Moving out of the city of Venice, around the Veneto is our next destination! In the northern Italian cities of Verona and Vicenza, there are ancient Roman monuments, churches and Palladian Villas spread throughout the Veneto.
The Italian city of Verona, in northeast Italy has a rich history and a connection to antiquity. Though the details of Verona’s earlier history remains somewhat of a mystery, the city was an important city of the Roman Empire and has many monuments still standing today which allude to its power and prominence.
With the conquest of the Po River valley, the area became a roman territory around the year 300 BC, it became a Roman colony in 89 BC and a Roman municipium in 49 BC. Because of its location being at the intersection of several roads, Verona became an important city for travelers. In ancient times, many groups fought over control of Verona and there were many momentous power shifts. As a result, there are many ancient monuments in Verona paying homage to the different Roman fortifications.
Notable monuments, architecture:
- -The Amphitheater
- -The Roman Theater
- -The Roman Gates
- -The Duomo
Due to the abundance of Roman monuments, Verona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Roman Amphitheater
Quite possibly the most famous site in all of Verona, the Roman amphitheater is found in the city’s largest piazza, the Piazza Bra. The arena was completed around 30 AD and it is the third largest arena in Italy. It was expected to seat over 25,000 people on 44 rows of marble seating.
The Porta Bosari is an archway at the end of the Corso porta bosari, or the gate of the priginal Roman city walls. The inscription is dated from 245 AD and the city’s name is inscribed as the Colonia vecchia augusta.
The Porta Leoni is a 1st century BC ruin of what once was part of a Roman city gate. The street is actually still an open archaeological site.
Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore
Considered as one of the greatest achievements in Romanesque architecture, the Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore was built between 1123 and 1135 over the shrine to patron saint, St. Zeno. Flanked by a 72 meter campanile, which is mentioned by Dante in Canto 18 of the Divine Comedy, the basilica dominates the large square. each side of the doorway is embellished with 18 bas relief biblical scenes. The church has underlying Ottonian and traditional influences.
Duomo di Verona
After the earthquake of 1117, the Duomo di Verona, or Cattedrale di Santa Maria Matricolare, was built and consecrated in 1187. It was built on the same site as two earlier Paleochristian churches. It is designed in the Romanesque style, though it has Gothic renovations that occurred in the 14th century and Baroque renovations from the 17th century. Its interior is clad in red Verona marble and is the work of 15th century renovations.
The House of Juliet Capulet
Known in Italian as the casa di giulietta , the House of Juliet Capulet is the house where Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet lived according to the tragedy.
The city of Vicenza in northeastern Italy is known for its Palladian villas. Vicenza is around 37 miles west of Venice and 124 miles east of Milan. Vicenza, a translation of Vincentia, or “Victorious”, was given Roman citizenship in 49 BC. Its location was on a road leading to Padua. Vicenza fell under many different rules, Byzantine rules, Lombard rule and Frankish rule. Vicenza eventually came under the rule of Venice in 1404. In the 16th century, the architect, Andrea Palladio designed many important villas surrounding Vicenza and improved the status of the city since at the time it was seen as an aesthetically-lacking part of the Veneto. In the later centuries, Vicenza was under the Napoleonic rule then Austrian rule.
In 1994, Vicenza, nicknamed “City of Palladio” was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 1996, the status was extended to include the surrounding villas.
Important villas, basillicas:
- –Villa Valmarana
- –Villa Rotonda
- –Basilica Palladiana
The Villa Valmarana was built in 1669 for the lawyer, Giovanni Maria Bertolo, who left it for his daughter, Giulia, who was a nun at the Padua Monastery of Ognissanti. In 1715, Giustino Valmarana bought the villa from the Monastery and enlarged the property. The Villa contains many works by Tiepolo.
I have included the link to the official website of the Villa Valmarana. I find it a pretty fantastic resource: http://www.villavalmarana.com
The Villa Rotonda is a Renaissance villa designed by Andrea Palladio outside of Vicenza, Italy. Formally called the villa almerico capra, it is more commonly known as the “Villa Rotonda.” Palladio called for a completely symmetrical design atop a hill, with four facades and a projecting portico. Its nickname, la rotonda refers to the circular dome. Its design reflects the desire for symmetry of architecture and the humanist values of the Renaissance. The building began in 1567, though Palladio never saw it completed, as he dies in 1580.
The Basilica Palladiana is a Renaissance-style building which is next to the Piazza dei Signori in Vicenza. It is most known for its loggia, which has the trademark Palladian window. Originally constructed in the 15th century and known as the Palazzo della Ragione, the Basilica Palladiana was a Gothic-style design. Its clock tower, known as the torre della bissara, precedes the structure, and records of its construction date back to 1172.