Villa La Rotonda


Oct 27, 9:15 am09:15 Uhr

About the event

Although the Vil­la La Roton­da is the uni­ver­sal icon of the Pal­la­di­an vil­la, in real­i­ty its own­er con­sid­ered it an urban res­i­dence, or, more appro­pri­ate­ly, a sub­ur­ban one. Pao­lo Almeri­co in fact sold his own palace in the city in order to move just beyond its walls, and Pal­la­dio him­self pub­lished the Roton­da amongst the pal- aces, not the vil­las, in the Quat­tro Lib­ri. Oth­er­wise the vil­la is iso­lat­ed on the crest of a small hill and orig­i­nal­ly there were no agri­cul­tur­al depen­den­cies. The canon Pao­lo Almeri­co, for whom Pal­la­dio designed the vil­la in 1566, was a man of shift­ing for­tunes, who had returned to Vicen­za after a bril­liant career in the Papal court. The vil­la was already inhab­it­able in 1569, but still incom­plete, and in 1591, two years after Almerico’s death, it was ced­ed to the broth­ers Odori­co and Mar­co Capra who saw it through to com­ple­tion. Scamozzi, who suc­ceed­ed Pal­la­dio as archi­tect after 1580, sub­stan­tial­ly com­plet­ed the project with some devi­a­tions, which recent stud­ies tend to con- sider very con­ser­v­a­tive. Cer­tain­ly not a vil­la-farm, the Vil­la La Roton­da is rather a vil­la-tem­ple, an abstrac­tion, a mir­ror of a high­er order and har­mo­ny. Its cor­ners are ori­ent­ed to the four com­pass points, and it wish­es to be seen above all as a vol­ume, cube and sphere, almost as if it recalled the basic solids of the Pla­ton­ic uni­verse. Cer­tain­ly, the sources for such a cen­tral­ly planned res­i­den­tial build­ing were var­i­ous, from the project of Francesco di Gior­gio inspired by the Vil­la Hadri­ana or the “Study of Var­ro”, to Mantegna’s own house in Man­tua (or the “Cam­era degli Sposi” in the Palaz­zo Ducale), to Raphael’s project for the Vil­la Madama. Nev­er­the­less, the Vil­la La Roton­da remains unique in the archi­tec­ture of any epoch, almost as if, by build­ing a vil­la which cor­re­spond­ed per­fect­ly unto itself, Pal­la­dio had wished to con­struct an ide­al mod­el of his own archi­tec­ture.

The dec­o­ra­tion of the build­ing is sump­tu­ous, with works by Loren­zo Rubi­ni and Giambat­tista Albanese (stat­ues), Agosti­no Rubi­ni, Ottovio Ridolfi, Bas­capè, Fontana and per­haps Alessan­dro Vit­to­ria (the plas­ter dec­o­ra­tions of the ceil­ings and fire­places), Ansel­ma Canera, Bernadi­no India, Alessan­dro Mag­a­n­za and much lat­er Ludovi­co Dorigny (pic­to­r­i­al dec­o­ra­tions). “La Roton­da” was acquired by Count Andrea di Val­marana in 1921. The vil­la was in a seri­ous state of decline, hav­ing suf­fered through two world wars and an ear­li­er attack by the Aus­tri­ans. Count Val­marana began an exten­sive work of restora­tion which went on for years.