Located near Vicenza, Villa Almerico Capra – also known as La Rotonda – is without a doubt one of Veneto’s most famous villas. It is considered the ideal architecture by Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), who designed it in 1566 for Paolo Almerico, a count and priest from Vicenza who lived in Rome for many years.
For centuries, the villa became an essential reference for a number of other buildings scattered around the world. It features a square floor plan with loggias and staircases on the four sides around a central dome that resembles the one over the Pantheon in Rome.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe once stated,
Perhaps the art of architecture has never reached such level of magnificence. And according to some experts, the German author had La Rotonda in mind when he wrote the “Mignon” poem in his 1795 novel, “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship”:
Dost know the house, its roofs do columns bear, / The hall with splendor bright, the chambers glare? / Therein stand marble forms, and look at me.
Perhaps he was alluding to the sculptures that decorate the interior of the building, alongside frescoes such as the remarkable ones in the central hall, by Parisian painter Louis Dorigny.
Enjoy the beauty of this building, which – again quoting Goethe, in his “Italian Journey” –
appears in all its magnificence, when viewed from any spot in the district [and] also forms the point of view for a most agreeable prospect.