The Villa Forni Cerato is a 16th-century villa in Montecchio Precalcino. Its design is attributed to Andrea Palladio and his client is assumed to have been Girolamo Forni, a wealthy wood merchant who supplied building material for a number of the Palladio's projects. The attribution to Palladio is partly on stylistic grounds, although this is a complicated issue - the building departs from the Palladian norms.
The villa was probably built in the 1540s modifying an existing building on the site. The double name Forni-Cerato, which it is always given, dates back to 1610. Both its attribution to Palladio and the assumption that Girolamo Forni had it built remain a matter of speculation. The first reference to the architect being Palladio is in the 18th century. However, modern research agrees almost unanimously with their opinion.
The body of the building has not undergone any significant changes with the exception of the back, which had a serliana, which was replaced by a balcony. The outline of the rear serliana is still visible.
Today, the only authentic sculptural decoration appears to be a mask over the round arch of the entrance serliana which is attributed to Alessandro Vittoria.
In 1996 UNESCO included the building in the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The villa is in a poor state of conservation.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.