Vicenza, altitude [of the villa] 55 m/180 feet above sea level; Via della Rotonda 45; train station at Vicenza 2 km/1.2 miles to the north. By bicycle the villa is easily reached by way of the Vicenza-Noventa Vicentina bike route which follows along Viale Riviera Berica.
The most famous of the Palladio villas was started in 1556 commissioned by the Vicentine ecclesiastic, Paolo Almerico; with Palladio’s death in 1580 it was still incomplete and lacking a roof, which was completed in 1585 by Vincenzo Scamozzi, with a rotund dome, although a little flatter than the original Palladio design; the nickname Rotonda became associated with the entire structure, further emphasized by the centralized symmetry that characterizes the floor plan: the four elevations are virtually identical, each with a pronaos [portico or porch] with six columns.
In presenting this villa in his Second Book of Architecture Palladio justifies this by writing: “…therefore, as it enjoys from every part most beautiful views, some of which are limited, some more extended, and others that terminate with the horizon; there are loggia’s [sic] made in all the four fronts”.
In 1591 the villa passed to the Capra family; in 1911 it became the property of the Valmarana family from Venice; the interior is open to the public between March and October and year round to visit the grounds; more information is available on the official villa website.