Since the fifteenth century until the begininng of the Napoleonic era the villa became an established part of the landscape, so much so that even today it is almost impossible to travel around the province of Vicenza without stopping at every step to savour the pomp and elegance of a bygone era.
One should not forget however, that despite the luxury displayed in the banquets and elegant dances held in elegant rooms often magnificently frescoed by renowned painters of the time, economical requirements were the driving concept behind the villa. The domestic centre of any villa is surrounded by a series of out buildings and agricultural annexes; from the “barchesse” to the dove cotts, from the hay lofts to the wine cellars.
Even the most rushed tourist can, in a short tour, admire at firsthand some of the architectural masterpieces of Andrea Palladio; a permanent and much envied figure in the annals of Art History. Conveniently all of these sights are within a few kilometres of Marostica.
A good place to start is the much celebrated “Rotonda” (30km), the residence built for the Canon Paolo Almerico in the second half of the sixteenth century. The villa, which later belonged to Count Capra, charmed Goethe in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and succeeded in exercising an uninterrupted influence on the American and European architects of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Another villa to be seen is the splendid Villa Barbaro, in Maser just outside Asolo (25 kilometres ). Designed by Palladio for his friend and patron Daniele Barbaro , the villa was frescoed by Paolo Veronese one of the most hailed painters of the renaissance in Veneto.
No less charming, especially by virtue of their splendid position in the Astico valley are the two villas in Lugo di Vicenza (15 kilometres): the young architect’s first signed work the villa of Godi Malinverni, and the sixteenth century villa of Piovene Porto Godi, with its splendid staircase and “barchesse” designed by Francesco Muttoni at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
Lovers of great friezes of frescoes will find what they are looking for if they visit the three villas frescoed by Giambattista Tiepolo, the Italian painter who acquired the greatest fame in Europe in his day. Working in the mid eighteenth century Tiepolo’s paintings are full of the cultural references of the time; from the exultation of the virtues of those who lived in the Villa Loschi Zileri in Biron di Monteviale (38 kilometres), to the references of the magnamosity of the great leaders of the past relived on the walls of the Villa Cordellina Lombadri in Montecchio Maggiore (40 Kilometres).
We suggest finishing off your tour at the Villa Valmarana ai Nani in the Berici hills (30 Kilometres). Here the walls are graced with ‘love stories’ from classical literary masterpieces, which have been revived with the characteristic melodrama of the period.
Nearly a dozen more villas are tucked away near these marvels of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries: a proliferation of small architectural jewels which we will be happy to give you more information about. You need only ask ...
Albergo Due Mori - Corso Giuseppe Mazzini, 73/75 - 36063 Marostica - Vicenza - Italy - Tel. +39 0424 471777
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