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Tom Weber: Basilica Palladiana
Basilica Palladiana
Story, photos and video by Tom Weber

a statue of Italian Renaissance master builder Palladio or Andrea Di Pietro della Gondola

idely considered to be the most influential individual in the history of Western architecture, Renaissance master builder Andrea Palladio created an architectural style known the world over as Palladianism. The epicenter of his life's work is stunningly on display in Vicenza -- City of Palladio -- in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy.

Within the historic city walls, 23 individual buildings or sections of buildings were designed, reconstructed or attributed to Palladio. Among these is the just-restored Basilica Palladiana (f.n.a. Palazzo della Ragione).

Standing ornate alongside Vicenza's "living room" -- Piazza dei Signori -- the Basilica was originally constructed in the 15th century and served as the seat of government. When part of the building collapsed, Palladio was commissioned, in 1549, to put it back into shape.

architectural design work of the Basilica Palladiana from Palladio

He redesigned the structure, adding a new outer-shell of columns in the classic Roman style, a loggia and a portico. These refinements covered completely the building's original Gothic style. Unfortunately, the renovation project was not finished until 1614, nearly 35-years after Palladio's death.

Flash forward 500 years after Palladio's passing, and today the Basilica is as good as new. After a five-year restoration project costing nearly $30 million dollars, Vicenza recently reopened the Basilica to much fanfare.

poster for the Raffaello verso Picasso exhibition

In honor of Palladio, a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of 90 pieces of priceless art – Raffaello verso Picasso (Raffaello towards Picasso) – is on display inside the Basilica until January 20, 2013. Along with works from the two titlists, the exhibition features work by Botticelli, Veronese, El Greco, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, just to name a few.

It's really hard to imagine that before Palladio's passage through Vicenza, it was arguably one of the more downtrodden and esthetically lacking cities of the old Republic of Venice. Today, thanks to that young stonemason, the City of Palladio is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Enjoy the video.

Related Articles:
Vicenza: The City of Palladio; Far From Madison County; The Little Village Atop the Hill (Castelluccio di Norcia); Norcia, Umbria; Cape of Circeo, Italy; Piovene Rocchette, Italy; Northern Italy; Lake Como; Tuscany; Rome


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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal



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