Around Town Tuesday
Want to see something really cool?
When we first moved here and were still fairly new to sightseeing, our friends kept talking about this famous architect named Palladio. We had never heard of the guy but the mall near the military post was named after him, as were several roads, and there were even a couple of huge Italian villas near us that he had built, so pretty quickly we realized that he was:
1. Pretty famous
2. Pretty popular with the Italians
3. Alive a long time ago
When other Americans here found out that I was a Virginian, most would immediately comment on how I must really love Palladio and La Rotunda. Honestly, Steve and I had never heard of it, but we would just nod our heads and agree, saying something along the lines of, "Yes! It's awesome, we love it"... and we would smile and try to end the conversation quickly.
Finally, we spoke to a closer friends of ours who, when he found out that we were Virginias, made the comment that we must really be impressed with La Rotunda. We started to do the usual nod our heads and fake it sort of thing until I just casually mentioned that we hadn't seen it and really didn't even know what it was. Our friends laughed and explained to us that La Rotunda, completed in 1566 and also known as Villa Almerico to the Italians, is the villa which was Thomas Jefferson's inspiration to build Monticello and many building on the University of Virginia campus.
I was shocked and immediately had to see it for myself. Ironically, it's located just one street over from a road that we took almost everyday and is seriously less that five minutes from Steve's work. Steve and I followed the directions our friend had given us and headed out for a little local Veneto sightseeing.
If it doesn't look familiar, take a look at the back of a nickel. The story is that apparently while in France, Jefferson decided to take a trip to Northern Italy and was enchanted by the architecture of Andrea Palladio. He used the diaries and sketches of Palladio to design Monticello. Palladio is also the designer of the Palladian window that has become so popular in American houses.
My closest friend here in Italy lives in the town Monticello Conte Otto, the inspiration for the name of Monticello.
I love being so close to history here and it's awe inspiring to be so close to where some of our own American history was founded.
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