The Rotonda (Villa Capra)

Andrea Palladio (completed after Palladio's death by Vincenzo Scamozzi)
begun 1550

A distant view from the carriage path

This villa, located on a slight elevation a few miles outside Vicenza, was built for Canon Paolo Almerico. The square domed building is aligned with the cardinal points of the compass. Its name derives from the plan--a circle within a square. The influence of the Roman Pantheon is evident--including the unitary plan and a traditional temple porch in front of a domed interior.

The symmetrical building

Each of the four sides of the square has a wide flight of stairs leading to a portico with six Ionic columns. Loggias provide beautiful views of the countryside from all four facades.

Views of the porch and a view under the porch


The "Temple" portico and one entrance

Each of the four entrances lead, through a short corridor, to the main room of the piano nobile, a circular dome-covered central salon. The statues on the pediment represent classical deities.
This is one of more than 20 villas designed by Palladio on the Venetian mainland. Villas were not only built as a way of avoiding the heat and congestion of Italian cities but as a means of affirming humanist Renaissance values.
Like the ancient Romans, wealthy Italians were imbued with the Arcadian spirit and often became gentlemen farmers on these villas.

Other buildings on this site by Palladio include: the Basilica, Loggia Bernarda, Palazzo Chiericati, and San Giorgio Maggiore.

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