Palazzo Valmarana Braga, since its construction on a project by Andrea Palladio, has a privileged position in the heart of Vicenza. In its rooms full of charm, aristocratic such as Empress Maria of Austria have passed while, in its second life, allows guests of the structure on the second floor of the building to realize the dream of living inside a noble palace that is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, to be discovered during your trip to this timeless city.
Designed by Palladio in the heart of Vicenza
The palace is considered one of Palladio’s most significant works and was commissioned in 1565 by Isabella Nogarola, widow of Giovanni Alvise Valmarana, for the monumental-style renovation of the family residence.
Today Palazzo Valmarana Braga is also the operational headquarters of Palladian Routes, Destination Management Company and Tour operator born as a spin-off of the Palladian Itineraries Network, the business network founded by the owners of the private Palladian villas that make up the UNESCO heritage of Veneto.
During the visit, Luca, collaborator of the architect Manuel Gazzola, Director of Palladian Routes, accompanied us, leading us outside the house to admire the facade, one of the most extraordinary creations of the Venetian architect. Palladio, in fact, found as a solution to the problem of the narrow area between two existing buildings and therefore of the impossibility of expanding in width, that of creating a grandiose portico, which overlooks the patio that represents the atrium of the Palace on which it rests. the main floor hall, no longer placed in the center of the building as in the classic scheme of Venetian architecture.
The gaze, therefore, can only rise from the top to admire the facade which was defined as an immense high relief, particularly appreciable seen from a glimpse reaching Palazzo Valmarana Braga from Piazza dei Signori, the most important in the city. The front of the building shows six giant pilasters that rise for two floors supporting a strongly protruding attic, while two gigantic statues that support the family crests are placed on the sides, while to enrich the whole there are four elaborate high-reliefs.
Before crossing the threshold of the immense door and entering the atrium with the majestic columns, Luca points out a plaque affixed to the other side of the street on the walls of the birthplace of Gian Giorgio Trissino, a member of one of the most prominent families of the city of Vicenza and high-profile protagonist of Renaissance culture as well as mentor and protector of Palladio.
It was he who immediately believed in the skills of this brilliant stonemason and changed his name from Andrea della Gondola to Andrea Palladio. And he always brought him to Rome in contact with that classical world that became the inspiration for all the future works of the architectural genius.
Entering, through the entrance with the high barrel vault, you can see on the left a small room called the Count’s study with a ceiling frescoed by Zelotti on stuccoes by Lorenzo Rubini and a room with walls covered with wooden shelves where the silks were displayed, which today are the environments that house the headquarters of Palladian Routes.
Looking over the portico, you immediately realize that the building was half built. Compared to the initial project, the palace, built on the foundations of a pre-existing fifteenth-century building, is incomplete and was limited to the initial part as Leonardo Valmarana, son of Isabella Nogarola, did not want to continue the construction which was completed only in 1680, one hundred years after the death of architect.
Palazzo Valmarana Braga was then partially rebuilt after the bombings of 1945 and purchased in 1960 by Vittor Luigi Braga Rosa who began the restoration and reconstruction of the parts demolished during the war.
Since 1994 it has been one of the 23 Palladian monuments in the historic center of Vicenza registered in the World Heritage List. And it is in one of the seven apartments of this Palladian mansion, furnished with care and equipped with every comfort, that we were able to experience the atmosphere of the building, within walls that for centuries have witnessed events and hosted people who have made a history.
For our truly exclusive stay we were hosted in the apartment dedicated to Mary of Austria in memory of the empress who came to visit the palace, as the inscription on the entrance portal tells us.
Large and ideal for five people, it overlooks Corso Fogazzaro and is spread over two levels: the lower floor has a large living area, equipped kitchenette, dining room and small bathroom, while climbing the beautiful staircase with the wooden balustrade you reach the mezzanine with the double bedroom, the bathroom and a bedroom with three single beds.
And have you ever thought of being able to treat yourself to a few days in a Unesco monument, among antique furniture, stuccos, frescoes, silks and marbles, welcomed as nobles once were? At Palazzo Valmarana Braga you can and sleep in these rooms allows anyone to live and learn about stories and experiences that would otherwise be inaccessible or only visitable as museums.
Palazzo Valmarana Braga
Corso Antonio Fogazzaro, 16 – Vicenza
www.palazzovalmaranabraga.it – firstname.lastname@example.org