Villa Cornaro was designed by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio in 1552 and is illustrated and described by him in Book Two of his 1570 masterwork, I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura.
Villa Cornaro was mainly constructed in 1553-1554, with additional work into the 1590s, after Palladio had died, for Giorgio Cornaro, younger son of a wealthy family. It represents one of the most exemplary examples of a Renaissance villa during this time frame. The north façade has an innovative projecting central portico-loggia that is a flexible living space out of the sun and open to cooling breezes.
The interior space is a harmonious arrangement of the strictly symmetrical floor plans on which Palladio insisted without exception. Rooms of inter-related proportions composed of squares and rectangles flank a central axial vista which extends through the house. As Rudolph Wittkower noted, by moving subsidiary staircases into the projecting wings and filling matching corner spaces with paired oval principal stairs, space was left for a central salone which is fully as wide as the porticos. The central core of the villa forms a rectangle in which there are six repetitions of an elegant standard module. The interior has 18th-century frescos by Mattia Bortoloni and stuccos by Camillo Mariani.
Through its illustration in Palladio's I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura, in the 18th century Villa Cornaro became a model for villas all over the world.
The villa is owned by Carl and Sally Gable, of Atlanta, Georgia. Since 1996 the villa has been conserved as part of a World Heritage Site, 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.