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 completed, Gazzotti was facing financial problems and sold the villa to Girolamo Grimani.
For the first time Palladio presents the body of the building as a clearly defined cube. The three-fold arcade in the central section, which is reminiscent of Villa Godi, is crowned by a triangular gable and is the dominant shape of the facade.
The body of the building rests on a base, from which it is divided by means of a ledge which runs along the entire width of the facade. On the one hand this serves to protect the working areas from damp, but on the other hand, it also raises the villa above the surrounding landscape.
The villa is currently in need of restoration, particularly the exterior stucco which has peeled to expose the underlying brickwork. The restored Villa Saraceno is an example of how impressive restored stucco can look.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.