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 Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.