Part of Vicenza's history

On December 14, 1565, Isabella Nogarole, widow of Giovanni Alvise Valmarana, signed a contract for the construction of the building with the impresario Pietro di Nanto to commemorate his memory forever. A commemorative medal was found at the base of the columns of the atrium in 1566 when work began. The Palace stands on the property of the Valmarana family since 1483, which extends from Corso Fogazzaro to the Church of San Giacomo.
The plan of the Palace is forced between two existing buildings and therefore could not expand in width. From this comes the brilliant intuition of Palladio to abandon the classical scheme of placing in the center the main hall typical of Venetian architecture. The main hall is then moved parallel to the facade, taking light from the courtyard. Thus, Palladio has the possibility of creating a magnificent portico, which overlooks the patio, which represents the atrium of the Palace on which the hall of the Noble floor rests. The table of the treaty (1570) regularizes the plant that actually turns oblique towards the road.
The main facade was defined as an immense high-relief, particularly noticeable foreshortening. It is in fact ingeniously connected with neighboring houses, in fact the order is suspended, the six giant pilasters are held at about three meters from the end of the facade, and two gigantic statues supporting the family crests are placed at the end of the Opera. To enrich the whole already intensely elaborated, there are four high reliefs with facts of Roman history (by Domenico Fontana.
Left unfinished until today, this work is part of Palladio's maturity. Compared to the ideal project published in the four books of architecture, the building, built on the foundations and on part of the masonry walls of an existing fifteenth-century building, has some adaptations due to the structure of the block. At the end of the courtyard (see map of Notice) at the edge of the inner court there was another building that included a stable. The bombing of 18 March 1945 destroyed part of the Palace, demolishing the roof and much of the central hall. In 1960 Vittor Luigi Braga Rosa bought the ruined building from the Valmarana family and began the restoration and reconstruction of the parts demolished during the war.

The Facade

The facade of Palazzo Valmarana presents a work of surprising modernity that at the time 1565 had no precedent. While in the Renaissance the supporting elements are in a balance relationship, now a concept begins to develop that gives a dominant function to the supporting parts, this predominance is evident on the façade with six gigantic pilasters, which rise up through the two floors and hold up a strongly protruding attic. These pillars rest on a plinth that runs throughout the building and becomes the base of the pillars, the bases are framed by rusticated ashlars.
The building, despite having a prominent position in the street, integrates perfectly with the adjacent buildings for the architect's attention, which interrupts the giant order and inserts corner pillars that reach only the cornice of the ground floor, and are replaced by the floor noble from statues of warriors who, in function of caryatids, support the projecting cornice of the attic. This different arrangement of floors corresponds to the position of the windows at the two ends, both on the ground floor and on the noble floor, the windows are smaller than in the rest of the facade. On the ground floor instead of the four high reliefs, there are the small windows of the mezzanine. On the main floor, the windows of the external bays are the only ones to end with a triangular pediment. The division of the floors takes place through a strongly articulated cornice, interrupted by the giant pillars, to which pilasters supporting the cornice are placed side by side.

The Restoration

Today the facade of Palazzo Valmarana appears with a dark hue, due to the deposition on it of almost five centuries of smog and dust. At the time of the recent restoration it was decided with the Superintendency to preserve as it is the existing shade and then preserve the original marmorine, operating a conservative restoration such as dealing with frescoes, that is consolidating the parts that were peeling off and filling the empty spaces behind. It can therefore be affirmed that we are facing one of the few buildings that retain their original plaster and marmorine cladding. The stone parts have remained intact without any intervention whatsoever. The statues supporting the coats of arms in the two corners of the façade were skilfully restored by the sculptor Giordani in 1962/63, as were two vandalically destroyed panels. We must not forget the intervention carried out immediately after the war by the Superintendency led by the architect Forlati who reconstructed part of the attic, part of the facade towards the courtyard and the roof destroyed by an aerial bombardment in 1944. In 1962 then it was implemented , with the approval of the Superintendency (arch. Guiotto) the completion of the south façade of the courtyard. With this work two sides of the courtyard itself were perfected. The owner is waiting for over 40 years to be able to mirror the other two sides of the courtyard.
Starting from the cellars, at the time of the restoration in 1961/62, the cellars were emptied, which had never been freed from the soil coming from the excavation of the foundations, you can still see the line of mortar that descended between a table and another who armed the construction of faces.
The most striking intervention was the reconstruction of the floor of the noble floor, with the reproduction of terracotta tiles following the existing design. An octagon of the original floor, miraculously saved, was incorporated into a corner during reconstruction, while the earthenware and pesto floors were masterfully restored or redone. A floor worthy of particular interest is that of the studio of the Count, a particularly refined environment in all its details. It consists of terra cotta diamonds partly in light red part that repeat the shapes of the diamonds of the coat of arms of the Valmarana family. The floor of the largest room on the ground floor is instead in squares of white and red terracotta, for fear of wear it was covered with a plank.
The beams are almost all Sansovine, the simpler ones are with the tables above framed by small basins that bear the Valmarana coat of arms: gold diamonds in a blue field.
This different arrangement of floors corresponds to the position of the windows at the two ends, both on the ground floor and on the noble floor, the windows are smaller than in the rest of the facade. On the ground floor instead of the four high reliefs, there are the small windows of the mezzanine. On the main floor, the windows of the external bays are the only ones to end with a triangular pediment. The division of the floors takes place through a strongly articulated cornice, interrupted by the giant pillars, to which pilasters supporting the cornice are placed side by side.

The Frescoes

Entering the Palace, to the left on the entrance side beyond a vast hall, there is a small hall called the Study of the Count. This room was frescoed (1567 - 68) by Zelotti. The lowered barrel-vaulted ceiling is decorated with an elegant texture of stuccoes highlighted in gold on a white background by Lorenzo Rubini. The stuccos frame the frescoes, in the center in an oval appears the Aurora and the Hours. In the four hexagonal spaces are represented: Mars and Time, Venus and Adonis, Hercules kills Cacus, Scene of a shipwreck. In the other panels the Concordia, the Time, Angel covered with stars, Mercury, the Fame. A very small bust above the window seems to be a portrait of Leonardo Valmarana.

The Statues

In the atrium that precedes the main staircase in a niche is a beautiful stone statue of Vicenza representing Fame, in the hands of the Valmarana coat of arms surmounted by the doge cornetto. We do not know the author of this splendid sculpture, which is still intact today with a shade of red on the lips, and black on the eyelashes and pupils. Going up the staircase, in the first niche on the right, is the bust of Leonardo Valmarana. The doors of the salon are particularly ornate and this is due to the likely intervention of the Arch. Muttoni On the doors there are five busts representing Isabella Nogarole, wife of Giovanni Alvise Valmarana, in the front door Giovanni Alvise Valmarana, a third important bust is that of the central door towards the barrel room which represents the Consul Mario from whom the Valmarana seem to descend. The large fireplaces that were found in almost all the rooms of the Palace have disappeared. At the time of the restoration it was placed in the largest area after the central hall, a 17th century fireplace, probably designed by Muttoni. The walnut and briar doors of the central hall were copied from those of the Rotonda where the Muttoni also operated at the same time. At the time of the 1961 restoration, windows were applied with leaded glass as in the original example.

The prints

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