Villa Pojana or Poiana was designed by the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. It is conserved as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'.
The Villa Pojana was built in the years 1548-1549 for Bonifacio Pojana. Bonifacio's military background is expressed on the one hand by the severity and austere purity of the architecture and on the other hand by the decorative programme described below.
Palladio's design was inspired by ancient Roman baths, which he had studied during a trip to Rome. The main floor is characterized by a large hall with a barrel vault ceiling. At each side of the central hall, secondary rooms extend, each with a different type of vault. Villa Pojana remains one of the most curious examples of Palladio's architecture even though the Villa was never completed and some of its latter development strayed from Palladio's original design. Of what was built, Palladio demonstrated some of his most creative work, especially in the building's main feature on the façade, a serliana with five circular holes (oculi), inspired from ancient Roman models, yet not derivative from any specific source. Other notable elements are the broken pediment, stripped classical features, and statues that depict both military and agricultural deities.
Palladio himself documented the interior decorations as being by Bernardino India, Anselmo Canera, and Bartolomeo Ridolfi. Canera and India were both painters of the frescos (India of the grotesques), while Ridolfi was a decorator and sculptor, responsible for stuccos and all fireplaces.
In the atrium, elegant stucco frames, whose floral designs entwine around trompe l'oeil reliefs, enclose monochromes of river gods, while here and there appear patches of sky populated with other deities. The bust of Bonifacio Pojana looks down from over the main entrance, and above him are the family's coat of arms and military trophies. Other decorations depict Pompeian scenes with the backgrounds and landscapes strewn with picturesque ruins and broken columns, whilst monochromatic figures of warriors stand watch in the trompe l'oeil niches. The frescoed ceiling, with the allegory of Fortuna, is attributed to Giovanni Battista Zelotti.
The most significant fresco can be found in the central hall: called the Emperors' Salon it shows a family from classical times, dressed in tunics and togas. They kneel in front of an altar whilst the pater familias extinguishes the torch of war at the feet of the statue of Peace which stands on the altar. It is a clear allusion to the peace painfully achieved in the sixteenth century after the War of the League of Cambrai which allowed Venetians to enjoy the delights of the terra firma.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.