History of an enchantment
Villa Pace is located in the centre of the small village of Tapogliano, in Friuli, near a ford of the Torre river. The village is a few miles from Palmanova and Aquileia, both UNESCO world heritage sites (6 miles from the A4 motorway exit) and a few miles from Ronchi dei Legionari Airport. The villa is located around 12 miles from the historic Grado beach of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The manor house is secluded in the middle of a park which is closed off by a stone wall featuring two colonnades on the east and west sides. The large colonnade to the east is believed to be what remains of the original late sixteenth-century structure. The villa’s current structure is the result of two building operations: one in the second half of the 17th century and the other in the mid-18th century. The 17th-century building work was commissioned by Carlo Maria Pace v. Friedensberg, a field marshal of Leopold I, who came to the fore in the wars against the Turks, from the liberation of Vienna (1683) to that of Budapest (1686) through to the Battle of Zenta. Then onwards, Count Carlo Maria also obtained the title of Baron of the Empire and the honour of having the double-headed eagle in his coat of arms. This initial building phase gave rise to its cubic shape with four corner towers, which can also be found in Colloredo villa in Susans and Dobrovo, and Coronini villa in Vipacco.
Access to the main floor was originally planned through an external staircase as seen in many 17th-century Friulian villas (e.g. Villa della Torre in Ziracco). However, the two corner towers facing the garden, where the staircase had been planned, were never completed and, in the mid-18th century, the original project underwent a major change. The 18th-century work was commissioned by another Carlo Maria Pace (a famous agronomist, Commendatore of the order of Santo Stefano and Chamberlain of the Emperor). In 1747, Carlo Maria married Giuliana di Edling, the favourite lady of the court of Maria Teresa, which may have given rise to another major restructuring in the new Rococo style. The project is believed to have been completed in around 1751, a date which can be read on the large painting on the ceiling of the hall on the main floor, which depicts the glory of righteousness and peace as a metaphor for the glory of the family. The painting was once attributed to Antonio Guardi but it more likely to be the work of Scajaro, a pupil of Tiepolo (Pavanello). At that time, we see the construction of the beautiful elliptical staircase and decoration of the double-height hall which, according to Christoph Ulmer, is the most beautiful in Friuli. Carlo Maria is also to likely to be to thank for the murals recently discovered in a room on the first floor, which depict a rural landscape and the ports of Toulon and Marseille (from the engravings of G.dell’Acqua from paintings by J.Vernet) perhaps as a reminder that Carlo Maria was one of the first Friulian nobles to invest in Lloyd Triestino.