The architect’s stage in Vicenza

The Italian city of Vicenza is a tribute to the work of architect Andrea Palladio. His buildings all through the streets have influenced many since!

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and has travelled the world full time since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

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Architecture of Vicenza, Italy

I have one favourite architect – Ted Mosby. The problem is that he’s fictional (and that the terrible television reference was probably lost on half of you).

So, I’ve been thinking for a while that I should have a real person as my favourite. After a visit to the Italian city of Vicenza, Andrea Palladio is moving up my list.

andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy

I had never heard of the guy before. If you hadn’t either, don’t feel too bad – he did die in 1580.

But his work in Vicenza led to a whole style of architecture called Palladian. And he has influenced some of the most famous buildings in the world… ever heard of a little one called The White House, for example?

andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy

There are 26 buildings in Vicenza and surrounds that have been attributed to Andrea Palladio. With his work, he has effectively painted the façade of the city in his image.

Everywhere you walk through the city, you see his legacy. Other buildings around his have tried to fit in with the style. More than 400 years ago he had an idea of how he wanted the streets to look. He built his monuments along them and today his legacy continues.

andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy
andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy

Most tourists who come to Vicenza are coming to see the work of Andrea Palladio. The information offices give out maps with all his buildings marked and suggest a route to follow to see them. It’s not hard to spot them, though – they’re the buildings with a bunch of tourists standing outside taking photos.

andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy

The city itself is quite small and it doesn’t take too long to wander through and see the exteriors of most of the Palladio creations. To really appreciate the inner beauty you need to go inside. And there is one of his buildings above all else that shows the genius of the man.

Teatro Olimpico, Vicenza, Italy

Enter stage left: The Olympic Theatre of Vicenza.

andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy

It is the oldest enclosed theatre in the world that still exists. I have to say, it’s also one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

The back of the stage is not a simple sheet or a wall. It becomes three dimensional with three passages leading backwards, deceiving perspective.

The rows of seats are benches stretching upwards in a semi-circle to the statues that guard the ceiling of the theatre at the rear. There is space for an orchestra in the floor space between the patrons and the actors.

andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy
andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy

It’s impossible to know exactly how a performance would have felt in 1585, when the first play was staged here. It’s exciting to imagine, though. It was a production of ‘Oedipus the King’ and the street scenes you can see today were originally installed for that specific play, to represent the city of Thebes.

andrea palladio, architecture, vicenza, italy

The theatre may be the greatest work of Andrea Palladio. But it was the whole city of Vicenza that he made his stage. To be a player in it today is a magical thing.

If you’re interested in a tour to see the architecture in Vicenza, I would recommend this one.

THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN VICENZA

Although you can visit Vicenza as a day trip from other parts of the region, there are also some wonderful places to stay here.

BACKPACKER

There aren’t any hostels in Vicenza but you’ll get a great rate on comfortable rooms at Casa Belfiore Vicenza.

BUDGET

Stay in a building filled with heritage character at Hotel Due Mori, where you’ll also find a warm welcome.

BOUTIQUE

A lot of thought has gone into each detail at the stylish Glam Boutique Hotel, which also has a cool bar.

LUXURY

With a large pool and comfortable outdoor areas, Hotel Victoria offer luxury with easy access to the best heritage sites.

UNESCO logo

This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

15 thoughts on “The architect’s stage in Vicenza”

  1. I totally got the Ted Mosby reference. We just recently finished watching a number of seasons in the row. And I have the same birthday as he. 🙂

    Between English, Italian and German all having different names for cities, I get confused. I guess Vicenza and Venice are different places. They look it anyway, not much water in the pictures. Cool buildings though. Looks like you really are getting some good stuff from your time in Italy.

    Reply
    • Yeah, Vicenza and Venice are different cities but they’re not too far from each other, being in the same region. The architecture is Vicenza is really beautiful… but, then again, it is in most of Italy!

      Reply
  2. Aw, as a theatre major in college, I loved this post. old theatres (and new ones) are always on the top of my list to visit in a new city. this one looks beautiful.

    Reply
  3. Wow! I want to come to this place and it looks really so inspirational too.. What a great place where you can learn a lot from it and enjoy its artwork too..

    Reply
  4. Teatro Olimpico, I love it.
    My grandfather Architect Eugene DeRosa got the big prestigious ( now classic) theater jobs in NYC, but I can find no trace of his schooling, nor influences, nor prior reputation. There seems no records of marriages and children. My belief and recollection is looking for some verification and I am not finding it! Eugene Sr of NYC was said to have met new Jewish friends in the symphony and then his career took off. He is said to have married Malinda Savignano House of Savoy who died while two sons Bob and Eugene Jr were young. He is said to have then married Trudy and had son Richard, then went to Naples for unknown reasons.
    I find no background on Eugene Sr showing what led up to the prestigious NYC jobs. Does he have Savoy architectural lineage? His face seems similar to some of the Umberto line. He just appears in NYC on top of things and I want to know from where and what.

    Reply

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