Villa Almerico Capra detta "La Rotonda"
Villa Almerico Capra Valmarana «La Rotonda»
. not farther from town than a quarter of a mile. one could say it stands in the Town itself lungi dalla Citta meno di un quarto di miglio. si puo dire che sia nella Citta istessa. This is why it offers splendid views. loggias have been built on every front. (from “The Second Book of Architecture by A. Palladio”)
The original of Palladio’s most famous villa stands in the suburbs of Vicenza, on the state road n.247 “Riviera Berica”, which runs south towards No- venta Vicentina. Palladio designs it in 1566 for the canon Paolo Almerico, who after leaving his brilliant career at the papal court, comes back to his birthplace and prefers the quiet countryside to the family palace. However, it will take forty years, at the end of which both the architect and his client will pass away, for the brothers Odorico and Mario Capra, who took over the property, and the architect Scamozzi, Palladio’s spiritual heir, to finish the works. It is no coincidence that the villa stands on top of a hill, in the countryside that stretches out from the banks of the river Bacchiglione to the Colli Berici. The image is the image of a temple-villa, almost cubical, with facades bearing a pronaos with majestic Ionic colonnades and triangular tympanums, topped by a dome which at the beginПing was planned like the Roman Pantheon, and should be opened by an oeil-de-boeuf, but then was squashed and closed. The core of the geometric system is the person whose view wanders all around. The symbolism of the building is blatant: the combination of the perfect volumes, the cube and the sphere, with the corners pointing towards the cardinal points, Plato’s conception of the universal order. The service buildings are not only separated from the villa, but also hidden from view, behind the hill.
From this point of view it is important that the Villa Rotonda has been inserted into the volume of the Four Books of Architecture which is dedicated to the palaces, more a suburban residence than a country house and farm. Its basement is dedicated to the service rooms, and the piano nobile is arranged around a majestic circular hall which takes up the whole height, hence the name “Rotonda” (round), with access corridors and corner rooms on two levels (on the upper floor, the author’s intention was to turn them into a sort of covered passageway).
The central hall is as magnificent as a church, which is unique in Palladio’s civil architecture, and depends probably on the ecclesiastical rank of the first client
Decorations are extraordinary from every point of view. The inside paintings by various authors culminates in the work of Dorigny of the 17th-18th century. Sculptures can be found on the outside (the statues by Albanese on the tympanums) and on the inside, with stuccos and chimneys probably мейд by Vittoria.
It is interesting to note that the main entrance originally was the one towards the river; it is still preceded by a long grassy slope, while the present one was the service entrance, aligned with the service building. The romantic park is also remarkable; it opens up to the cultivated land all around.
This residence has been imitated many times over the centuries, particularly in England. Recently a copy has been built in Nablus, Palestine (see picture).
Villa Almerico Capra Valmarana detta "La Rotonda"
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