Villa Serego was built for the aristocratic Sarego family, and designed by Andrea Palladio. The villa is distinctive for its use of rusticated columns of the Ionic order.

The villa was commissioned by the Venetian nobleman Marcantonio Sarego for an estate which came into his possession in 1552. A rough date for its execution is c. 1560-1570. In 1857 further construction took place, which makes the villa appear finished but does not fully respect the original design.

Two limestone sculptures stand surrounded by semi-circular hedges in front of the villa. They appear to be the deities Diana (with attributes of the hunt) and Apollo (holding a harp), symbolic of the villa being both a rural retreat and a refuge for culture and beauty.

The villa is built around a courtyard, which is derived from the atrium of Roman villas. Palladio was familiar with such designs from his researches into Roman architecture, but courtyards are rare in his own buildings. The colossal columns of the courtyard are executed in a rough aesthetic - Palladio refers to them being made of 'non polite' stone. Although ultimately derived from ancient Roman buildings, the columns are reminiscent of mannerist design and have features found in the architecture of Verona.

In 1996 UNESCO included the villa in the World Heritage Site 'City of Vicenza and Palladian Villas of the Veneto'. It is not open to the public.

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Founded: 1560-1570
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Italy

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