This beautiful Palladian villa, commissioned in 1556 as a suburban residence for Paolo Almerico, is the purest expression of Palladio's architectural theory and aesthetic. More a villa-temple than a residence, it contradicts the rational utilitarianism of Renaissance architecture and demonstrates the priority Palladio gave to the architectural symbolism of celestial harmony over practical considerations. A visit to view the interior can be difficult to schedule—the villa remains privately owned—but this is a worthwhile stop, if only to see how Palladio's harmonious arrangement of smallish, interconnected rooms around a central domed space paid little attention to the practicalities of living. The interior decoration, mainly later baroque stuccowork, contains some allegorical frescos in the cupola by Palladio's contemporary, Alessando Maganza. Even without a peek inside, experiencing the exterior and the grounds is a must for any visit to Vicenza. The villa is a 20-minute walk from town or a short ride on Bus 8 from Vicenza's Piazza Roma.
Via della Rotonda, Vicenza, 36100, Italy