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 Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.