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 centres if not, in fact, the origin of his myth. For, tradition holds that right here, in the second half of the 1530s, the Vicentine noble Giangiorgio Trissino (1478–1550) met the young mason Andrea di Pietro at work on the building of his villa. Somehow intuiting the youth’s potential and talent, Trissino took charge of his future formation, introduced him into the Vicentine aristocracy and, in the space of a few years, transformed him into the architect who bore the aulic name of Palladio.
Trissino did not demolish the pre-existing building, but redesigned it to give priority to the principal facade facing south. This gesture was a sort of manifesto of membership in the new constructional culture based on the rediscovery of ancient Roman architecture. Between the two existing towers Trissino inserted a two-storey, arcaded loggia. Trissino reorganised the spaces into a sequence of lateral rooms, which differ in dimensions but are linked by a system of inter-related proportions, a matrix which would become a key theme in Palladio’s design method.
Building works were certainly concluded by 1538. At the end of the eighteenth century the Vicentine architect Ottone Calderari heavily modified the structure, and in the first years of the twentieth century a second campaign of works cancelled out the last traces of the Gothic building by accomplishing its belated “Palladianisation”.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.