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.

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Details

Founded: 1548-1549
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

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User Reviews

Beppe Ceccon (10 months ago)
There is no need to add comments on the beauty of this artifact. Not the most beautiful of Palladian architecture but always interesting to visit.
Aleesha Nash (3 years ago)
You’ll see the work of a famous architect. It’s a great start to exploring this city and then branching out to neighboring towns where villas were designed by or influenced by same artist.
Yao WU (3 years ago)
Beautiful facade
Michele Sannazzaro (3 years ago)
Una scoperta interessante. Sembrava fosse tra le ville del Palladio la meno bella e interessante, invece dopo la visita, spiegata benissimo dalla signorina volontaria del FAI, ci siamo ricreduto e abbiamo capito perfettamente il contesto in cui è stata edificata. Grazie FAI.
No_name (3 years ago)
Essendo un'amante degli edifici storici sono andato con l'occasione delle giornate FAI. L'unica nota negativa è la molta gente che permette di non godersi appieno l'atmosfera del giardino e delle forme della facciata. Comunque merita una visita!!
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