domingo, dezembro 11, 2016
I arrived in Vicenza in the evening, it was already dark, so my first view of the beautiful Piazza dei Signori was by the lights of Christmas decorations. The Basilica Palladiana shone white and beautiful, and I walked for a while in the cold evening air, then had a fine dinner and rested. The next day, the sky was blue and the city revealed itself - it was market day, so the Piazza dei Signori was occupied by busy stalls, not good for photographing, but nice to experience a lively city life amid old architecture.
And the architecture is indeed Vicenza's main asset - the whole city centre is full of beautiful Renaissance buildings, many by Palladio. The Piazza dei Signori has the Basilica Palladiana, the Loggia dei Capitaniato, and the columns with Saint Mark and the Lion, remains of the Venetian rule. The main street, Corso Palladio (what else? everything is "Palladio", from the main street to the tobacco stores and pharmacies) is lined with elegant palazzi with lovely façades and balconies.
At the end of Corso Palladio, by the Piazza Matteoti, where I enjoyed a cappucino while writing my travel journal, there is the Teatro Olimpico, the oldest covered theatre in Europe (by Palladio, of course) and the Palazzo dei Chiericati. Nearby, the Santuario di Santa Corona, a big brick building.
Then I walked the 2.5 km to the famous Villa Capra, a very nice walk along a river and then a narrow bike path. The Villa was closed, so I could see it only from the road; I had once seen the maquette in an exhibition in Madrid that showed its symmetrical perfection. From there, I took the country walk by the Villa dei Nani, and then the Via San Bastione, lined with lovely old villas, up to the Monte Berico basilica.
The view from there is magnificent, and I was so lucky it was a sunny day. The city on the plain with its roofs and domes, then the blue mountains with snowy peaks encircling the horizon, just beautiful. I stood there for a long time, just enjoying the landscape.
Down to the city again, through the Campo Marzo park to a busy street looking for the Paleo-Christian Basilica di SS Felice e Fortunato. It was closed, so I could see just the exterior and the stone sarcophagi in the yard.