8 Palazzo Barbaran da Porto
This magnificent residence, created in the period 1569-1575 for the Vicentine nobleman Montano Barbarano, is the only large urban palazzo that Andrea Palladio ever fully completed. Barbarano asked Palladio to consider the possible inclusion of various houses belonging to his family which already existed at the site of the new building and, following completion of the drawings, purchased yet another adjacent house, which eventually resulted in the asymmetric positioning of the entrance portal. In any case, constraints imposed by the site itself and also by his demanding client induced Palladio to adopt a number of rather 'courageous' and refined solutions. The architect's masterful work at this site is a sophisticated 'restructuring' project that merged various pre-existing buildings into a single complex. On the ground floor, a magnificent four-columned atrium welds together the two pre-existing buildings. For this purpose Palladio solved two problems: supporting the floor of the great hall on the piano nobile and restoring a symmetrical appearance to the atrium conditioned by the oblique course of the perimeter walls from the pre-existing houses. To decorate the palazzo, Montano subsequently commissioned some of the greatest artists of his time, including Battista Zelotti, Anselmo Canera, Andrea Vicentino and Lorenzo and Agostino Rubini, who worked in the building in various periods.