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:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.