THE PALLADIAN VILLAS OF THE VENETO
Not far from the city centre of Vicenza it’s possible to enjoy some of the most important Palladian Villas of the Veneto Region. Most villas are protected by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage list.
The popularity of villas at the time has to do with the changing Venetian economy. In the 15th and 16th century the Spanish and Portuguese voyages to America and Asia signified the demise of the Mediterranean trade routes—that had been the primary source of wealth for the Serenissima Republic of Venice. As a result, Venetians looked to the “mainland” to support their economy. It is at this time that agriculture became, for the first time, a significant economic source for the Venetian Republic.
Most of the palladian Villas of the Veneto were built to become the aristocratic summer dwellings of important families, but mainly to be the centre of the farm activities of the same aristocratic families.
Unlike other villas in the Veneto, Palladio designed La Villa Rotonda, in the surroundings of Vicenza, without adjacent
farm fields or service buildings . The Villa Rotonda is a symbol of harmony between Nature and Architecture and for sure the most famous Villa by Palladio. The stunning garden is coloured with different season flowers. The interioris were masterfully decorated with baroque paintings by the french artist Louis Dorigny.
Ten minutes walk far from the villa Rotonda we find another remarkable building, the Villa Valmarana ai Nani, with romantic love stories and ancient myths painted on the walls by Tiepolo in the 18th century. The Villa takes its name from the statues of the 17 stone dwarves (“nani” in Italian means dwarves), originally placed in the garden, now
on the walls surrounding the house. These weird characters gave birth to a
fascinating legend: it tells of a dwarf princess who lived secluded in the Villa surrounded by other dwarfs. Upon seeing a beautiful prince in the garden, she realized her diversity and threw herself from the tower. The pain the dwarfs felt for the princess transformed them into statues of stone.
On the hills close to Asolo we find the marvellous Villa Barbaro, one of the most beautiful masterpieces of Andrea Palladio. He planned the villa on low lines extending into a large park. Its rooms are perfectly frescoed by Paolo Veronese: after working all of his life for the venetian Doges and the most important venetian aristocratic families, Paolo Veronese cooperated to decorate this prestigious villa, that represents his largest and most important fresco work. A short walk through the vineyards leads to the carriages collection which contains some thirty exhibits of forms of transport from past centuries.
Not far from Villa Barbaro we can visit the Villa Emo : a patrician palladian villa designed by Andrea Palladio in 1559 for the Emo family of Venice. The landscape close to the villa
has a continuous history since Roman times and it has been suggested that the layout of the villa reflects the straight lines of the roman roads. The exterior is simple, bare of any decoration. In contrast, the interior is richly decorated with frescoes by Paolo Veronese’s best pupil, Giambattista Zelotti, who also worked on Villa Foscari and other Palladian villas.
BASSANO and MAROSTICA
A very special tour through memorable chess games, duels between valiant knights and romantic walks in the shadow of the castles.
Marostica enchants its visitors, welcoming them among its circle of still intact medieval walls, inviting you to attend the famous human chess game, and visit its streets full of history and mystery.
And then Bassano del Grappa, built on the shores of the impetuous Brenta river that has carved its nature and appearance. A stop on the famous bridge of the Alpini, the shooters of the Alps during the First and Second World Wars, and sipping some of the virtuous aqua vitis…
You will take a dip in the past, tracing the endeavours of the Alpini in the mountains that surround the town.
- Bassano – Ponte degli Alpini