At a passing glance it might seem strange to include this modest and evidently incomplete building – today unfortunately also in bad repair – alongside the grandiose Palladian villas. But in reality, the Villa Arnaldi provides precious evidence of a process which is usually visible only from the final results: the transformation of a pre-existing building into a new architecture. Indeed, in 1547 Vincenzo Arnaldi, one of Vicenza’s richest and most influential personages, commissioned the architect Andrea Palladio to restructure the 15th century (Quattrocento) agricultural complex which he had just acquired. His motive was, so to speak, instrumental: he wished to improve the property only to increase its value in a legal action with one of its previous owners. In fact, when Arnaldi reached an agreement, in 1565, he broke off the works and rented out the house without giving care further thought to concluding the structure.
A series of autograph drawings allow us to follow the architect’s ideas for remodelling the irregular Quattrocento complex, his attempts to regularise the buildings which defined its farmyard and find a symmetry within the new spatial layout of the house. The latter he organised around a loggia with three arches and minor, rectangular openings on its flanks (still extant though now blocked) – and, also, framed its windows with his usual mouldings.
- Villa Arnaldi in CISA website (source for the first revision of this article, with kind permission)
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