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:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.