Andrea Palladio: Tracing the Past










Andrea Palladio had is own ideas about good architecture, and not only did he publish them in his Qvattro Libri Dell’Architettvra, but he also built wonderful villas and palaces.

My interest in Palladio began with a fascination by his villas, but I soon discovered he must have been a very interesting person. He studied antique buildings – his Qvattro Libri feature the Maison Carrée at Nîmes, for example – and tried to establish a theory of architecture which he promoted in his books, along with his own projects.


The pictures I chose for this post mostly feature the Palazzo della Ragione in Vicenza – basically a town hall. In his Third Book, Palladio suggests to call this kind of building Basilica, since it fulfilled the function of an ancient Roman basilica. He then considers the architectural differences between ancient and modern basilicas; there are, he relays, quite beautiful basilicas in Padova and Brescia…

Yet another one is in Vicenza; I have included the designs of this one alone because the porticoes around it were devised by me and because I have no doubt at all that this building can be compared to antique structures and included amongst the greatest and most beautiful buildings built since antiquiy, both for its size and its ornaments. (Andrea Palladio, The Four Books on Architecture. Translated by Robert Tavernor and Richard Schofield. Cambridge, London: MIT Press, 2002. p. 203)

Et un’altra uen è in Vicenza, della quale solamente ho posto i disegni, perche i portichi, ch’ella hà d’intorno, sono di mia inuentione:  e perche non dubito che questa fabrica non possa esser comparata à gli edificij antichi; & annouerata tra le maggiori, e le più belle fabriche, che siano state fatte da gli antichi in quà, si per la grandezza, e per gli ornamenti suoi (I Qvattro Libri Dell’Architettvra, p. 41)

I, too, post a disegno*, because for me the designs are as intriguing as the buildings themselves. | *Source: Andrea Palladio, I Qvattro Libri Dell’Architettvra: Ne’ quali, dopo vn breue trattato de’ cinque ordini, [e] di quelli auertimenti, che sono piu necessarij nel fabricare; Si Tratta Delle Case Private, delle Vie, dei Ponti, delle Piazze, dei Xisti, et de’ Tempij — Venezia 1581. Digitalization by Universtätsbibliothek Heidelberg.

This is my contribution for Paleica’s Magic Motto: Tracing the Past / Auf den Spuren von Geschichte und Vergangenheit.