Corso Palladio is the main arterial road which crosses the
city, and city life is carried out along this road. From an
architectural point of view, you can see some of the most
noteworthy mansions here; most stretches of road are characterized
by arches and internal courtyards. Some of the most characteristic
streets of the city open out from the sides of the Corso,
like Corso Fogazzaro and further ahead, Contrà Porti,
which is adorned by some of the most important mansions.
At the end of the Corso Palladio, the road widens into Piazza
Matteotti, where you can find the imposing, sober, bulky yet
luminous and elegant Palazzo Chiericati, one of the most beautiful
projects of the Palladio, today seat of the Pinacoteca. Still
in the square, there’s an entrance – a simple
gate into an excavated courtyard – to reach the Teatro
Olimpico (Olympic Theatre), the final architecture of the
Palladio, one the of most beautiful buildings in the history
of architecture: if the exterior doesn’t foretell anything
of importance, the interior is a true and proper font of wonder.
The magic of the make-believe theatricality is repeated in
the conception of the room that looks like the architectural
structure of an open theatre and the prospective of city roads.
This incredible masterpiece was brought to its conclusion
by the son of Palladio and Vicendo Scamozzi, famous architect
and treaty writer from Vicenza, who carried on the style of
Still along the estate of the Corso Palladio – before
coming to Piazza Matteotti, of which we’ve just spoken
– you can also find the Piazza dei Signori.
Piazza dei Signori is the city centre, harmonious and monumental:
characterized by the magnificent prospective of the Basilica
and the ancient Palazzo della Ragione; renewed by a noble
15th Century architect following the project of Andrea Palladio,
impressively certifying the classical origins of the city,
not to mention its ties with Venice. The marble exterior,
supplies a succession of ample and elegant arches, positioned
on two levels: straight after you pass through the arches,
you find yourself within the medieval walls of the building.
The Piazza also sees the presence of a tall 14th Century Torre
(Tower) and the Loggia del Capitanio, “one of the final
works of Palladio which sadly has remained unfinished.
Other important sites of the city are the Chiesa di Santa
Corona – on a lateral road of the Corso Palladio and
a Dominican church dating back to 1261, which preserves notable
works by Veronese, Bellini and Bassano – and the Duomo
(Cathedral) a Renaissance remake of the pre-existing Gothic
On the outskirts of Vicenza, there are at
least two sites of notable interest. One is the Basilica di
Monte Berico: a much loved Meta for Pilgrimage for the faithful;
the present day church is positioned on the site of a miraculous
apparition of the Virgin Mary, dating back to the 1600’s.
The other Meta, in this case purely artistic, is the Villa
Almerico-Capra called La Rotonda, one of the most characteristic
and famous constructions of Palladio, dating back to 1550:
a masterpiece of harmony and serene beauty situated on a hill
– the villa can be found around 3km from the city. To
visit this villa, it’s necessary to confirm through
the Tourist Office; which can be found in the city at the
entrance to the Teatre Olimpico (Olympic Theatre) –
the view over the Vicenza countryside, thanks to its four
symmetrical facades with respect to its central body, is characterized
by a pronaos with a flight of steps and columns. The name
“Rotonda” is derived from the central room surmounted
by a very large dome: a solution which resembles the Pantheon
of Rome, precisely called “la rotunda”.