One of the best parts of my recent trip to Italy (besides the amazing anniversary/birthday celebration!) was visiting Villa Barbaro, about an hour inland from Venice in the Veneto region. With map in hand, we headed straight for Villa Barbaro in our sporty Italian rental car. We made a day of it and also toured another Palladian work—Villa Emo—and planned lunch on the garden terrace of Hotel Villa Cipriani in the picturesque hillside town of Asolo.
I’ve always been a huge fan of the work of Andrea Palladio. I studied his architecture in school and his classical principles have played a large part in my own design experience. It was great to finally see an example of his in person.
Palladio is a champion of symmetry and Villa Barbaro considered one of his masterpieces. Built as a countryside estate in 1557, the building has characteristic Palladian elements. The central living residence and side pavilions are built of stone covered in stucco—a technique he used often—and I love the patina on the exterior. It was a thrill to tour the grand rooms inside, decorated with their ornate murals, sculptures, and beautiful stone and inlaid flooring. But the best part was experiencing the strong visual axis points throughout the house—each direction had a view to the landscape or to successive grand doorways to other rooms.
The structure is meant to mimic traditional farmhouses in the region and we enjoyed touring the grounds, which offer an expansive view of the surrounding green landscape. There’s nothing quite like spending a beautiful day in the Italian countryside.
Here are a few of my favorite examples of the villa:
lunch on the terrace – Hotel Villa Cipriani
Next week I’ll post more architectural details from Venice. Stay tuned!
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