Museums in Vicenza can be visited with a combined card - the Vicenza Card-, with a 4Museums Card or with single museum tickets.
The Vicenza Card is valid for 8 days from the day of issue and it gives access to 11 sights:
Teatro Olimpico, Civic Art Gallery of Palazzo Chiericati, Natural History and Archaeological Museum, Risorgimento and Resistance Museum, Santa Corona Church, Diocesan Museum, Palladio Museum, Gallerie d'Italia - Palazzo Leoni Montanari, Palladian Basilica (exhibitions excluded), Jewellery Museum and Galleries of Palazzo Thiene.
The 4 Museums Card is valid for 8 days from the day of issue and grants the access to 4 sites to be chosen from the ones included in the museum network.
You can buy the cards at: Teatro Olimpico (Tourist office in Piazza Matteotti 12), Gallerie d’Italia - Palazzo Leoni Montanari, Palladio Museum, Museo Diocesano, Jewellery Museum, Basilica Palladiana (Fri-Sun).
MONUMENTS INCLUDED IN THE CARDS
Piazza Matteotti 11 - Tel. 0444 964380
It is one of the artistic wonders of Vicenza. During the Renaissance, in fact, a theatre was not a building in itself, as it would later become, but a temporary arrangement of an outside space or an existing building; in Vicenza, these spaces were courtyards of palaces or the hall of the Palazzo della Ragione. In 1580, at the age of 72, Palladio was commissioned a permanent theatre by the Accademia Olimpica, the cultural group he belonged to himself. The design is clearly inspired by the Roman theatres, as described by Vitruvius: an elliptical terraced auditorium, framed by a colonnade, with a frieze topped by statues. In front of it is the rectangular stage and a majestic proscenium with two orders of architecture, opened by three arcades and divided by half-columns inside which we find aedicules and niches with statues and panels with bas-reliefs. Critics call the work “manneristic” because of the intense light and shade effect, which is also intensified by a series of other optic solutions the architect used thanks to his experience: the progressive diminishing of the fronts with height is visually compensated with the protruding statues; he plays with overhangs and niches to increase the sense of depth.
Palladio’s design was made a few months before his death and he would not see the result; his son Silla oversaw the works and handed the theatre over to the town in 1583. The first performance on Carnival 1585 was memorable; its subject was a Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King by Sophocles, and the stage design reproduces the seven streets of the city of Thebes, which can be seen in the five openings of the proscenium through a clever game of perspectives. The creator of this little wonder inside the wonder is Vincenzo Scamozzi. The effect was so impressing, the wooden structures became a stable part of the theatre. Scamozzi was also asked to create accessory spaces: the “Odeo”, the hall where the meetings of the Accademia took place, and the “Antiodeo”, decorated with monochrome panels by the fine Vicenza painter Francesco Maffei.
Civic Art Galley of Palazzo Chiericati
Piazza Matteotti, 37/39 - Tel. 0444 222811
It is the most spectacular civilian residence designed by Palladio, today seat of the Vicenza Town Museum. The museum presents itself as one of the greatest art collections of the Veneto, with some of the most important works. Especially the picture gallery offers an overview of the art scenario of the sixteenth century, useful to explain the relationship between figurative arts and the architecture of the time. Particularly interesting are, first of all, the painters of the so called “School of Vicenza” of the Renaissance: the founder Bartolomeo Montagna, Giovanni Buonconsiglio, Marcello Fogolino and Giovanni Speranza. As for the sixteenth century, we have a remarkable work by Paolo Veronese, Palladio’s favourite artist: “Madonna and Child with Saint Peter and Saint Agnes”, but also works by Vittoria, Fasolo, Maganza and others of Palladio’s periodic collaborators. The survey goes on up to Tiepolo, showing also the followers of Palladian architecture.
In the Department of Prints and Drawings sketches and designs signed by Palladio, Scamozzi and Calderari are kept.
Church of Santa Corona
Contrà S. Corona - Tel. 0444 222811
Free guided tours in Italian and English are available for smartphone and tablet users.
Magnificent Dominican Church in the form of a Latin cross was founded by the Dominicans to preserve the relic of the Holy Thorn, donated by the king of France Louis IX in 1259 to the bishop Bartolomeo da Breganze. It is presented to the public on Good Friday. Palladio was buried in this church in 1580; in mid- 19th century his remains were moved to the Temple of Fame at the Cimitero Maggiore, where the famous people of Vicenza rest. The interior is austere and solemn, with three bays and a presbytery designed in 1480 by Lorenzo da Bologna.
The Valmarana Chapel was designed by Palladio in 1567 but a very remarkable thing is the church’s artistic heritage: in the third chapel on the right, the Adoration of the Magi by Paolo Veronese, of 1573; in the chapel at the back of the right bay, The Saints Peter and Paul and Pius V Worship Mary, a work of art by the early Venetian Giovanni Battista Pittoni of 1723; the greater altar of 1669 with marble marquetry by the Florentine Francesco Antonio Corberelli; the fifth altar of the left bay shows The Baptism of Christ, a masterpiece of the late Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini (1427-1516). The whole surface of the grand complex of the high altar is covered with inlays of polychrome marble, pieces of lapis lazuli, corals, carnelians and mother-of-pearl.
The Dominicans were driven out in 1810, following Napoleon’s suppression, and the church became propriety of the town council. Today the adjacent monastery is the seat of the Museum for Archaeology and Natural Sciences.
Natural and Archaeological Museum
Contra' S. Corona, 4 - Tel. 0444 222815
The Natural History and Archaeological Museum, housed since 1991 in the area of the cloisters of Santa Corona, is divided into two sections: Naturalistic and Archaeological. The first is devoted to the illustration of the characteristics of the territory, especially that of Berici, while the second one collects the most significant archeological aspects of Vicenza and its province.
Risorgimento and Resistance Museum
Viale X Giugno, 115 - Tel. 0444 222820
Free entrance to the public
The Ambellicopoli hill, the site of the museum’s Villa Guiccioli premises, was where the heroic resistance of 1848 took place. The people of Vicenza defended the city from here. The mementoes in the collections provide interesting evidence of historic events from the time of Napoleon’s first Italian campaign in 1796 to the end of the Second World War and the fight for liberation (1945). This one and a half century period transformed the political, social, economic and moral nature of Italy and Europe several times.
Contrà Porti, 11 - Tel. 0444 323014
Palazzo Barbarano, one of the most beautiful Palladian urban dwellings, houses the Palladio Museum that accompanies the visitors on an emotional tour inside AndreaPalladio’s life and time, to discover Palladio’s masterpieces in Veneto region. Designed in 1569 by Andrea Palladio in the mannerist style that was typical for his late period. The façade has nine bays, richly decorated with festoons. It was commissioned by Montano Barbaran, who had the same great plans as Palladio’s other noble clients, and put a central plot of land at the architect’s disposal, with the task of blending the buildings on the plot to one palace worth of his ambitions.
The first thing we notice is that the atrium is out of centre, a forced solution (the client had purchased another building at an advanced state), but this does not alter the serenity of the work. The view at the entrance is very impressive: a series of Serlian windows is implemented, to support the upper hall with a cross vault and to compensate the different existing walls with flat planks. Actually, the Palazzo Barbaran is the only palace in Vicenza which was finished according to the design. Among other things, it is the building with the most important purpose: it is seat to the international centre for architecture studies “Andrea Palladio” (Cisa) and the Palladio Museum.
Galleries of Palazzo Leoni Montanari
Contrà S.Corona, 25 - Tel. 800 578875
This important Baroque palazzo rises in the final stretch of the Contrà Santa Corona. It was commissioned in 1623 by a family of rich wool and silk traders. It reveals very suggestive interiors, like the spectacular Loggia d’Ercole or the frescoed gallery “Galleria della Verità”.
It houses three permanent art collections belonging to the Bank: the first floor exhibits nuclei of vases, selected from the large Attican and Magna Graecia pottery collection, splendidly decorated with painted images. The same floor houses eighteenth-century Venetian paintings, from the ironic custom scenes by Pietro Longhi to the airy paintings by the “vedutisti” , who depicted the natural and architectural splendours of Venice and other cities. The second floor is dedicated to Russian icons, which take the visitor through a historic, artistic and spiritual route with the strength of their colours and fidelity to the antique models.
Piazza Duomo, 12 - Tel. 0444 226400
The residence of the bishop of Vicenza is a sober Palladian building of the beginning of the nineteenth century, rebuilt after its destruction during the Second World War, faithful to the original. Remarkable features are the stylistic details taken from Palladio (intersected semi-columns that mark the main body between the side bodies) and from Scamozzi (the combination of semi-column and corner pillar at the ends.
The building has a four-arch porch, above which there are eight windows, with windowsills and parapets made of finely decorated Nanto stone. The museum houses a collection of memorabilia of ancient Christianity, of the Church of the High and Early Middle Ages, as well as a collection of sacred vestments, sacred jewellery and religious paintings from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. It features an extraordinary ethnographic section with artefacts from all continents and an exceptional collection of round shaped minerals. In the basement there is the archaeological area with remains of a tower of the high Middle Ages.
The Basilica Palladiana
Piazza dei Signori - Tel. 0444 222850, firstname.lastname@example.org www.museicivicivicenza.it
Symbol of Vicenza and part of Unesco World Heritage of Humanity, the Palladian Basiica is a majestic building facing onto the southern side of Piazza dei Signori, the city's heart and gathering point. Particularly beautiful are itw two sets of loggias and its inverted ship's hull roof, designed by Andrea Palladio.The first floor is taken up by the magnificent Council hall, which is 52 metre long and 25 metre high at the top of the vault, it hosts events and temporary exhibitions. Going up to the top floor you can reach the beautiful terrace of the Basilica Palladiana, one of the most suggestive panoramic viewpoints open to the public. From here it is possible to admire the city and its surrounding area: the lively streets of the centre, the red roofs and balconies of the city, the Sanctuary of Monte Berico, place of worship and pilgrimage. During spring and summer, the terrace hosts a cafè too.
Palladian Basilica, ground floor Piazza dei Signori, 44 - Tel. +39 0444 320799
First one in Italy and one of the few museums in the world exclusively dedicated to jewellery and the goldsmith art, the Jewellery Museum is an Italian Exhibition Group project, in collaboration with Comune di Vicenza. The Museum offers an unusual aesthetic experience in exploring jewellery, and promotes a very ancient object that is deeply rooted in human culture. Curated and directed by Alba Cappellieri, Professor of Jewellery Design at Milan Polytechnic and the main scholar of jewellery in Italy, offers a visit set out on two levels. The innovative staging, designed by the designer Patricia Urquiola coexists with the unique architecture of the Palladian Basilica, where the Museum is located. The curatorial choices aim to reinstate the semantic complexity of jewellery from disparate viewpoints, introducing the visitor to an awareness of different values and contents and, at the same time, of Vicenza as an authoritative cultural centre of jewellery.
The Galleries of Palazzo Thiene
Contrà S. Gaetano Thiene, 11 - Tel. 0444 320854
The palace stands on the Contrà San Gaetano Thiene, one of the central side roads of the Corso Palladio, in the part of the town opposite the Piazza dei Signori. The year before he went to see Rome with his mentor, the conte Gian Giorgio Trissino, who had a great influence on his architectural culture. Thus, it can hardly be a coincidence that his clients, the Thiene brothers from one of the most powerful families of Vicenza, are sophisticated people who are in contact with the highest ranking people in culture. The Thiene family had considered taking up an entire block in the historic town centre, with a view on the Corso, and involved one of the most famous architects at that time, Giulio Romano (1492-1546), who mostly worked for the Gonzagas in Mantua, but was in Vicenza in 1542 for advice on the Basilica and very likely to hand in a rough design of the Palazzo Thiene.
When he died prematurely, Palladio, the rising architect, was now fit to replace him. The building shows characteristic features of both architects. Romano typically arranged the atrium with four columns and the lower part of the facade, while the trabeations and capitals on the piano nobile are clearly Palladian. This goes for the only completed part of the complex, which overlooks a side road of the Corso: the death of one of the clients and other events damp the enthusiasm about a building which would, without any doubt, have caused a sensation and aroused envy for its unusual dimensions.
Palazzo Thiene, with its artistic collections and rich interiors adorned by decorations and frescoes, is a well-preserved example of Renaissance art and it is representative of the highest form ofarchitectural art in Veneto. It has been a World Heritage Site since 1994 and in 2016 it was recognised as a building of exceptional cultural interest.The Palazzo officially becomes a Civic Museum starting from 15th January 2022, finally opening its doors to visitors. It is possible to visit the rooms at the basement and on the first floor, with an exhibition of paintings, Antonibon ceramics and local Venetian sets of dishes from the 19th century and the attic, where prints by Remondini and sculptures by Arturo Martini are showcased.