Palladios Villa Capra - La Rotonda, Vicenza
I waited years to return, but return I did.
This time Rosemarie was in tow and I was a man on a mission. Time to see Palladio's masterpiece up close and understand why it's arguably the most copied architectural work ever, certainly in the western world.
We got lucky and parked almost in front of the entrance but had to wait until siesta was over to actually get in.
The wealthy (goes without saying really I suppose!) Venetian Valmarana family own this and had it completely restored in the 20th century.
Its fame comes from the dome (inspired by the Pantheon) and the symettry of the edifice. All sides are the same except for the interior usage and paintings.
Called Villa Almerico Capra, it was designed by Andrea Palladio for wealthy cleric, Paolo Almerico. in 1566. It became more known as a suburb residence, and Almerico moved to the villa to live, not being far from the city walls. The villa never got completed before Palladio died in 1580, and Scamozzi, protege of Palladio, finished it finally in 1591. It is the shape of a cube and styled after the Pantheon. The brothers Capra were the ones to get the villa built. The farms was expansive and the view form the top is great. The central ceilings and frescoes were painted around time of completion. Many allegories to virtues of religious life. Many statues surround the outside facade. No pictures allowed inside, but a small reatil shop at entrance sells minor brochures for heavy price.
The owner lives one site now, and the inside is only open Wednesdays, 10-12 and 3-6 from March-November. The grounds have the same hours, Tuesday-Sunday. The inside is fantastic to see, but my opinion, the whole event is too commercialized and the under a watchful eye of monitors every step of the way. Maybe due to the volume of tourists, nobody seemed friendly. At a cost of 10 Euro for the inside, or 5 Euro grounds only, it is pricey. The grounds are nothing special at all, and color is lacking. Some of the entry also was under renovation. Parking can be a problem during peak season.
Count Giovanni CApra required the design and work by Palladio on this structure around 1540. The completion was about 1567. The building now houses Banca Nationale del Lavoro, and only one of a few that will exchange money. At least we got a lot changed here. They are friendly. The inside middle location. Also in the 17th century the Piovini family made major changes to the interior, thereby not being able to recognize the original works.
Commissioned by count Giovanni Antonio Capra, Palazzo Capra is one of Andrea Palladio's early works. Started between 1540 and 1545 the building was finally finished in 1567.
The facade has unfortunately been altered during the years by restoration work for commercial purposes and following the restructuring works held in 1860, the palace is housing today a branch of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro.
Palladios Villa Capra, better known as La Rotunda, probably his best know work. Aspects of this design have been imitiated many times since it's construction (1550-1552), including by US Statesman Thomas Jefferson for the design of his home in Monticello. La Rotunda is a simple, symmetrical, beatuiful design.
The VIlla is on a hill on the eastern side of Monte Berico; you can get there by continuing on the cobble stone pedestrian down from Villa Valmarana or you can drive around to gain access from Viale Rivieria Berica (SS 247). You can only see the inside on Wednesday 10-12 & 3-6, 6 Euro including gardens. For the grounds only, its same hours tues-thurs, 3 Euro.
At a minimum, if you're driving, head to Viale Riviera Berica pull off on one of the parking areas on the side of the road for a quick view. That's actually where this photo was taken from.
As explained earlier, there was no bus to take us here so if you want to visit the most palladian of Palladio's houses and model for so many buildings in the same style in London and elsewhere, you are better off with your own car as buses are very infrequent. However, it would be silly not to mention it since it really is a main reason for going to Vicenza. If you are without children and staying in Vicenza for more than a day, you could even walk it or take a taxi one way. By time we could have got there by taxi after seeing the theatre, it was closed but then again, the countryside around here is really nice so we might well tour it one day.
This is one of the most famously and imitated buildings in the world, the characteristic of which served to illustrate and sum up the stylistic features of the Italian Renaissance architecture.
It was projected by Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) whom works making Vicenza famous throughout Europe and giving it the unmistakable appearance which it retainig today.
La Rotonda is Palladio's masterpiece built between 1550 and 1552 as a retirement home for Canon Paolo Almerico. The building consists of a cubic construction with the four corners perfectly aligned with the cardinal points to make the maximum effect of light and shade on the walls. Each of the four facades has a pronaos with six ionic columns and staircase. The dome is by Vincenzo Scamozzi who changed Palladio's plans by lowering it.
Peek inside to see Veronese's "Banquet of Gregory the Great".
Admission: euros 3,00 for the exteriors, euros 6,00 including interiors - interiors on Wednesday only
"Oggi ho visitato una splendida villa detta la Rotonda .... forse mai l'arte arcitecttonica ha raggiunto un tal grado di magnifidenza"
Villa Rotunda is a beautiful residence designed by Andrea Palladio, and is open for tourists to explore.