VICENZA

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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 Palladio.

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 church.

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”.

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