Vicenza in large part owes its beauty to Andrea Palladio, who in the 16th century built a few dozen palaces all over the city. A visitor to Vicenza can hardly do worse than follow sign-posted Palladian itinerary around town.
We only had a few hours in the city and admired most of the masterpieces from outside, starting with the grandiose Basilica Palladiana ♥ and impressive Loggia del Capitaniato ♥, both located on the main beautiful Piazza dei Signori ♥♥. We also stepped into courtyards of Teatro Olimpico ♥ and of small Casa Cologga without going inside the buildings.
One palace that we went in was Palazzo Barbaran that houses Palladio Museum ♥♥♥. The museum takes just a few rooms, each one with a marvellous ceiling. There is tons of information about Palladio, his works, and their influence on the architectural leanings worldwide, including short video-lectures projected on the walls in every room. A great place for any student of architecture.
One other famous building by Palladio, Villa la Rotonda is located some ways out of city center. The distance is walkable for those who want to see it. We ended up driving by, but you cannot really see the mansion from the narrow street which allows access to it. Instead, if you drive on Viale Riviera Berica (SP 247), you will have an excellent view of the villa; there is even a large pocket on the road to pull in and get out of the car for an unhurried view ♥.
For non-Palladian interests, there is a separate Roman itinerary, also well-signposted and taking the visitor around ancient remnants and locations. There are also a couple of churches worth a look. We stepped into Santa Corona ♥ which has a great altarpiece, and into Duomo ♥ which has a surprisingly attractive interior with red-brick restored decorations.
Places to Eat
Ristorante Al Paradiso ♥ is around the corner from the Basilica on a pedestrian piazzeta. Good service, nice street setting, some hints of a tourist trap, but positive on balance. We had excellent antipasto alla veneto, consisting of salami and polenta, and made a couple of great pasta choices. Our damage: €47 for two with half-bottle of wine. Last visit: Summer of 2014.
There are several parking lots at the edge of the city core. We made less than optimal choice of Viale Eretenio car park, not far from the Duomo. It required a new payment after two hours max and was relatively expensive. Research your options ahead of time.