Villa Thiene is a 16th-century villa at Quinto Vicentino. The building as it stands today is the work of several architects one of whom was Andrea Palladio. Like several other projects on which Palladio worked, it was commissioned by two brothers, in this case Marcantonio and Adriano Thiene. Since 1996, the villa has been conserved as part of a World Heritage Site, the 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. The World Heritage Site also includes the Palazzo Thiene in the city of Vicenza which belonged to same Thiene brothers.
Palladio was involved with Villa Thiene in the 1540s, making it one of his earlier works. He appears to have adapted a design by Giulio Romano. The extent of Romano's involvement in the project is not clear, in any case he died in Mantua in 1546 while the villa was still under construction. One of the Thiene brothers, Adriano Thiene, had to flee Vicenza in 1547 and building work appears to have been put on hold at that time.
A version of the villa is illustrated and discussed in I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura of 1570. As with a number of the villas described in Palladio's publication, there are differences between what was published and what was actually built. Palladio's plan indicates that the present building was not intended for the mansion itself, but for one of the agricultural wings. However, there are sixteenth-century frescoes in the building by Giovanni de Mio, suggesting that it was decided at an early state that the building would not be purely utilitarian.
The plan shows two courtyards which were never completed. Courtyards are rather unusual among Palladio's villas, but the architect also proposed courtyards for Villa Serego, another incomplete villa, where one of the courtyards was partially constructed.
The front and rear facades have been modified since the sixteenth century: the front facade is probably the closer to Palladio's intentions, although the brickword would originally have been rendered. The many holes were apparently done during wartime, to extract metal used within the villa's construction.
The garden facade of Villa Thiene has been attributed to eighteenth-century architect Francesco Muttoni. Both the thermal window in the concluding gable and portals in the centre part are displeasing. These elements cannot be reconciled with Palladio's formal idiom.References:
The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.
The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.
The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.
There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).
The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.