The beautiful country can affect people who love the sea and the mountains, as well as those who are interested in historic cities. Its rich cultural heritage attracts millions of visitors to Italy every year. Today, we are talking about a Venetian city that, because of its elegance, has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage appointment: Vicenza.
Vicenza, home of Palladio, offers countless attractions to admire and immerse themselves in for those who decide to visit it, all in a trip through history through museums, churches, and the numerous exhibitions that it hosts every year. It is a friendly city, a real jewel from an architectural point of view, with its buildings representing different historical and stylistic eras.
Among the most important monuments and points of interest of the Venetian city, we cannot fail to mention the wonderful Olympic Theatre and the Palladian Basilica, which is perhaps the most emblematic building in the city and, last but not least, Villa Valmarana “Ai Nani”. Let’s find out some fun facts about these beautiful places in more detail, so we are ready to visit them!
What to see in Vicenza: the Olympic Theatre
The Olympic Theatre of Vicenza is undoubtedly one of the unmissable spots if you visit the Venetian city, and it is also one of the most famous and important spots in the city. It is the oldest covered Olympic Theatre in the world and is therefore considered a jewel that everyone should visit. It was designed in 1500 by the architect, Andrea Palladio, who is considered by many to be the father of the city. The theatre was then inaugurated in 1585 with the first performance of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and still hosts theatre, prose, concerts and, in particular, the so-called classics.
The style of the theatre is largely inspired by the Roman theatres that have been described by Vitruvius, who greatly inspired Palladio. One fact about this theatre is that Andrea Palladio was unable to see his finished work, as he died before it was completed. In fact, two of the main rooms of the theatre, the Odeo and the Antiodeo, were built by another great architect from Vicenza, Vincenzo Scamozzi. The Olympic Theatre in Vicenza definitely deserves a place in your itinerary around the city: book a guided tour to get to know all the details of this precious architectural jewel up close
What to see in Vicenza: Villa Valmarana “Ai Nani”
The Vicenza area is covered by numerous, enchanting Renaissance villas, each of which tells its own story and, together, make up the collective history of the Veneto area.
If you are in the area surrounding the city of Vicenza, you cannot fail to visit the magnificent Vicenza countryside, which can immerse anyone in an atmosphere of pure tranquillity, with views overlooking these majestic villas. In fact, surely one of the most famous and relevant is Villa Valmarana ai Nani.
The Villa has become famous and much appreciated by visitors for the numerous frescoes inside, the work of Giambattista Tiepolo and his son, Giandomenico. It is divided into two parts: the main villa, in which all the works and frescoes by Giambattista are present, with an adjoining large library, and the so-called guesthouse, a sort of annex where all the frescoes by Giandomenico are located. Villa Valmarana carries a very curious legend with it throughout its history, from which the adjective “ai nani” derives.
In fact, this name comes from the fact that there are dwarves above the wall that surrounds the property who guard the villa. In fact, at the time, it was customary to put decorative dwarfs in the garden or, at least near the villa. This is the origin of the name given to the Villa, which you can discover through an interesting, guided tour.
Return to Around Venice to discover more about venetian hinterland!