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.

Interior

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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Details

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

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

mundo aureo (3 years ago)
It costs 5 euros, if I remember well. Very important work for the history of architecture. You can only go inside during spring and summer I think. During the rest of the year you can only walk around it.
Fierbepere (3 years ago)
Amazing work by Palladio erected almost 500 years ago. The first villa built in the style of a temple! A must for any self respecting tourist.
Mark Royle (3 years ago)
Great Palladian villa. We lucked in on the one day per month that the inside is open. Smaller than you think
emmockladdie (3 years ago)
Building dirtier outside than I expected - maybe they don't want to damage stone cleaning it. Lovely setting. Annoying times that it opens and closes. Why no interior photography baffles me ... The murals are like a 5 year old did them.
Zdeněk Konopásek (3 years ago)
Not my style, to be honest, I cannot imagine living in such a building. A lot of people, not easy to get in - watch carefully the opening hours. But nice views around. One cannot find a place to eat nearby.
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