A guided tour of some of the most famous and relevant landmarks in Vicenza: Villa “La Rotonda”, the Olimpic Theatre and the Basilica, to discover more about Palladian architecture.
Villa “La Rotonda”
Palladio designed the villa in 1566 for the canon Paolo Almerico, who after leaving his brilliant career at the papal court, comes back to his birthplace and prefers the quiet countryside to the family palace. However, it will take forty years, at the end of which both the architect and his client will pass away, for the brothers Odorico and Mario Capra, who took over the property, and the architect Scamozzi, Palladio’s spiritual heir, to finish the works. It is no coincidence that the villa stands on top of a hill, in the countryside that stretches out from the banks of the river Bacchiglione to the Berici Hills. The core of the geometric system is the person whose view wanders all around. The symbolism of the building is obvious, the combination of the perfect volumes, the cube and the sphere, with the corners pointing towards the cardinal points, Plato’s conception of the universal order.
The Olimpic Theatre
The Teatro Olimpico is one of the artistic wonders of Vicenza. Its design is clearly inspired by the Roman theatres, as described by Vitruvius: an elliptical terraced auditorium, framed by a colonnade, with a frieze topped by statues. In front of it is the rectangular stage and a majestic proscenium with two orders of architecture, opened by three arcades and divided by half-columns inside which there are aedicules and niches with statues and panels with bas-reliefs. Palladio’s design was made a few months before his death and he would not see the result; his son Silla oversaw the works and handed the theatre over to the town in 1583.
The Basilica, a prime example of Palladio’s architecture, stands in the most representative place in town, which embraced the great architect and saw him grow: the Piazza dei Signori, the former Roman Forum and the medieval public place. The building is the ancient seat of the civil authorities and it is Palladio who gives the building a name true to his beliefs: Basilica, like the place in ancient Rome where politics and the most important businesses were run.
- Language: English