Porton de Luzo
Thus it was that I trod my way down from Monte Berico and braved (I use the word advisedly) the traffic to get to the old city on the other side of the railway line.
The first dramatic indications I had arrived came when I got to Porton de Luzo. The ancient Roman defences that probably only existed in parts of the urban area were no longer sufficient to give protection to the city after the Hungarian attacks in 899 AD. So, in the next century, the new town walls were commenced though it took till the 13th century to complete them while under Padovani domination.
They stretched for 2.62 kilometres following this route: Piazza Castello, Contrà Mure Pallamaio, Ponte Furo, Porton del Luzo, Ponte delle Barche, Ponte degli Angeli, Contrà Canove, Pedemuro Pusterla, Pedemuro San Biagio, Motton San Lorenzo, Ponte delle Bele, Porta Castello.
All around there ran a wide moat fed by the waters of the Bacchiglione to the north, and the Seriola to the west, the latter still to be seen in the Giardini Salvi.
There were five main city gates, with drawbridges and protecting towers, which over the centuries were all demolished: Porta Feliciana (more south than the present Porta Castello), Porta Berica or Berga (built after the closure of Porton del Luzo, later re-opened), Porta San Pietro (on the present Ponte degli Angeli), Porta Pusterla and Porta Nuova. Then there were two secondary gates to the south: Porta della Racchetta, at the bottom of Contrà della Racchetta, and Porta Carpagnon, at the Barriera Eretenia.
Who is this unmasked man?
Building attributed to Giacomo and Giovanni from Porlezza and constructed to the beginning of the 1500's which, as you will have noticed, precedes Palladio. The facade is characterized from two logge advanced and the bugnato one that joins the two buildings. This detail is set in between the balconies and clearly is dedicated to Francisco Molino. Now, if you check the internet all you get is that a man by that name was a famous musician. A lone one hinted however, that he may have been a governor.
Beneath the four statues are the words "Forti, Prudeti, Iusto and Eperato" Now, I asked many Italians for a translation and the best anyone would come up with was "Strength, Prudence, Correctness" and no-one had a suggestion for the last one.
Never being one to quit easily I pursued the matter via the local (very helpful) tourist office via email and discovered the following:
Francesco Molino was the governor of Creta and a member of the Senato in the Serenissima Republic of Venice (this explains the classical objects around the statue of Molino); the word "Iusto" means, in latin, good man regarding justice; "Eperato" means expert.
Today it is center of the Order of the lawyers and is located at Piazzetta Gualdi 7.
I knew there had to be a castle somewhere!
At one end of the Corso Andrea Palladio is the castello, one of the most un-Palladio like buildings in all Vicenza.
Piazza Castello stretches from the gate of the same name towards Corso Palladio. In this area, now altered after the construction of the palazzi, there once stood the Castle of Ezzelino, reinforced by the Scaligerians in 1343.
The park is just beyond this portal.
Vicenza is very beautiful town, full of magnificent buildings designed by Andrea Palladio. This lovely couple of twins, however, are the most beautiful scene I have seen in Vicenza. They were infinitely cute and I just couldn't resist not to take this picture.
Contra Porti is one of the prettiest streets of Vicenza's historical center where many of the Gothic and Palladian residences can be admired.
The 15th century Porto Breganze palace, the residence of the Porto Colleoni, a interesting example of Gothic-Venetian city architecture, the Thiene family residence now the offices of Banca Popolare Vicentina, Palladio's houses of Iseppo da Porto and Montano Barbarano cannot be missed.