Palladian Villas

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Often proclaimed the "Father of Western Architecture", Palladio leaves behind a legacy of neo-classical civic buildings, churches, villas, palaces and bridges strewn about the Veneto.  This page focuses on his villas and may gradually expand as I overcome the vagaries of Italian road signs and eventually discover the remaining ones.  Unlike the urban palaces, Palladio's villas are located in the countryside usually with the dual purpose of residence and farm building, though sometimes as little more than elaborate recreational follies.

The notion of the "Perfect House"  is primarily one of mathematical correctness in proportions of column height, width and spacing, not of comfort or practicality, ostensibly derived from Vitruvius' de Architectura of 15BC.  This despite the equal weight placed by Vitruvius on the other desirable attributes of any building,  "firmness, commodity and delight".  The Palladian quest for symmetrical perfection at the expense of function somehow ignores the fact that Vitruvius' treatise is inconsistent both internally and in its record of the actual dimensions of Greek and Roman remains on which it is purportedly based.  Not only that, but Palladio himself often ignores those same proportions when they are inconvenient.

Regardless of their mathematical correctness, these villas in their context are pretty cool, though possibly less so when transposed to the blasted moorlands of Scotland.

La Rotonda La Malcontenta Villa Barbaro Villa Emo
Villa Piovene Villa Godi    


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Jeremy Harrison 2005-2020