The name of Vicenza is primarily associated with that of Andrea Palladio. Although the great architect was born in Padua, he trained and lived predominantly in the Vicenza area. Both the city of Vicenza itself and the numerous Venetian villas he designed were granted the title of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1994 and 1996, respectively.
One of the representative buildings of his genius is the Palladian Basilica, which houses three exhibition spaces, including the grand hall, and hosts architecture and art exhibitions every year. This building, easily recognizable for its hull-shaped roof resembling an inverted ship, was designed by Palladio based on the study of the Palazzo della Ragione in Padua, which had adopted this solution over a century earlier.
An opportunity to visit this impressive building is the exhibition 'Tre capolavori a Vicenza' (Three masterpieces in Vicenza) curated by Guido Beltramini and Francesca Cappelletti. Born thanks to the co-organization of Intesa Sanpaolo, the exhibition event offers visitors the chance to view Caravaggio's 'San Girolamo,' created in 1606 and housed in the Galleria Borghese in Rome, Van Dyck's 'The Four Ages of Man' from the Civic Museums of Vicenza, and a new work by the contemporary Vicentine artist Arcangelo Sassolino, titled 'No Memory Without Loss,' created specifically for the event.
The exhibition will be open from December 16, 2023, to February 4, 2024, and will be free for residents of Vicenza city and province, while it will cost 5 euros for other visitors. However, they can access the reduced-rate entry to another 'masterpiece' of the city, Gallerie d’Italia - Vicenza, located at the Palazzo Leoni Montanari.
This building, spared from the heavy bombings of the Second World War, has become the property of the Intesa Sanpaolo group, which has included it in its Gallerie d'Italia circuit, a museum complex consisting of 4 museums containing some of the most significant works of art owned by the banking group. Officially opened to the public in 1999, it houses two permanent collections of Venetian painting from the eighteenth century and Russian icons, along with numerous other temporary exhibitions and an important collection of vases from Greece.
To conclude on a high note, we recommend a visit to the third 'masterpiece' of Vicenza, Palazzo Chiericati, the historical seat of the civic museum since 1855. It houses important collections of drawings, paintings, prints, numismatics, and medieval and modern statuary, as well as a collection of 33 original drawings by Andrea Palladio, donated to the museum in 1839.
The original design of the building dates back to the great architect himself, who drew the facade in two superimposed orders (Doric columns on the lower floor, while Ionic columns on the upper). This solution had never been used for city palaces before, but Palladio adopted it from the style he applied to the famous villas he constructed.