The jewels spread around Vicenza are a veritable constellation of works of art that trace the history of architecture from the 16th to the late 19th century.
Andrea Palladio is considered the greatest interpreter of the Venetian villa civilization, an absolutely original housing and production typology, which responded to the aesthetic needs of the Venetian patricians.
Agriculture had become the new form of subsistence and investment. Palladio’s villa for the first time in the history of architecture assumed the typical forms of the classical temple intended during the Renaissance as an element of cultural distinction.
Starting with Palladio and for the next three centuries, many villas were built in the countryside of the Veneto hinterland and along the main waterways.
But what is surprising is that the new social and economic model represented by the “country houses” spread everywhere, even reaching very far and crossing the oceans, up to the great plantations in the South of the United States of America.
Here is the itinerary that best allows you to understand where all this originated.
THE VILLA ALMERICO CAPRA VALMARANA, known as “LA ROTONDA”
Villa Rotonda Palladio
Probably speaking of Palladio, the fabulous Villa Rotonda immediately comes to mind, an icon par excellence of Renaissance architecture, and an ideal synthesis of Palladian poetics. Built in the shadow of the Sanctuary of Monte Berico (… and not surprisingly since the client was a high prelate from Vicenza), the villa represents the transposition of the ancient concept of ancient temple into the new philosophy of the men of the Renaissance. Four identical facades, a central dome, a perfect and symbolic geometry, the best Neoplatonic expression of universal harmony.
The villa inspired English architecture as early as the seventeenth century, just think of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, and was taken as a model for the institutional buildings of Washington, the capital of the newborn United States of America.
THE VILLA CALDOGNO
The synthesis of the idea that Palladio had for a noble country residence? The splendid villa Caldogno offers it to us, which is definitely worth a visit, for more than one reason. In a limited environment Palladio manages to synthesize his idea of aesthetically beautiful and practically functional architecture.
A magnificent cycle of interior frescoes, made by Antonio Fasolo and Giambattista Zelotti, one of Paolo Veronese’s best pupils, complete and enrich the visit to the villa: the painted scenes are an interesting photograph of the costumes and customs typical of the Vicenza aristocracy in the era of the Renaissance.
THE VILLA GODI MALINVERNI
Not far from Bassano and Marostica, the Godi counts commissioned their country villa from the still young Palladio. From the existing dovecote tower, the architect creates a villa that almost reminds us of a fortification and which perfectly testifies to the first phase of his art.
The interiors are frescoed by two masters of Venetian painting, Antonio Fasolo and Giambattista Zelotti, who in the scenes express the values in which the client wanted to convey to his refined guests.