Palladio’s last days at Villa Barbaro in Maser
Villa Barbaro in Maser, Treviso, is one of the best and final gifts that Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) left to this world.
The great Paduan architect – who created
superb buildings in his homeland and elsewhere, which contend with the ancients, giving light to the modern people and astonishment to those who will follow – died in Maser after building the villa for his clients. The Barbaro brothers were of an aristocratic Venetian family: Marcantonio was an ambassador, and Daniele was a cardinal – later elected Patriarch of Aquileia – as well as a humanist and philosopher (and the author of the kind words we quoted above).
Palladio probably built the residence – now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List – between 1554 and 1560, transforming the Barbaro family’s medieval palace into a splendid countryside house, home to one of the most important fresco cycles from Veneto’s 16th-century school, by Paolo Veronese.
According to tradition, Palladio spent his last days at the bottom of the hill where the villa is. He was supervising for his noble clients the construction of a small parish and chapel, now known as Tempietto Barbaro.
And any visitors today cannot help but agree with Cardinal Barbaro: this villa is an astonishing, superb building.