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.
- 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
||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
||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.
||VILLAS ALONG THE RIVIERA
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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