The Venetian Villas (Veneto)
The extraordinary flourishing of summer residences that the great families of Venice built around the 16th and 19th c., in perfect harmony with nature, in the countryside near the Serenissima (Venice), deserves a particular notice in the case of the province of Vicenza. There are indeed many in this area, possibly thanks to the presence of the main architect of these villas, Andrea Palladio from Padua (1508-1580),who designed them with classical and noble forms destined to fascinate the whole world. We list some of them below, with the indication of the places they belong to. We indicate, whenever possible, the ones that may be visited and their opening hours, which depend upon the decision of the owners.
  VILLA CORNARO (now GABLE) - Piombino Dese (Padova)
(May-September only) Saturday 3:30-6:00 p. m.
Villa Cornaro is a masterwork of architect Andrea Palladio's middle period (1533). The villa introduced to Western architecture the two-story projecting portico-loggia motif. Palladio's device influenced Western architecture for hundreds of years, becoming a recurrent feature in Georgian, Adam and Colonial American architecture. Among those utilizing the device was Thomas Jefferson, whose initial model for Monticello was Villa Cornaro.
  VILLA CONTARINI-CAMERINI - Piazzola sul Brenta (Padova)
Villa Contarini in Piazzola sul Brenta is perhaps one of the largest, most grandiose and composite building complexes designed in the characteristic architectural style of a Villa Veneta structure. This elaborated structure was most probably designed by Andrea Palladio and commissioned by the Venetian aristocrats Francesco and Paolo Contarini. Inside the villa, the music-hall, once loved by Vivaldi who performed some of his compositions there, is very suggestive and attractive. The villa also contains lots of 17th century frescoes and a very interesting collection of ancient maps and drawings. 
  VILLA BARBARO (now VOLPI) - Maser (Treviso)
Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday only
3:00-6:00 p. m. ( March-September)
2:30-5:00 p. m.(October-February)
Villa Barbaro was built by Palladio for Daniele Barbaro, Patriarch of Aquileia, and his brother Marc'Antonio Barbaro, an ambassador of the Venetian Republic. Construction began in (prob.) 1549 and was substantially completed by 1558. The Tempietto (chapel) was constructed 1579-80.
  VILLA EMO CAPODILISTA - Fanzolo di Vedelago (Treviso)
Open: May to September only Monday,
Mon-Sat 3:00-6:00 p. m. Sunday: 10:00 a. m.-12:30 p. m., 2:30-7:00 p. m .
Villa Emo was built in the period 1559-65 by Palladio. The central residential space features four columns (two of them engaged) in the manner of a Greek temple front. As at nearby Villa Barbaro, barchesse (farm buildings) extend symmetrically from the left and right of the central structure, with the ends of the barchesse surmounted by dovecotes. 
  VILLA CAPRA called "LA ROTONDA" - Vicenza
Open: March 15 to Oct.15, Wed. 10am-noon and 3-6pm; garden: same time Tues., Wed., Thurs. By appointment the other days, if there is staff available.
It is the most famous of the "Ville Venete": it was designed by Palladio in 1550 and completed by his pupil and heir Vincenzo Scamozzi in the late 16th c. It is a perfect development of the theme of the central plan construction, in absolute harmony with its surroundings.
  VILLA PISANI (now FERRI) called "La Rocca Pisana" - Lonigo (Vicenza)
This villa is open by appointment only. Started in 1576 by Scamozzi, it stands alone on a hill like the Rotonda Palladiana, which, however, it does not imitate, since it solves in its own, quite original way the problem of interior spaces, by playing with lights and shadows. From the large windows, one can catch breathtaking glimpses of the landscape. 
  VILLA TRISSINO (now RIGO) - Cricoli, Vicenza
Public not admitted
Built in 1534. Two towers frame the elegant prospect, which is a version of Raphael's project for Rome's villa Madama. in the second half of the 1530s, the Vicentine noble Giangiorgio Trissino (1478-1550) met the young mason Andrea di Pietro at work on the building of his villa. Somehow intuiting the youth s potential and talent, Trissino took charge of his future formation, introduced him into the Vicentine aristocracy and, in the space of a few short years, transformed him into the architect who bore the aulic name of Palladio. 
  VILLA VALMARANA called "AI NANI" - Vicenza
Open: March 15 to Nov.15, every afternoon, excluding Sun., 2:30-5:30pm (with a half hour diffrerence in the opening and closing): Thurs. and Sat. also 10am-noon; Sun. only 10am-noon.
Begun in 1668, the villa includes several buildings: master residence, entry, guest rooms, arcades and the stable. It is famous for an extraordinary cycle of frescoes by Tiepolo (helped by his son) of 1757: a fantastic "journey' through the Iliad, Aeneid, Orlando Furioso and Gerusalemme Liberata. In the guest rooms: Chinoiseries, scenes of the farmers' daily life, cycle of the walks in the villa, the Olympic gods and the Carnival of Venice. One of the most important painting cycles of the Italian 18th century. 
  VILLA VALMARANA MOROSINI - Altavilla Vicentina (Vicenza)
The magnificent XVIII century Villa was designed by the architect Francesco Muttoni. Built in 1724, it is one of the most sumptuous villas in the area, recently restored is now the center of the CUOA Foundation (University Centre for Business Administration). 
  VILLA VALMARANA (now ZEN) - Bolzano Vicentino (Vicenza)
Open on request
Unfortunately destroyed by air bombings, the villa has been perfectly restored. Started on Palladio's designs, published in the 1570 treatise, it was completed with arbitrary modifications. Chapel dating back to 1615. Noteworthy statues and wrought-iron gates. 
The spread of the aristocratic villas along the course of the Brenta from Malcontenta to Stra was a phenomenon that was a sign of the power of Venice for a couple of centuries between 1500 and 1700. Please see our page
Itineraries... Riviera del Brenta.
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