VICENZA

Vicenza, known in past times as Vicetia, is situated in an area of Veneto, which includes on one side the Prealpi and the other side the Monti Berici: a location, which with the running waters that cross it, the Bacchiglione and the Retrone, form a characteristic panorama. More than one hundred high class mansions embellish this city which due to its architectural quality, attests as a Venice on the mainland.

The settlement is originally paleoveneta, but during the Roman era the city began to assume a definite urbanistic installation. During the Medieval era, it was a Free Council, but after this phase, there followed long periods of battles for ownership with attempts of it being conquered by its neighbours, Padova (Padua) and Verona: the city, to put an end to this phase which blocked its development spontaneously gave in to the Venetian Government of 1404. This strategic choice, allowed a new phase of the cultural, economic and artistic life of the city: a long period of building restoration, which lasted until the 16th Century is characterised by the construction of the high class mansions and new roads. Vicenza therefore became one of the most interesting, architectural sites in Italy.

Observe these mansions, tantamount in helping the architectural evolution from the late Gothic period to the Renaissance: at first their fronts correspond to the taste of the Venetian Gothic period – Casa Zen, Palazzo da Schio, Palazzo Port-Breganze, Palazzo Thiene, Casa Pigafetta – then the style evolved and the fronts began to take on a different aspect of austere 15th Century housing - Palazzo Angaran, Palazzo Negri, Palazzo Thiene – finally, around the mid 15th Century, Andrea Palladio, inaugurated a type of architecture of noble and classical taste, but also one that was luminous and functional; a style which influenced European architecture until the 1800’s – Palazzo Chiericati, Palazzo Porto, Palazzo Valmarana. The site of these mansions is best shown along the city’s walkways, which helps facilitate their viewing when visiting their locations.

An itinerary of Vicenza, has to, however, also take into consideration the so called “Vicenza minore:” keeping within the city limits – the city is in fact divided into areas called “Contra,” from which the actual wards take their name – casually following the linear rhythm of the narrow streets, you discover a city rich in colour, with quiet little squares, streets and waterways which are crossed by use of very characteristic stone bridges; on which typical Veneto style houses with courtyards and galleries can be seen.

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