Corso Andrea Palladio is the main street of Vicenza, named in 1945 after the famous Renaissance architect. About 700 meters in lenght, it crosses the historical center of the city from west to east, respectively from Porta Castello to Piazza Giacomo Matteotti.
The current street corresponds substantially to what, in Roman times, was the decumanus maximus (the main road in a Roman city, oriented from west to east). Also called strata major, after the construction of the early medieval walls of the city, it was bordered to the west by the Porta Feliciana and to the east by the Porta San Pietro.
During the Middle Ages, but also in modern times, Corso Palladio retained the function of linking the neighbouring cities of Veneto, respectively Verona and Padua. Near its edges, there were inns, taverns and, later, parking lots.
In 1847, the historian Cesare Cantù called it the most elegant street in Europe, if you do not count the Grand Canal of the incomparable Venice.
In 1866, after the annexation of Veneto to the Kingdom of Italy, the street was officially called Corso Principe Umberto. In 1943, the name was changed to Corso Ettore Muti and finally, after the Liberation, in June 1945, the most important street of Vicenza received its current name. The street was closed to car traffic in 1983.
Corso Palladio starts from Porta Castello and the Torrione, the only remaining structures of the castle built in 1343 by Antonio and Mastino II della Scala.
Adjacent to the tower, there is the Palazzo Marchi, which was built on the site of the former castle, demolished in the 19th century. Worth mentioning is the arched portal, with a female head, crowned by a triangular tympanum with two lying female figures.
Then, the street crosses the Castello Square, where, on the left, we can see the Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, built by the sculptor Ettore Ferrari in 1887.
After the square, also on the left, there is the Palazzo Thiene Bonin Longare, began in 1572 by Andrea Palladio for Francesco Thiene, and completed after the death of the architect by Vincenzo Scamozzi. The palace, headquarters of the General Confederation of Italian Industry in Vicenza, was included in 1994 in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.
On the right, there is the Palazzo Piovene, built in the 1860s to a design by the architect Antonio Piovene. Between 1872 and 1900, the palace housed Hotel Roma and was later destined for homes and shops.
After we pass by the Stradella dei Filippini, on the left, we can see the Church of San Filippo Neri, with a facade built between 1822 and 1824 by the Vicenza-born architect Antonio Piovene. The central part of the facade is made up of four giant Corinthian semi-columns, with high entablature and triangular pediment, resting on a high plinth and flanked by two wings that correspond to the side chapels.
About 50 meters further, on the right, there is the Palazzo Capra Clementi, currently the headquarters of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. On the opposite side of the street, we can find Palazzo Thiene, built in the 16th century, and the Galleria del Pozzo Rosso, a modern pedestrian gallery built between 1957 and 1960, which connects Corso Palladio with Corso Fogazzaro.
About 280 meters further, on the left, there is the Palazzo Caldogno Dal Toso Franceschini Da Schio, also known as the Ca’ d’Oro (Golden House, in venetian dialect). The palace was built in the 14th century by the Caldogno family and completed in late Gothic style around the year 1477 by the Dal Toso family.
Adjacent to Ca’ d’Oro is the Church of San Gaetano, a church built in Neoclassical style during the 18th century. The facade of the church, with eight Corinthian columns, divided on two superimposed levels by a trabeation, is slightly set back from the street level, fitting harmoniously between the neighboring buildings.
About 80 meters further, also on the left, there is the Church of Santa Corona, one of the most important churches in the city, built in the second half of the 13th century and enriched over the centuries by numerous works of art. Near the church, we can find the cloisters of the former Dominican convent, currently home to the Civic Archaeological Naturalistic Museum.
After the church, we can find the Casa Cogollo, also known as the Casa del Palladio (Home of Palladio), a palace built in 1559 by the architect Andrea Palladio. The palace was included in 1994 on the list of 23 Palladian monuments of Vicenza, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Next, this time on the right, as we enter Piazza Matteotti, we can see the Palazzo Chiericati, the beautiful palace built in Renaissance style in 1550 by the same Andrea Palladio. Today, the palace houses the Civic Museum of Vicenza, and was also included in 1994 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.
Finally, on the left, there is the Teatro Olimpico, a theater designed by Andrea Palladio in 1580 and inaugurated in 1585. The theater is the first and oldest covered theater of the modern era. The Olympic Theater is famous for its fixed stage built by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi.
HOW TO GET THERE
Porta Castello, the western limit of Corso Palladio, is located about 500 meters from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Castello, about 70 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 17, 18, 101, 121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 133, 134 and 142.