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The new life of Vicenza, a capital of art

After years of conservation restoration efforts, the Basilica Palladiana, Palazzo Chiericati and the Temple of Santa Corona are finally re-opening, and the Palladio Museum is being inaugurated along with internationally-important exhibitions: the city is staking everything on its cultural offer

The Basilica Palladiana | Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, the Palladio Museum | Palazzo Chiericati | The Temple of Santa Corona

Vicenza is Andrea Palladio, a city closely identified with the 16th century architect that made it famous throughout the world. Over the last few months, it has become a “capital of culture” thanks to a series of projects that led to the re-opening of numerous buildings and the inauguration of new museums related to Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, better known as Palladio, an architect, theorist, and scenographer who lived between 1508 and 1580.
The first restoration project to be presented in the city concerns the re-opening of the Basilica Palladiana, which will host for the occasion the exhibition “Raphael versus Picasso”, running from 6 October to 20 January 201. On 4 October, the new Palladio Museum was inaugurated; it is housed in Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, home of the Andrea Palladio International Centre for Architectural Studies (Cisa). Finally, the ground floor and basement of Palazzo Chiericati, home of the Civic Pinacotheque, have been renovated and made accessible to the public; the end of the restoration effort is being celebrated with the exhibition “Five centuries of faces. A society and its image in the masterpieces of Palazzo Chiericati”, running from 3 October to 20 January in the renovated facilities. The exhibition, which was conceived as a parallel event and response to the exhibition at the Basilica Palladiana, features an itinerary through portraits from the 16th to the 20th centuries selected from the museum’s own collections. It is a unique occasion to get to know the protagonists of the city’s life during those centuries; the first few rooms display portraits from Vicenza’s aristocratic families, friends and relatives of the owners of Palazzo Chiericati; they are followed by portraits from the 18th centuries, foremost among them the Self-portrait of Louis Dorigny and the portrait of the engraver Cristoforo dell'Acqua, while the early 19th century is represented by Antonio Canova’s marble profile of Ottavio Trento.
These new attractions enhance the city of Vicenza’s existing cultural heritage, centred on Andrea Palladio but encompassing much more as well. The fall season in Vicenza is particularly rich in initiatives; in addition to the ongoing events listed above, numerous exhibitions, extraordinary openings of museums, and other initiatives are on tap. On October 12, masterpieces by Veronese, Bellini, Montagna, and Pittoni were restored to their original home at the Church of Santa Corona, which has been re-opened to the public after the completion of restoration efforts. Additionally, the city has introduced the Vicenza Card, a single ticket that provides access to the Teatro Olimpico, the Palazzo Chiericati Pinacotheque, the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, the Museum of Italian Unification and the Resistance, the Palazzo Leoni Montanari Galleries, the Diocese Museum, and the new Palladio Museum.
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