The Tenuta


The estate goes back to the early 17th Century and was a shooting lodge belonging to the Zen, a Venetian aristocratic family.

At that time many Venetians came to the Delta to reclaim and cultivate the land, building imposing country houses and shooting lodges for their free time.

The varied rural architecture of Polesine shows that the Delta was land to be conquered and exploited between the Papal State and the Venetian Republic.

These are the two principal reasons why the architecture of Polesine is simpler and less sumptuous than the imposing villas built along the Brenta Riviera.


The origins of Ca’ Zen are still older and go back to 14th Century as the tabernacle in the chapel shows: it is dated 1459 and is dedicated to Santa Margherita. The place where the church is now, was probably a spot where people used to pray and rest as is indicated by the antique tabernacle.


The front of the chapel faces the river Po as is the tradition of all the churches in Polesine.

The style is simple and welcoming. Two lovely statues (belonging to the 17th century school of Bonazza) adorn the altar and represent the “Anunciation”.


The central part of the villa , “the barchessa” and the stables all built at the beginning of the 17th Century, are typically venetian , while the east and west wing were built by the Avanzo-Casalicchio family, landowners in Polesine from 1800.


In end of the 1800 during the twenties, the young and beautiful Contessa Teresa Gamba, married to 60 year old Marchese Alessandro Guiccioli, fell in love wih Lord George Byron

Alessandro, Teresa’s husband, exasperated by thepassionate love affair between his young wife and the poet, sent Teresa to Ca’Zen , then defined by the Countess in her diary as “luogo triste e malarico”, in the hope that Teresa, far from the brilliant and frivolous Venitian life, might, in other words, learn some sense. But love has no obstacles and no borders. Lord Byron used to come and see his love secretly in Ca’ Zen , and from this house wrote some of his most beautiful lines.

“Stanzas to the Po”
“River, that rollest by the ancient walls,
Where dwells the lady of my love…”


Some years ago, thanks to their common interest in horses, Elaine Westropp Bennet met Cavalier Pericle Avanzo. Elaine and Pericle married , moved to Ca Zen and lived happily ever after! Today Elaine, with her daughter Maria Adelaide Avanzo, has turned Ca’ Zen into a charming ” Agriturismo” which welcomes guests from alla over the world

In 1997 Donna Elaine,who was born in the South of Ireland , decided to open Ca Zen to Italian and foreign visitors wishing to explore a beautiful and lesser part of Italy. Openings ones home has been a custom for many years in Ireland: a special way for sharing ones hause and culture, a perfect way for permitting these beautiful Country Homes to live on in future years

In 2004 Maria Adelaide with the great help of Paolo Fratta Pasini and the technical support of Architect Piero Vantini ( from Verona), undertook the not easy job of restauring the ”court”.

“Althrough a lot of has been done, our work still continues .. many are our dreams.. many are our plans for the future ! Never forgetting the history of Ca Zen, but with the wish of sharing our home and beautiful Delta, thus permetting the Tenuta to live on in the future”


Values in which we believe

The nature of the Delta

The nature of the Delta: mutant landscapes and endless atmospheres. The Delta is an extraordinary natural stage where the waters of the great river move majestically, among the “golene”, until the meeting with the Adriatic through a labyrinth of...


What is original and authentic is unique. Being authentic is a trivial concept for many, but not for us. Being authentic means understanding and protecting all the values of our history and our territory, with respect for the past and attention for the future...

Well-being and generosity

We work to make Tenuta Ca’ Zen an oasis where you can come to relax and to escape from daily stress, to breath and rediscover nature. It is a meeting spot where to regenerate your soul, rest your mind, to train it to make more time from one thought to another...