The Palladian Basilica of Vicenza


  • ico LOCATION: Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza

The Palladian Basilica of Vicenza, rebuilt in 1614 by Palladio is a public building in Piazza dei Signori, which was the hub of activities not only political (city council, court), but also economic. The double order of loggias of white stone from Piovene shows the elegance and solemnity of the building: the rise of the structures seems infinite, the play of light and shade is captivating. The first part of the building called of the Reason was built in the mid-fifteenth century by unifying the oldest buildings: the “Palatium Vetus” and “Palatium communis.”

At the end of the fifteenth century, it was decided to give a new face to the factory and create a covered area for the market that took place around it. The ambitious coverage resembling an overturned ship’s hull, covered with copper plates, partly raised by large arches, dates from the mid fifteenth century. The architect Tommaso Formenton designed the lodges, which were supposed to surround the building. The lodges were built and gave the building a new image, similar to the building having the same name in Padua. The improper construction of the new structures led to their collapse just two years after completion, presenting the problem of reconstruction. The resolution did not come very soon though great artists were interviewed, such as Sebastiano Serlio Michele Sanmicheli, and Giulio Romano.

Fifty years passed before was elected the draft of Andrea di Pietro, later known as the Palladium. Built in Gothic style, Palladio with its classical lodges solved the difficult static problems and with the use of serliana adopted a clever ploy to hide the different distances between the pillars acquired from the previous sites.