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The eighteenth century villa Cordellina Lombardi rises at Montecchio Maggiore, few kilometres westward from Vicenza. This villa was built by order of the Venetian juris consult Carlo Cordellina. This nobleman asked the Venetian architect Giorgio Massari (1687-1766) to design his country house of Montecchio. Massari proposed a manor house of Palladian style and two other buildings of square plan separated from the main body. These two structures were the stables (on the left of the facade) and the guest-rooms (on the right of the facade).

This villa magnificently preserved allows the visitors to feel the attraction and glamour of Venetian eighteenth century civilization whose heart beat in the country house. Carlo Cordellina wanted that the greatest Venetian painter decorated the work of Massari in that century, Giambattista Tiepolo. Tiepolo had worked in this villa during 1743, as it is shown in a letter of his own sent to his friend Algarotti. In this same letter the artist wrote to have made good progress at the end of October 1743 and to finish the cycles of frescoes on 10th or 12th of the following month. According to Remo Schiavo, curator of the villa, the ceiling of the pronaos would have been adorned by an oil painting representing "Time Unveiling Truth". At present this painting is kept in the gallery-picture of Chiericati Mansion at Vicenza.

Giambattista Tiepolo decorated the main hall extolling the figure of Carlo Cordellina, great lawyer; therefore this picture, now kept in the Museum, could represent an ideal prologue to the frescoes of the interiors. The pin of Tiepolo's "speech", that is "Intelligence triumphing over Ignorance", is shown on the ceiling of the main hall. Intelligence enlightens men: this figure is coming down (wind is swelling her dresses), enters the room and enlightens the actions not only of Scipio and Alexander (the two characters of the side frescoes), but also of the landlord himself. At the extremity of the ceiling Ignorance shot by a putto is falling down, whereas Fame (a winded figure blowing a trumpet) heralds the coming of Intelligence. On the right wall the victorious emperor Alexander the Great receives the family of the defeated Darius,"Alexander's Continence". The scene acquires a theatrical atmosphere: an imploring woman with open arms seems to start singing an opera aria; another woman tries to seduce the victor uncovering her breast; the young woman is attracted by something or somebody being not in view; a child wants to play, but the older woman is holding him fast. Alexander does not let himself be influenced and he grants the freedom to the noble personages with an action of great wisdom.

On the opposite wall another fresco represents the "Continence of Scipio the Elder": the hero sitting on his throne reunites the defeated Aluccio to his fiancé. Notice the splendid dress of the young woman, the chromatic hues of clothes, the people crowding to attend the event. In the lower part, at the left of the picture, there is the author's signature: Gio.Batta Tiepolo. The sky painted on the ceiling and on the walls seems to break the limits of the villa bringing into infinite spaces.
Above the side doors of the main hall some monochromatic frescoes represent the allegories of the four continents: Europe with a crown, Africa with an elephant head, Asia holding a plant in her hand and the naked America. On the ceiling other pictures show the allegories of Music, Poetry, War and Politics. Moreover this villa had a very rich picture-gallery carried out by Cordellina; at present most pictures are kept in the rooms of Chiericati Mansion. For the Serene Republic of St. Mark the eighteenth century was a period of great cultural and artistic growth. On the contrary the commercial supremacy and economical weight that Venice held in Europe in the previous centuries had been already lost.

Being probably aware of this crisis and slow decay, Venetian noblemen spent a good deal of their strength extolling magnificence and greatness through the arts. In fact, the highest periods of artistic history of peoples and nations often occur in the phase of their decline.

The artist representing this splendour was Giambattista Tiepolo: he was able to summarize centuries of Venetian painting and his art had a great success all over Europe. Giambattista Tiepolo (Venice 1696 - Madrid 1770), called "Tiepoletto", was apprenticed to Lazzarini's atelier at Venice. But other exponents of Venetian pictorial art also influenced the education of the young painter: from Paolo Caliari the Veronese to Sebastiano Ricci.

In those years Venice was celebrated all over Europe as a great centre of culture and theatrical production. It was one of the few capital cities offering its inhabitants dramas and operas almost in any period of the year. On the Lagoon several permanent companies could live by their daily work preparing performances. Giambattista was enchanted by this world, particularly by the genre of opera and the figures of his frescoes ideally represent the actors seen on the main stages.

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