Villa La Rotonda

Vicenza, Italy

Villa La Rotonda is a Renaissance villa just outside Vicenza, designed by Andrea Palladio. Along with other works by Palladio, the building is conserved as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'.

In 1565 a priest, Paolo Almerico, on his retirement from the Vatican, decided to return to his home town of Vicenza and build a country house. Building began in 1567. Neither Palladio nor the owner, Paolo Almerico, were to see the completion of the villa. Palladio died in 1580 and a second architect, Vincenzo Scamozzi, was employed by the new owners to oversee the completion. This house was to be one of Palladio's best-known legacies to the architectural world.

The design is for a completely symmetrical building having a square plan with four facades, each of which has a projecting portico. The whole is contained within an imaginary circle which touches each corner of the building and centres of the porticos. The name La Rotonda refers to the central circular hall with its dome.

Palladio had intended it to be covered by a high semi-circular dome but Scamozzi designed a lower dome with an oculus (intended to be open to the sky) inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The dome was ultimately completed with a cupola.


The interior design of the Villa was to be as wonderful, if not more so, than the exterior. Alessandro and Giovanni Battista Maganza and Anselmo Canera were commissioned to paint frescoes in the principal salons.

Among the four principal salons on the piano nobile are the West Salon and the East Salon, which contains an allegorical life story of the first owner Paolo Almerico, his many admirable qualities portrayed in fresco.

The highlight of the interior is the central, circular hall, surrounded by a balcony and covered by the domed ceiling; it soars the full height of the main house up to the cupola, with walls decorated in trompe l'oeil. Abundant frescoes create an atmosphere that is more reminiscent of a cathedral than the principal salon of a country house.

From the porticos, wonderful views of the surrounding countryside can be seen; this is no coincidence as the Villa was designed to be in perfect harmony with the landscape.



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Founded: 1567
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

D Chen (36 days ago)
This place has fairly limited visiting hours so check the website beforehand. To avoid crowds, start lining up outside the gate 10-15mins before opening times, and you'll be able to sneak in a few photos for yourself before tour groups start showing up around 10:30. You can visit all around the building as well as the interior of the main floor, which contrasts with the purity of the exterior.
Freddy (2 months ago)
Amazing architecture and art in the interior, definitely a must see when visiting Vicenza.
Nils Paellmann (4 months ago)
Andrea Palladio's most famous Venetian villa did not disappoint. Built as a country residence for Paolo Almerico, a papal prelate, it was inhabited by 1569. La Rotonda is Palladio's only freestanding centralized pavilion. The dome was modeled on the Pantheon with the oculus being initially open. Still owned by the same family, the villa is in an amazing condition and is situated beautifully among the fields on the outskirts of Vicenza.
Anthony Andres (5 months ago)
If you love symmetry, this place is not to be missed. Well worth the time to visit and appreciate. Parking hint: drive past the entrance, continue about 1km and parallel park on the street, it’s free but don’t block any driveways. Check out the picture. We found 1 item not symmetrical, and the guides could not explain it … maybe it’s now been corrected. ?
Laura Chatain (8 months ago)
The venue is outstanding but you would appreciate it with the guide that explains all details from the project concept to it's design, decoration, functionality and all events. I recommend it. Don't miss it.
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