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.References:
Claude Monet lived for forty-three years, from 1883 to 1926, in Giverny. With a passion for gardening as well as for colours, he conceived both his flower garden and water garden as true works of art. Walking through his house and gardens, visitors can still feel the atmosphere which reigned at the home of the Master of Impressionnism and marvel at the floral compositions and nymphéas, his greatest sources of inspiration.
In 1890 Monet had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings were of his garden in Giverny, famous for its rectangular Clos normand, with archways of climbing plants entwined around colored shrubs, and the water garden, formed by a tributary to the Epte, with the Japanese bridge, the pond with the water lilies, the wisterias and the azaleas.
Today the Monet's Garden is open to the public.