At the foot of the Villa Rotonda


The cultural landscape of the Bacchiglione as the level of expectation of World Cultural Heritage, a relevant orientation for the future of the city of Vicenza

The research project explores a unique cultural landscape that to this day -due to a stroke of good fortune- is preserved in the immediate vicinity of the city of Vicenza (Italy, Veneto): the Bacchiglione river valley at the foot of the Villa Rotonda (1565, Andrea Palladio, UNESCO – World Cultural Heritage). The Villa Rotonda, probably the most famous Palladian Villa can still –as described by J. W. von Goethe in the Italian Journey– be visited by a short walk from the city center through the middle of a cultural landscape steeped in tradition, a landscape onto which the Villa and its famous Ionic Loggias open up.

This connection with the open landscape isn’t self-evident for a modern 21st century city, rather a precedent for the usual urban development and hardly protectable for the future. Nevertheless this offers the unique opportunity for Vicenza to open up the city towards the river landscape from both the center as well as from the periphery, therefore developing it in harmony with the Villa and the world cultural heritage.

So far the project consists of a mix of research work and seminars in the master degree program. The student works are essential for the visualization of the specific architectural and municipal planning potential of the project areas and should contribute to the exhibitions (planned in Vicenza). During the summer semester 2014 students used bricks to make a 1:1 mock-up reconstruction of the Villa Rotonda’s brick layout in afield trial. During the winter semester 2015, 13 students worked on 5 different project areas as part of an overarching framework. Another seminar on „Benchmarks in the landscape“ is planned for the summer semester.

The research work, which until now was focused on the preliminary exploration of the Bacchiglione river landscape to the east of Vicenza, is to be expanded:

  • The focus of the academic research is the interrelation between the cultural heritage and its immediate context – especially how its expansion and relevance are to measured and assessed – the level of expectation of a historically evolved cultural infrastructure.
  • Dieter Klöppel and Bruno Schindler are preparing a research proposal on the Bacchiglione valley in the area of the roman Centuration around the Via Pelosa and its development from medieval times until the Age of Enlightenment.
  • The possibility of an exemplary development of the city of Vicenza situated at the edge of Bacchiglione valley is supported by hopes of a high-speed railway service (Venezia - Torino) that is expedited here with a big budget by FS (Ferrovie dello Stato) – an ideal object of study for civil engineers and economists.

Ultimately the aim of the project is to make a contribution to the interlinking of world cultural heritage and contemporary urban development. It is important to identify the thematic areas that meet the level of expectation of cultural heritage. This allows for the meaningful development of the site’s identity and eventually the creation of a quality of life that remains worthy of preservation in the future.

Research project, student project, exhibition

Dipl. Arch. Bruno Schindler
Dipl.-Ing. Dieter Klöppel
Reto Bellinger
Carsten Hensgens M.Sc

3 years, 2014 - present

History of Architecture, cultural heritage,
cultural landscape, urban development – Italy,
Veneto, Andrea Palladio, Villa Rotonda

Department responsible:
Department of History of Architecture

Department of Landscape Planning

Stadt Vicenza

Pictures of the excursion:
PDF download

Zu Füßen der Villa
Weltkulturerbe: Die Villen des Palladio im Veneto
Die Logik des traditionellen Ziegels
Die palladianische Villa


Picture gallery