` Wednesday, September 21: Vicenza, Villa La Rotonda, Teatro Olimpico, Villa Querini Stampalia (for dinner)

Wednesday, September 21: Vicenza, Villa La Rotonda, Teatro Olimpico, Villa Querini Stampalia (for dinner)

Take a deep breath. I have a huge number of pictures for the amazing places we visited this day!

Vicenza is my favorite place in Veneto (well, not including Venice - Venice is in a class of its own). It has the air of a university town although I'm not sure right now if there is a university there. Nearby is one of the most famous of Palladio's villas, La Rotonda, apparently the inspiration for Jefferson's Monticello and also Washington D.C.'s capitol building. The Teatro Olimpico is a Renaissance theater that is breathtaking, and, still in use. In the evening, we were treated to a wonderful four-course dinner at another working villa, Querini Stampalia.

  1. The wonderful villa "La Rotonda", with the sun against her. Architect Andrea Palladio; 1566-1580; completed by a student upon Palladio's death.

  2. Careful viewers will notice Marilyn, Charlotte, Dick ahead of me.

  3. If you were a statue, you would be glad to spend all eternity here,

  4. A park among parks.

  5. This is a Bad Picture(tm). But for some reason, I like the play of light over iron over dark. What you can't' quite see is an iron circular grate in the center of La Rotonda, guarding a jolly figure.

  6. The jolly figure.

  7. The dome of La Rotunda. I was legally taking these pictures without flash, I wasn't being an international art criminal.

  8. I won't even apologize for this one. I rather like like. Light and pillar casting light-shadow inside.

  9. I was captivated by the windows. This one has a milky blue pool of light across the floor.

  10. This time, the drapes hedge in the light, as if to assert sovereignty.

  11. Out there, beyond the grill work, the pillars are free.

  12. He oversees.

  13. My favorite - the lovely so-called grotesque drawings.

  14. I think I like the light touch, the scant filling in of the enormous white space. And the clever and cute subjects.

  15. Light explodes. Marilyn safely has her back turned.

  16. You have to admit this is slightly different from the preceding shots of windows of light.

  17. From pillar to bare-bottomed angel to tourists walking in the park.

  18. I must have gotten second wind for the dome.

  19. The nearby town of Vicenza looks peaceful.

  20. An angle that lops off its most recognizable feature.

  21. The side view only hints at the dome.

  22. Columns to live by. And words too, if I only knew what it said.

  23. I think I should go into the postcard business. Where are you going to see all proportions laid out like that, and with a blue sky background, to boot?

  24. Shadows of arches.

  25. It looks like it was built yesterday, not in the 1500s.

  26. I won't even sell this one to the postcard company. I love this interplay of light and shadow, arch and arrogant pointed roof.

  27. The dignified perspective, with the squashed dome peering out. (After his death, a student of Palladio's completed La Rotonda, but squashed the dome.) But one thing to know about this villa: it defiantly has four perfect sides. It does not have a bad side.

  28. Stately. Eat your heart out, Jefferson.

  29. The statues may have been put in over Palladio's objections. It was the style of the times.

  30. The dome does look a bit deflated.

  31. Vicenza.

  32. What is lighter, the clouds or the columns?

  33. Venetian eastern-inspired arched windows.

  34. You feel at home, protected, in these elegant alleys.

  35. The blue-roofed structure at the opening of the alley is Palladio's Basilica in Vicenza. This is not a religious building, but rather is used for civic functions and offices of all sorts.

  36. Claudio, our man from Seattle and the inspiration behind "Palladio Tours"! Not to mention the founding spirit, the directions-to-the-villa finder, ... He took the train from Milano to Vicenza to meet up with us for lunch.

  37. An unremarkable (though beautiful) street in Vicenza.

  38. An insurance office inside a grand old building covered with frescos!

  39. Either the motorbikes are very small, or the arches and columns and porches are very tall.

  40. The approach to Teatro Olimpico.

  41. The center of the 16th century theater called Teatro Olimpico. The wondrous backstage reaches back as far as 45 feet - there are numerous places where actors can lurk and burst forth. It looks perfect for Shakespeare.

  42. A conclave. We decide to split up for an hour or so. Mom and I head to a caffe. We peeked into an Internet caffe, but it was crowded and very hot.

    Villa Querini Stampalia, 15 miles south of Vicenza, with private dinner hosted by the owner:

  43. The chapel on the villa's grounds.

  44. Stage left, enter the young man who is seemingly head of the estate.

  45. I may have annoyed by inadvertently taking some flash pictures. The chapel is simple and soothing. It is not used for mass on Sundays, but they do hold weddings there, when people request to hold their wedding and reception at the villa.

  46. St. Catherine of Siena.

  47. A Venetian arch peers from behind the heavy-laden fruit tree. A wispy ghostly shade of Mom hides on the left ...

  48. Bells in twilight.

  49. I love the gorgeous detailed curve of the basilica.

  50. Villa Querini-Stampalia. The trim along the roof is an evocation of fortress - this is not a fightin' villa! Just decoration.

  51. The people are just there to provide perspective. This is arches-within-arch. Or, the entry way.

  52. It might be just me, but I bet the guy who designed the arch had this view in mind.

  53. Mom messes with her camera in a most scenic setting.

  54. Arches within arches in the setting sun. You probably figured by now I have a thing for arches.

  55. The curving red-pink rose pays homage to the graceful statue.

  56. Rita ebullient. I think she derives every-fresh energy from every architectural site or artistic monument.

  57. A plaintive face on the villa.

  58. One can't be sure, but it's likely the two-story echo of the arch is derived from Palladio's designs. It's very soothing.

  59. The chapel at sunset.

  60. A side view. Note: the current owners are deliberately leaving the facade of the villa as it is - somewhat crumbling - as they feel this is authentic. They do not feel it would be improved by some 21st century notion of restoration.

  61. This is the father of the fellow who seems to be running the villa - in oher words, the patriarch of the place. He stands next to the well.

  62. The red road out.

  63. The warm light of the dining room beckon.

  64. A poor shot of the fields. This is a working villa, and they have acres of fields, including the ubiquitous vine.

  65. We are circling around the villa, getting ready to go in. This shows the back side.

  66. The long side of the villa and the well.

  67. Inside the villa, a contemporary portrait of her: first I love the flowing colors; second I love that the artist chose my favorite angle of the villa through the entrace gate.

  68. Our table is set beneath the curves of a Venetian chandelier.

  69. The secret passageway to the secret (tiny) kitchen! This was not the kitchen used to prepare our four-course dinner. Although I did see something bubbling on the range.

  70. Perhaps not-quite-period furnishings -- but another attempt to photograph the lovely Venetian chandelier.

  71. Not an altogether unworthy homage to the beloved chandelier. It's all glass.

  72. I count four doorways here - although I'm not sure now what part of the villa they are in.

  73. Detail.

  74. Geraniums look out over the road and fields.

  75. Now this is my idea of a bookcase.

  76. 2nd floor grace.

  77. The chapel and the gate, as seen from the second story, in twilight. The large reddish plaza is used for wedding receptions - we saw pictures in their albums, very nice!

  78. It wasn't this dark at dinner. Mea maxima lighting culpa.

  79. Rita and Marilyn engaged, no doubt, in an Italian lesson.

  80. Our host and his fiancee.

  81. They are to marry next year.

  82. Mom paying rapt attention to ... perhaps the enumeration of the primi piatti? At the foot of the table is the mother of our host, or, shall we say, the OPs of the villa.

Marianne Mueller
Last modified: October 6, 2005