity altar pall on the right nave, and the Crucifixion altar pall on the left nave. The marble urn that contains the remains of San Bellino the bishop is in the back of the apse. A 1736 altar pall by Mattia Bortoloni is in the back of the apse too. It depicts Bishop Bellino, with his pastoral staff and his keys, as he protects a boy from a rabid dog. The stone bell tower is of late Romanic style. It was built in the early 1500s. (Piazza Giovanni XXIII – San Bellino)
Church of St. Margaret
It was built as an oratory in 1078. It was rebuilt in the 16th century by the Prisciani family. In 1636 it was renovated, thanks to donations from the population. Nowadays, the recently renovated church has a simple cement façade. Its floor plan is square, with a single nave. A fine 1700s pipe organ, by Gaetano Callido, is above the entrance. The bell tower may have been built in 1520. (Via Presciane – Presciane, San Bellino)
Places of interest
Villa Ca’ Moro
This 18th century villa was built by the noble Moro family, from Venice. It’s surrounded by a double wall. It also has an oratory, and various smaller satellite buildings, one of which is neoclassical. Its bulky, cubic body has three floors, with a double staircase that leads to the nobility’s floor. An imposing satellite building is behind the main one. The entire complex is in need of repairs.
(Via Arginello – San Bellino)
Nani Mocenigo villa, now Bertetti Villa
This villa was built in 1527 in place of a previous building by Prisciani, the administrator of the Duke of Ferrara. The location still bears his name. The building first belonged to nobleman Nani Mocendigo, then to the Marquis of Este, Ludovico Tassoni. It’s a very simple building, with three living floors. Its design is very sober, and it was recently renovated. In front of the main building is the guest house. The two are connected by a small portico. A nice avenue, lined with trees, leads from the villa to the Presciane church.
(Via Belvedere n° 30 – Presciane, San Bellino)
This 18th century building is outside the village, by the bank of the Canalbianco Canal. It’s small, with three floors. The attic granary has six round windows. The remains of a fresco was visible above the entrance to the main floor, but it’s gone completely now. The façade is very simple, with two chimneys. One of the two has been closed while the other was rebuilt recently. An unfortunate modification in the eighties disfigured the façade by walling up the main entrance and running two windows on its sides into doors.
(Via Presciane n° 21 – San Bellino)
Villa Bolognese, now Villa Santato
Its first known owner, in 1730, was the nobleman Sante Bolognese de Simon. The villa has architectural features from the 18th century. It’s formed by a main body and a smaller wing on the side. The main body has three floors. The upper one is an attic with a hipped roof. The interior still contains the original staircase, and it’s in good condition. It was conservatively renovated in 2000 by the current owners. The renovation restored the villa’s original architecture. (Via Belvedere n°29 – San Bellino)
This building dates back to the 1500s. G.B. Guarini lived here between 1580 and 1583, after he was driven away from Ferrara. He propbably composed “Il pastor fido” here. In 1925 it was radically renovated to the point where it lost its original appearance. Currently, the large rooms on the main floor are still partially reduced in size. The façade lacks architectural elements, and the only thing that interrupts its monotony is a double staircase that leads to the main floor entrance. A plaque (like the one on the San Bellino bell tower) on the façade marks the height reached by the water of the Adige River in the Castagnaro flood on October 18th 1823. The garden contains the remains of a white marble well.
(Via Codosa n°8 – San Bellino)
This 18th century farm complex used to be owned by the Ottoboni-Valente family, but now it belongs to the Tomanin. It’s formed by a manor house with satellite buildings. It’s easy to spot, as it’s in Galvani Square, behind the Town Hall, with a separate entrance. The original wooden ceiling beams, terracotta tile flooring, and chimneys are still in use. The entire main floor is open to visitors, thanks to an accurate and conservative renovation.
(P.zza Galvani n°24 – San Bellino)
House of the Dosi Delfini Count, now Altieri House
This 19th century house was built by Agostino Casaro. The manor house is a long building with smaller satellite buildings and a small oratory. It was recently renovated, with a return to its original floor plan. The noteworthy frescoes of flowers and animals were requested by Count Giulianello. The entire complex is surrounded by a large park that houses various species of animals and plants.
(Via Argine Santa Maria n°56 – San Bellino)
This 1700s villa has a main body with two short wings that were added later on, when the complex had already begun its decadence. The façade is furrowed by two chimneys. It’s very simple, and unlike other facades, it has a cornice above the balcony on the main floor and small hayloft windows. During the early ‘90s the villa was severely disfigured. It maintained its original floor plan, its appearance has been defaced. (Via Belvedere – Presciane, San Bellino)
The name comes from the patron saint, San Bellino, the bishop of Padua who was murdered in 1147. In 1074 Alberto Azzo of Este obtained fiefdom of this area for his sons Ugo and Folco. In 1405 the drainage of the land began, as a means to counteract the frequent floods caused by the Po and Adige rivers. In 1482, with the “salt war” between Venice and Ferrara, the area joined the Venetian Republic’s rule. This was a time of artistic growth, when many villas and farm complexes were built by the Venetian nobility. In 1797 the Napoleonic invasion added it to the French conquests. This was a time of repression and poverty (the latter lasted until after the two world wars). In 1809 the French government instituted a tax on millstones, thus increasing the price of flour. The population rose up forcefully, thus obtaining its abolition. The situation worsened with the submission to Austrian rule in 1815. It didn’t change until the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. The two world wars only made things worse, and the situation improved only in the second half of the 1900s. Various natural disasters struck the area, such as the 12th century rout of the Po in Ficarolo. In the 13th century the Adige flooded the land. The latest disaster was in 1951, when a great flood of the Po caused significant depopulation.