Monday, June 22, 2009

Vicenza

Sunday, we got a bit of a late start since we only got to bed around 2am the day before on account of the opera in the Verona Arena. We then drove to Vicenza, which is much less known than its neighboring cities of Verona and Venice. Still, this is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and famous for its architecture by native son Andrea Palladio. Even if you've never heard of him, you'll recognize his style mirrored in almost every public building in the U.S., Britain, and to a lesser degree Germany. Especially UVa alumni should know the name, as Thomas Jefferson was an admirer and imitator of his work. One of the highlights was the Teatro Olimpico, the oldest surviving indoor theater, with the oldest surviving stage set in the world, built for the production of Oedipus Rex. Since the admission ticket to that included some of the other museums in town, we got to see more religous art, some hideous still life, a modest collection of archeological artifacts, and an interesting collection of Russian icons. For lunch, I had BaccalĂ  alla Vicentina, stockfish with polenta, a local specialty, which was very good. After seeing some of the other Palladio palazzi in town, we drove a few kilometers out of town to the Villa Capra 'La Rotonda', probably Palladio's most famous work. We didn't go visit up close, since the admission just to the gardens was quite high, but you could get a good impression from the gate, as well as from the road.

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