Villa Pisani

Bagnolo, Lonigo (VI)
Altro nome
Villa Pisani, De Lazara Pisani, Ferri De Lazara, Bedeschi Bonetti
1542 - 1545
Stato di realizzazione
Via Risaie, 1, Bagnolo, Lonigo (VI)
  • Francesco Torbido: pittore
  • Ignoto fine XVI sec.: pittore
  • Palladio, Andrea
  • Pisani, Daniele
  • Pisani, Marco
  • Pisani, Vettore
  • Abitazioni/Palazzi
Ordini architettonici
  • Dorico
Parti del complesso
  • Barchesse rettilinee
  • Corpo dominicale
  • Colombara
  • Torre
  • Cortile
  • Barchesse piegate ad angolo retto
The execution of the Villa Pisani at Bagnolo, from 1542 on, would constitute a true turning point in Palladio's career. Since the brothers Vettore, Marco and Daniele Pisani belonged to the Venetian aristocratic élite, for Palladio this was a real leap in the quality of his patronage. Until then his patrons had been primarily Vicentine. The vast agricultural estate of over 1200 fields had been Pisani property since 1523, and was dominated by the house of the previous proprietors (the Vicentine Nogarola family) which was probably absorbed into the new construction. In 1545 the manorial house is documented as complete, and a map of 1562 shows a great barchessa terminating in two dove-cotes at the back of the courtyard. This building, admired by Vasari, was later destroyed and substituted by the present nineteenth-century structure, located on the long side of the court and quite unrelated to Palladio's project. In the project for the Villa Pisani, Palladio's objective was an ambitious one: to realise a country residence catering to the refined tastes of the Pisani brothers and at the same time capable of providing a concrete, rational and organising focus for the entire complex of agricultural annexes. In fact, Palladio succeeded in inserting the manorial block, stables, barchesse and dovecotes all within a unified design. That is, he disposed all the elements which in the Quattrocento villa had faced the farmyard in a casual arrangement devoid of functional and formal hierarchies. At the same time, he translated the practical necessities of agricultural life into innovatory forms, articulated in a language inspired by ancient architecture. Like a Roman temple, the villa rises on a high basement, which emphasises the building and conceals the service areas. The great T-shaped, central hall is barrel-vaulted like ancient bath buildings, richly decorated and illuminated by a wide thermal window: this space differs radically, in dimensions and formal qualities, from the halls of pre-Palladian villas, which are traditionally smaller and covered by a flat ceiling with wooden beams. The rich, pictorial decorations in fresco, with scenes taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses and probably executed by Francesco Torbido (1482/84-1561), initiate a dialogue with the architectural space and exalt its monumentality. A rich dossier of autograph drawings, today preserved in London, document the evolution of Palladio's project. The early designs are crowded with ideas drawn from the architecture, ancient and modern, that he had just seen on his Roman visit (from Raphael's Villa Madama to Bramante's Belvedere, even the Cappella Paolina by Sangallo) cheek by jowl with more specifically Venetian elements: the layout of the rooms, the loggia bracketed by two small towers (as in the Villa Trissino at Cricoli) or the powerful, Sanmichelian, bossed masonry on the river frontage.