Vicenza. Waiting for Rotonda’s gates to open
November 05, 2015
I insisted stopping for just a tiny little bit in Vicenza to visit Palladio’s Rotonda. Villa Rotonda (or Villa Capra) is a perfectly symmetrical Renaissance villa from the 16th century and it’s probably Palladio’s most famous architectural work (even though he didn’t live to see it completely finished). Long story short, I was dieing to finally see it in person.
But I didn’t do my homework well, so when we arrived one hour early before the opening we found out it was one of these days when you can visit ONLY the exterior of the villa and not the interior. Bummer!
I still wanted to take a tour around it so we decided to take a walk around the town and come back in an hour.
Vicenza was not on my visiting list for this particular roadtrip; we ended up there just because I was looking at the map and noticed it was only a half an hour detour from our way : “we have to stop for Palladio’s villa! it won’t take long, I promise!”. So I didn’t know what to expect from this city.
And it turned out to be an extremely pleasant surprise! The whole town seemed to be asleep (was it siesta time?!) and it felt like having it all just for myself. I loved the architecture, the colors and how the afternoon sunlight was warming up the streets. Vicenza feels like a work of art, a mixture of Florence and Venice, a welcome variety of interesting buildings and places to discover at every corner. Italians do know how to produce an artistic piece from even the most uninteresting settings (and my instagram Italian followings confirm it daily – I’m stunned at what captures these people come up with of their land!).
It’s often that I can’t really tell what I like most of a certain place, but there’s a positive or a negative feeling lingering. Like being welcome or unwelcome. And in Vicenza I felt great, I was eager to see what the next corner was holding up for me, to capture the delicate details of a colorful building or just aimlessly wander around its streets.
By the time we returned to Rotonda, I was already feeling this short pit stop was totally worth it. I headed inside the large metallic gates and went to the ticket point, where an elderly man was squeezed inside the tiny office. I took out my debit card only to hear him tell me the most dreaded news: “only cash, no card!”.
Are you serious? I’m standing here at the gates of this famous architectural site, no cash in my pockets just a useless card, and listening to this man explaining me where is the nearest ATM (somewhere back on the way to the city center). “No, hombre, I cannot use an ATM because my stupid bank will charge around 8% total fee and I can’t afford it!”, I shout in my mind. I take a last look at the sumptuous residence standing tall behind me. I thank the man and head back to the car with my head bowed. Lesson learnt: don’t spend all your cash on food and wine! Have some spare safety coins hidden somewhere, in case your credit/debit card proves to be useless.
Anyway, nice work, Palladio! I suppose that as the other 3 sides of the villa are identical to this one, I didn’t really miss that much that day!