Day 14: Liberation Day, rain, no Palladio in Vicenza

This day was the Liberation Day holiday that celebrates the victory of the Resistance against the Nazis in WWII, specifically in Milan on April 25, but now celebrated across Italy as the day the Nazis were expelled.

The day started with heavy rain and loud thunder. When the sun started to peek between the clouds, we decided it was safe to venture out.

For a change of pace, we went to a villa that was not designed or built by Palladio but was started in the late 1600s, Villa Valmarana ai Nani.

As the literature from the Villa explains:

Villa Valmarana ai Nani is composed of three buildings, the Palazzina (Owners’ Residence) built in 1669, the Foresteria (Guest-House) and the Scuderia (Stables) built in 1720. They are embraced by a large historical park with rose gardens, a “giardino all’italiana” with its open air theatre and double hornbeams alley terminating with a statue of Neptune.

The Villa takes its name from the statues of the 17 stone dwarfs, originally placed in the garden, now on the walls surrounding the house and which inspired the Villa’s legend of Princess Layana. The dwarfs were probably sculpted by Francesco Uliaco, most likely from the drawings by Giandomenico Tiepolo.

The Palazzina and the Foresteria are frescoed by Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, hired in 1757 by Giustino Valmarana.

The Valmarana family still lives in the Villa, which is universally considered the highest expression of the painting of the eighteenth century and one of the highest examples of the Tiepolo’s genius.

The above description from the Villa does not explain that Giambattista and Giandemenico were father and son. The father was responsible for the grander mythological scenes while the son did many of the scenes of landscape and peasants.

Both worked together on some of the walls—below: dad on the left, son on the right.

The frescoes included some dogs.

The building was bombed during WWII and fire destroyed the roof of one room.

It used to looked like this:

The Guest House building includes a caffeteria where we had a little lunch.

We took a short taxi ride back to the historic centre.

I have to confess that we went to the Museo Naturalistico Archeologico because the Vicenza card gave us free admission and we wanted to use the bathrooms. It turned out to have some interesting displays of excavations of Roman ruins and artifacts found in Vicenza.

Scott was very interested to see stone arrow heads, spear points and scrapers.

We missed the Festa di Liberazione speeches by the mayor and others in Piazza dei Signori, the piazza by Basilica Palladiana, but lots of people were strolling the streets. However, the break from the rain ended in the late afternoon. We made an early evening by going across the steet to La Prosecchiaria for an early dinner. It’s literally across the street.

We tried their wine tasting with charcuterie and cheese boards.

Pickled vegetables

The wines we sampled.

The last wines were dessert wine and we were served “cakes”.

For the rest of our evening we started packing to leave.

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