Villa Porto was designed in 1554 and traditionally attributed to the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, but not included by UNESCO in the strict list of Palladian Villas of Veneto
In 1554, Paolo Porto and his brothers divided up their father’s inheritance, Paolo acquiring an estate at Vivaro, north of Vicenza. Here, during the subsequent four years, he realised a villa which tradition holds was designed by Palladio. The Conte Paolo Porto, one of the most powerful canons of the Cathedral (in 1550 he was on the point of becoming bishop) was a sophisticated and cultured man, who passed much time in Rome where he could count on the friendship of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Porto also numbered among his Vicentine friends and relatives Palladio’s foremost patrons, men like Giangiorgio Trissino, Biagio Saraceno, Bernardo Schio, and Girolamo Garzadori.
It is perhaps this network of friendships which most easily placed him in contact with Palladio, although in this regard careful inspection of the villa’s architecture raises more doubts than certainties. For one discerns various successive constructional phases, which render the identification of an original Palladian scheme, if any, most difficult. The pronaos, for example, is grafted onto the main block with manifest discontinuity. Moreover, the two lateral wings are without doubt nineteenth-century, and actually the product of a belated “Palladianization” of the villa at the hands of the architect Antonio Caregaro Negrin.References:
Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.
King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.
The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.
It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.