Tourist information on the life & times of the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and his famous Palladian villas and other great works to be found in the Venetian countryside include his Villa Rotonda, Villa Brabrao, Villa Malcontenta, and in Vicenza his Teatro Olimpico and Basilica.
Andrea Palladio (1508 - 1580)
Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, known to history as “Andrea Palladio” was born in Padua in 1508. When he was 13 years old, he worked as apprenticed of a local stonecutter.
But, after only 18 months, Palladio broke his contract and fled to the nearby town of Vicenza where his uncle enabled him to join the guild of stonecutters and stonemasons, and to find work at the celebrated Pedemuro workshop. In Vicenza, Palladio realized his own destiny and became one of the most famous master of the Renaissance architecture.
Andrea Palladio's presumably settled life was transformed in 1537 when he encountered his great mentor, the Count Trissino. A man who was at the center of the Vicentine society, and the main catalyst behind the transformation of the city of Vicenza from its previous Roman-medieval form of architecture to the sumptuous Renaissance style that the city enjoys still today.
Count Trissino quickly realized that Andrea, later renamed by Trissino “Andrea Palladio”, was the potential champion to realize the needs and requirements of the city of Vicenza. Trissino immediately set about the task of introducing Palladio to the principles of classical architecture. Palladio was taken on several field trips to study the works of the ancients, particularly in Rome.
Also, through Trissino's social circle, Palladio was able to come into contact with other Renaissance architects and influences that helped to slowly create his own unique form of architecture.
Andrea Palladio was literally created from the needs of the clients he served. First, the city of Vicenza, and then later in the 1550s, and onwards, the nobility of Venice, as they conquered the mainland establishing country estates for which he built his famous Villas, known in the following centuries as “Palladian Villas”.
His place in architectural history was ensured in 1570. Following years of preparation, he published in Venice his Quattro libri dell'architettura (The Four Books of Architecture). The book helped create the Palladian movement in England in the 17th century, that later so greatly influenced Thomas Jefferson and the architecture in the U.S.
Andrea Palladio died in 1580, in his adopted town of Vicenza.