Thanks to the architectural influence of Andrea Palladio (1508-80), Vicenza is often referred to as “the city of Palladio”. It is indeed an architectural wonder: an example of what gentry immersed in humanistic and classical philosophy could achieve with bricks and mortar. From Palladio’s studies of the past and his analysis of contemporary needs, Palladio did in fact distill timeless and universal principles: he radically transformed the medieval appearance of Vicenza and turned it into a reference point for architects and patrons alike. His architectural style is still the inspiration for many contemporary villas and houses throughout Europe and America.
Classical Tour:
Starting from Corso Palladio, we find the recently restored Palazzo Chiericati, which houses the Civic Museum. A ‘must’ is a visit to the Olympic Theatre, the earliest indoor theater of ‘500 in Europe. We could then notice the evolution of Palladio’s style going from one palace to the other: Palazzo Thiene, Palazzo Festa, Palazzo Porto-Barbaran one of the most beautiful Palladian urban dwelling where it is possible to visit the Palladio Museum, Palazzo Bonin-Longare, until we reach the “Basilica”, then viewing his later period in the Loggia del Capitanio.
Vicenza before Palladio:
We could divert from Palladio by visiting Contrà Barche with the Gothic Palaces of Vicenza and its Gothic churches: the Tempio di Santa Corona with paintings by Bellini and Veronese, and the Franciscan church San Lorenzo. Signs of the Baroque style are visible also at Palazzo Montanari. This tour again traces the Gothic architectural style in Vicenza in the following monuments: Boccalotti Oratory, St Pietro square, Palace Regaù, Santa Corona Temple, Palace Da Schio called Cà d’Oro, Palace Sesso Zen and in Contrà Porti Palace Porto-Bertolini, Porto Colleoni and Porto Breganze, Corso Palladio Palace Braschi Brunello, St Lorenzo Church and Pigafetta‘s House.
Walking tour around Vicenza:
It is possible to enjoy a light walking tour around Vicenza by first going to the Monte Berico Basilica where we can admire a Veronese painting, continuing onto the Villa Valmarana ai Nani to see some frescoes by the Tiepolo, both father and son. Concluding, we arrive at the exquisite Palladian Villa Capra-Valmarana “La Rotonda”, a masterpiece of architecture.