UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy

Villa Saraceno

Villa Saraceno has been dated to the 1540s, which makes it one of Andrea Palladio"s earlier works. In 1570 the building was illustrated in an imagined state in its architect"s influential publication 'Four Books of Architecture'.  Villa Saraceno is one of Palladio"s simpler creations. Like most of Palladio"s villas it combines living space for its upper-class owners with space for uses rela ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Agugliaro, Italy

Torba Abbey

Torba Abbey is a former Benedictine nunnery in the Castelseprio Archaeological Park. This in turn forms part of the serial site 'Longobards in Italy, Places of Power (568–774 A.D.)', comprising seven sites of especial importance for Lombard arts in architecture, pictures and sculpture, entered on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites in 2011. History The first nucleus of the Castelseprio complex, of ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Castelseprio, Italy

Villa Angarano

The Villa Angarano was originally conceived by Andrea Palladio who published a plan in his book I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura. Work was started on the wings of Palladio's design in the 1540s or 1540s . A decision appears to have been reached to leave a pre-existing house in the middle of the site. The proposed Palladian villa was never built: Palladio's patron may have been obliged to halt the project for financial re ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Bassano del Grappa, Italy

Villa Poiana

Villa Pojana or Poiana was designed by the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. It is conserved as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The Villa Pojana was built in the years 1548-1549 for Bonifacio Pojana. Bonifacio"s military background is expressed on the one hand by the severity and austere purity of the architecture and on the other hand by ...
Founded: 1548-1549 | Location: Poiana Maggiore, Italy

Villa Piovene

Villa Piovene was commissioned in the 16th century for the aristocratic Venetian Piovene family, their architect believed to have been Andrea Palladio. It is part of the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto' since 1996. Villa Piovene was built around 1539–40 in competition to and within the immediate vicinity of Villa Godi, which rises only a few hundred metres. Rivalrie ...
Founded: 1539 | Location: Lugo di Vicenza, Italy

Villa Cornaro

Villa Cornaro was designed by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio in 1552 and is illustrated and described by him in Book Two of his 1570 masterwork, I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura. Villa Cornaro was mainly constructed in 1553-1554, with additional work into the 1590s, after Palladio had died, for Giorgio Cornaro, younger son of a wealthy family. It represents one of the most exemplary examples of a Rena ...
Founded: 1552-1554 | Location: Piombino Dese, Italy

Villa Pisani

The Villa Pisani is a patrician villa designed by Andrea Palladio, located in Bagnolo, a hamlet in the comune of Lonigo. The Pisani were a rich family of Venetian nobles who owned several Villas Pisani, two of them designed by Andrea Palladio. The villa at Bagnolo was built in the 1540s and represents Palladio's first villa designed for a patrician family of Venice (his earlier villa commissions were from provincial nobi ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Lonigo, Italy

Villa Chiericati

Villa Chiericati was designed for Giovanni Chiericati by the architect Andrea Palladio in the early 1550s. In 1996 UNESCO included the villa in the World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto. The villa is square and a portico projects from its principal facade. The principal rooms are built upon a piano nobile above a semi-basement. The upper floor is very much of secondary importance. The ...
Founded: 1550s | Location: Vancimuglio, Italy

Villa Valmarana

The Villa Valmarana (also known as Valmarana Scagnolari Zen) is a Renaissance villa situated in Lisiera, a locality of Bolzano Vicentino. Designed by Andrea Palladio, it was originally built in the 1560s. The villa was nearly totally destroyed during World War II, but has been rebuilt. Even before the war damage, the building did not closely resemble the plan which Palladio published in his I Quattro Libri dell"Arch ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Bolzano Vicentino, Italy

Villa Gazzotti Grimani

Villa Gazzotti Grimani is a Renaissance villa, an early work of architect Andrea Palladio. In 1994 UNESCO designated it as part of the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The villa was designed and built in the 1540s for the Venetian Taddeo Gazzotti and, like a number of Palladio"s buildings, it incorporates a pre-existing structure. In 1550, before the building was co ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Vicenza, Italy

Villa Trissino

Villa Trissino was mainly built in the 16th century and is associated by tradition with the architect Andrea Palladio. The building is of undeniable importance in the Palladio 'mythos'. Since 1994 the villa has been part of a World Heritage Site which was designated to protect the Palladian buildings of Vicenza and Veneto area. It is uncertain whether this villa was designed by Palladio, but it is one of the ce ...
Founded: 1530s | Location: Vicenza, Italy

Villa Thiene

Villa Thiene is a 16th-century villa at Quinto Vicentino. The building as it stands today is the work of several architects one of whom was Andrea Palladio. Like several other projects on which Palladio worked, it was commissioned by two brothers, in this case Marcantonio and Adriano Thiene. Since 1996, the villa has been conserved as part of a World Heritage Site, the 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Quinto Vicentino, Italy

Militello Late Baroque Town

Despite remains of prehistorical settlements and legends of a Roman foundation, the first mention of Militello dates from 1000 AD, when it became a marquisate under the Cammarana. The golden age of Militello was during the early 17th century, under the government of Prince Francesco Branciforte. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1693, but the subsequent restoration added numerous architectural and artistic works ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Militello In Val di Catania, Italy

Villa Forni Cerato

The Villa Forni Cerato is a 16th-century villa in Montecchio Precalcino. Its design is attributed to Andrea Palladio and his client is assumed to have been Girolamo Forni, a wealthy wood merchant who supplied building material for a number of the Palladio"s projects. The attribution to Palladio is partly on stylistic grounds, although this is a complicated issue - the building departs from the Palladian norms. The v ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Montecchio Precalcino, Italy

Villa Trissino

Villa Trissino is an incomplete aristocratic villa designed by Andrea Palladio, situated in the hamlet of Meledo. It was intended for the brothers Ludovico and Francesco Trissino. It should not to be confused with Villa Trissino at Cricoli, which is 20 km away, just outside Vicenza. Villa Trissino, like most of the Palladian villas, was to be the centre of an agricultural estate built for an aristocratic family. What sur ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Meledo, Italy

Villa Serego

Villa Serego was built for the aristocratic Sarego family, and designed by Andrea Palladio. The villa is distinctive for its use of rusticated columns of the Ionic order. The villa was commissioned by the Venetian nobleman Marcantonio Sarego for an estate which came into his possession in 1552. A rough date for its execution is c. 1560-1570. In 1857 further construction took place, which makes the villa appear finished b ...
Founded: 1560-1570 | Location: Pedemonte, Italy

Villa Valmarana

Villa Valmarana (also known as Valmarana Bressan) is a patrician villa at Vigardolo, Monticello Conte Otto. The building is attributed to Andrea Palladio on the basis of an extant drawing of the villa that is undoubtedly by the great architect. The villa was constructed during the 1540s, so it is one of Palladio"s earlier works. It was commissioned by two cousins of the Valmarana family. The layout of the rooms sugg ...
Founded: 1540s | Location: Monticello Conte Otto, Italy

Villa Zeno

Villa Zeno in Cessalto is the most easterly villa designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The building is near the highway between Venice and Trieste, but was built to face a canal which served as the primary means of arrival. Palladio"s building for the Zeno family has been dated to the 1550s. It is illustrated in I Quattro Libri dell"Architettura, the architect"s influential publication of 157 ...
Founded: 1550s | Location: Cessalto, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.