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Standing on a hill just outside Vicenza, La Rotonda (sometimes also known as “Villa Capra”) is one of the architect Andrea Palladio’s best known designs. Built in the 16th century as a villa for a retired priest, the house blends perfectly with the surrounding landscape.
La Rotonda, Vicenza
La Rotonda has four classical facades
As might be expected from Palladio’s style, and the principles of the Renaissance, La Rotonda was built according to strict mathematical principles. The house has four way symmetry, meaning that each of its four facades are almost identical. The name refers to the circular central hall and the dome that rises above it, but the porticos on each façade give the villa the overall shape of a cross. Another unusual design feature is that the house was situated at exactly 45° to the points of the compass; this was a way of maximising sunlight flowing to the interior.
As this was a country house, it was important that the villa should be in perfect harmony with its surroundings. So the rows of statues in the garden, and the views across the countryside, are all part of Palladio’s vision for the house.
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