Villa Godi was one of the first projects by Andrea Palladio. The work was commissioned by the brothers Girolamo, Pietro and Marcantonio Godi, started in 1537 and concluded in 1542, with later modifications to the rear entry and gardens.
The villa has been designated by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The villa and extensive gardens are open to the public in the afternoon, year round. The building also houses a museum of archeology in the basement, with hundreds of fossils of plant and animal life in the region. Its large park was laid out in the 19th century and was used as a film location for Senso.
The building is striking for the lack of ornamentation usually associated with Palladio's mature work, and for the refined, symmetrical proportions of the façade and massing of the structure. The plan is arranged with suites of apartments arranged symmetrically on each side of the main sala and a recessed entry loggia. The plan published in Palladio's I quattro libri dell'architettura 28 years after the building's completion is probably a revision of Palladio's original design and includes an extensive complex of farm buildings which are not part of the actual realisation.
This preliminary work by Palladio still demonstrates characteristics of the architecture of his time. A harmonic unity of landscape and architecture does not yet seem to have been an aspiration. The building is a massive block consisting of three distinct parts. The public space of the reception area is clearly distinguished from the domestic living areas and the ensemble does not present a unified appearance. The flight of entrance steps is flanked by balusters and its width corresponds to the middle arch of the arcade of the loggia.
The interior was decorated with fine frescoes initially by Gualtiero Padovano, and later by Giovanni Battista Zelotti and Battista del Moro in whose 'Hall of the Muses' are to be seen caryatids within a composition of muses and poets in Arcadian landscapes. Ruins of a Greek temple also form the backdrop for the depiction of Olympian gods. This is followed by symbols of peace and justice, a common theme in Venetian villas following the War of the League of Cambrai and the desire for a new Pax Veneziana, or great peace within the Republic of Venice.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.