The Veneto by bicycleVenetian Villas
Villa Chiericati at Vancimuglio (VI)
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Map of the villa and surroundings

Vancimuglio, a hamlet of the town of Grumolo delle Abbadesse, altitude 20 m/66 feet above sea level; train stations at Lerino about 3 km/2 miles to the north, or at Vicenza about 10 km/6 miles to the west; the villa entrance is off SR 11 (former statale [state road] 11 – the Padana Superiore); it can be reached by bicycle from the Vicenza-Noventa Vicentina bike route by way of a 4 km/2.5 mile side-trip from Longare.

The Vicentine brothers Giovanni and Girolamo Chiericati commissioned Andrea Palladio, around 1550, in the design of this farm villa in an area of rice paddies, along with the monumental palazzo in Vicenza proper.

In reality only the design of the villa is definitely attributable to Palladio; there are many details that cause one to believe that the construction was left to others who did not fully respect the original design; for example the windows very close to the corners of the facade seem to ignore one of the recommendations by Palladio from I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura [The Four Books of Architecture] to avoid weakening the structure.

Although not that well known, the villa is important because it is the first design in which Palladio uses a portico based on a Greek temple front with Ionic columns and a triangular pediment, which were to become the most visible characteristics of the Palladian style.

The villa was subsequently owned by the Porto and Rigo families, and today at the entrance the sign says only “Villa Da Porto Rigo”. The villa and garden can be visited but only by prior arrangement with the owner.

Latest visit: 2013-01-01

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