A DAY IN VICENZA,
CITY OF PALLADIO
A DAY IN VICENZA, CITY OF PALLADIO
Highlights of this tour:
A stroll in the heart of Vicenza
Piazza dei Signori
The Olympic Theater
Villa la Rotonda
Villa Valmarana ai Nani
Your guide will meet you at the Vicenza train station if you’re coming from Venice or Verona.
Our introduction to Vicenza will be the Piazza dei Signori with the Basilica and the Loggia del Capitanio.
Vicenza, the city of Palladio, was named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
A stroll through elegant streets lined with noble private residences, such as Palazzo Porto and Palazzo Chiericati, will lead us to the Gothic church of Santa Corona to see Giovanni Bellini’s Baptism of Christ.
We’ll complete our morning tour with a visit to the Olympic Theatre, Palladio’s last work, and a site not to be missed.
After lunch, just outside Vicenza, we will proceed to Villa La Rotonda, “the most beautiful dream of Palladio,” a masterpiece of harmony that inspired Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia.
We’ll complete our day at Villa Valmarana ai Nani, frescoed by the great Venetian painters Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo. This magnificent home stands gem-like in the midst of its luxurious green garden.
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Situated halfway between Venice and Verona, Vicenza exudes its own grandeur.
“Rome in miniature, a theatrical invention” is how Vicenza-born novelist Guido Piovene describes it; a city in black and white, with the tones of a copper etching set against the soft, rosy lights of the Veneto landscape.
The charm of this small town lies in this contrast; Neoclassic architecture of incomparable harmony set against the vaporous, evanescent colors of the land and sky in this part of the region.
Just like other Veneto towns, Vicenza has a number of Gothic houses, picturesque corners, bridges, and waterways with the Alpine foothills or the Berici Hills in the background.
However, the description of Vicenza as the “City of Palladio” and the “one architect city” prevail. Consequently, Vicenza owes its fame to a single man, Andrea Palladio.
Born in Padua in 1508, the young architect was accepted by a group of Vicentine aristocratic patrons of good economic standing but scarce political heft.
Vicenza was never an independent city; it was instead passed from one dominating power to another, and in 1404 was definitively absorbed by the Venetian Republic.
Palladio knew how to express his patrons’ desires to show off their wealth and noble origins on a budget. He created beautiful, solidly-built, comfortable homes, inspired by the “pure” architecture of ancient Roman times.
The mark of the great, innovative architect is everywhere: in townhouses, churches, the Palazzo della Regione in Piazza dei Signori, in the Olympic Theatre (completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi after Palladio’s death in 1580), and in the aristocratic villas outside of town.
Palladio’s international fortune was mainly due to his Four Books of Architecture, which enjoyed an enormous dispersion in Europe and in America for over three centuries.
He is by far the most renown Renaissance architect in the world. Vicenza has been included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1994.
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