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:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.