Juliet, Palladio, and the Country House




Sunday morning started back in a foggy Bellagio on Lake Como.  We headed southeast towards Verona where we parked and walked into the old town area.  We visited the courtyard featured in the movie Letters to Juliet and snapped a quick photo of “Juliet’s fake balcony”. Given the number of people in that courtyard, they obviously didn’t have a fire marshall in Verona.  From there we walked to the Roman Arena that, although smaller than the colesium in Rome, has a lower level that is completely intact and is used for opera concerts today.  There is a section remaining of the outer upper level support that you can see in our photos.

From Verona, we continued east to Vicenza, where we planned to spend the night north of town. Coming in from the south, we were able to visit a major objective for me: visiting Villa La Rotunda.  This house was designed by Andrea Palladio who is most remembered for Palladian windows. Thomas Jefferson is said to have modeled portions of Monticello after this home.  We made it to the house at 5:50 and the grounds close at 6:00.  So we had ten minutes of architectural inspiration, after which we hurried to the car to go find the Casa Barbieri Country House.  Staying north of Vicenza put us closer to our Monday morning objective:  buying ceramics in Nove’ (no-vay).


Arriving at Casa Barbieri we were greeted by the owner who showed us to rooms upstairs.  This huge country house has only 4 guest rooms.  But it is also home to four families, including the owner.  From the pictures in this post you wouldn’t expect a very modern interior design.  While visiting with the owner during breakfast Monday morning, we asked him about the restoration of the house.  He said he chose modern elements like new heated flooring and modern finishes because it would have been “stupid” to buy new items that looked old.  The ceilings were the most impressive element of each room being in a condition to be restored, rather than replaced.