Vicenza, Palladio and The Villa Saraceno
Finally some silence. Just me, a glass of wine, a crackling fire and a Palladian Villa. As I sink back into the plush sofas to relax and gaze up to the ceiling decorated with beautiful Italian fresco's, I cannot help but think about what a marvellous job the Landmark Trust have done with this property. Everything down from the philosophical approach to repair, to the furnishing and hospitality by the house keepers, nothing is left wanting.
Where else could one simply stay in a Palladian villa, experiencing the magic of the proportion and relationship of room sizes, lived in as it should be, not a museum of the past, but very much the museum to the living, enjoyment and celebration. A working building just as Palladio would have imagined!
Less well know than Palldaios more famous buildings, but no less beautiful, Villa Saraceno is a 30 minute drive south from the City of Vicenza. Palladio designed the building as a grand farm building, built using his simple technique of rendered shaped brick to imitate expensive stone, it is as much a building for storing grain as it is for living in!
Villa Saraceno appears in Palladios QuatreLibri but in very different form with matching Barcessa either side of the villa and long wings extending either side to form an overall square garden plan. For one reason or another Palladios dream was not ultimately realised, but I believe that Villa Saraceno benefits from this, it remains more humble in it is site plan, showing the workings of the farm yard with its original barn and well to the east. In its current plan, it puts emphasis onto the main building, which commands over its landscape framing views in tot he distance.
Villa Saraceno, although simple is such a beautiful example of Paladios work. Although on the grand scale of a farm building, it still retains its humble charm with its simplicity not taking away from the form. It really allows one to understand the building with its pared back details and form.
A big thank you has to go out to the Landmark Trust who gave up their time to facilitate our stay at Villa Saraceno, I cannot recommend a stay in the Villa enough, its beautiful landscape, proportion and comfort with enough rooms to house the whole family plus more! It also provides a great central base to hunt out all the Villas of the Veneto without the tourist bustle of Venice. Have a look at the links below to the landmark trusts website.