An upcoming exhibition in Vicenza, Italy – Jefferson and Palladio – Constructing a New World – focuses on the classic Italian architecture of Palladio and how Thomas Jefferson used Palladio’s style to design his home and influence the design of much of early American architecture.
From the exhibition website: “Jefferson and Palladio – Constructing a New World is the first-ever exhibition dedicated to the great American Palladian in Europe. It will enable visitors to explore Jefferson’s world, his art collections, architectural designs, dreams, and also his contradictions, through drawings, sculptures, precious books, architectural models, films and multimedia.”
Andrea Palladio, born 1508 in Padua, Italy, is the architect responsible for the classic look of the buildings in Venice and Vicenza. His designs are copied all over the world. Besides designing or influencing the design of most of the important buildings in Venice, nearby Vicenza has a unique position in the world of architecture.
There are 23 examples of Andrea Palladio’s work in the town of Vicenza, with walking tours laid out to view them all. An additional 16 villas in his elegant classical design are located outside the town in the Vicenza region, of which Venice is a part. All are designated as unique buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
In 1570, when at the height of his career, Andrea Palladio published “The Four Books of Architecture”, a compendium of all he learned about classic design and the uses of concrete. This collection of his teachings led to the development of the school of architecture known as Palladianism, which is still studied more than four centuries later.
Today, Andrea Palladio is widely recognized as the most influential architect of all time. He created the classical look of architecture using columned and curved openings, with rotundras, capitals and eye-catching details, that was adopted throughout Europe and eventually the world. Classically educated Thomas Jefferson adopted the Palladian style as well, and championed its use in the New World.
Andrea Palladio’s designs are familiar to North Americans, where perhaps the best known example of the “Palladian Style” can be seen in Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. It is modeled after the most famous Palladio building, Villa Almerico Capra Valmarana, also known as “La Rotonda”.
Designed in 1566 for a retiring Papal official, this symmetrical square building has a round center-domed room originally open at the top to the elements. La Rotonda commands a hilltop view of the river lowlands and the Town of Vicenza. It was truly a grand design based on Plato’s concept of universal order, where the cube, with corners marking the points of the compass, houses a sphere with a central hall as magnificent as any church.
Vicenza is an amazing fall destination, off season but moderate weather means fewer crowds to experience the architectural beauty, fine wines and magnificent Italian dining found throughout the region. Let this exhibition open the door to one of the most exciting regions of Italy to visit, now or anytime.
The exhibition is at Palladio Museum, Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, contrà Porti, Vicenza, Italy, from September 23rd, 2015 – March 28th, 2016.
The Vicenzia region is to Venice what the State of New York is to the City of New York, the second home and vacation area that produces all the goods and services that keep the city running. From ski resorts in the Italian Alps to world class Palladio architecture, from excellent vineyards in the midlands to organic farms on the lowlands, this region is a tourist destination in its own right.
For tourist information refer to the Vicenza è Tourism Consortium website or email Vicenza.
Hotel Palladio, located in the heart of Vicenza, is a very stylish conversion of an ancient building into a chic boutique hotel. Original 15th century architectural details remain, juxtaposed with extremely modern touches and all the conveniences one expects in a very good hotel. It is within walking distance of all Vicenza’s major attractions.