Yesterday morning we all left the villa at 6 am at head towards San Vito, Italy. This small town has a hidden wonder inside, a cemetery called Tomba Brion. The architect is Scarpa, the same designer as a few places I went to in Venice. The cemetery was stunning from beginning to end. The entrance was immediately striking with its straight-line concrete slabs and small pond. The first part of the cemetery had a small chapel inside and it was very personal and quaint. It was dark, but the small windows behind the altar were operable and so there was some control over how much light could come in. But it was perfect in that way, reflecting the mood that is probably typically present there. A corridor led to a small field with two memorials placed in the open space. A thin path led to yet another structure that welcomed visitors to the cemetery. The dark hall felt cold, but openings allowed for a break in the somewhat uncomfortable space. At the end was another pond, with a concrete walkway that seemed to float on top of the water. The whole cemetery was peaceful and nostalgic somehow. Scarpa’s design was so uniform over the whole structure, paying careful attention to all details like how a wall ends and even the hardware on a door. I really enjoyed the cemetery and I found it inspirational for some reason. His details in everything were outstanding.
Next we headed to Vicenza, Italy to see some of Palladio’s work. He was a famous architect and theoretician many, many years ago. We looked at his Olympia Theater, an old theater with a unique stage set. These “street” props have exaggerated perspective to make the back stage part of a false deep-looking set. It was very different and I’d love to see a play here simply to see the set in action! The facade on the stage was incredibly detailed and has held up well for how old it is. We also saw his facade on the Museo del Gieillo, which covers an old Gothic building behind it. We talked about how he connected the two time periods within the aesthetics of his facade. We sketched and took pictures there for a while before heading to our final stop.
Our final stop of the day was Verona, Italy. The city was extremely popular this week as a huge wine festival was going on and the streets were packed with people everywhere. Our main destination here was Castelvecchio Museum, an old museum renovated by Scarpa. It had similar design ideas to the cemetery such as the grid-like cuts and material uses. The museum had beautiful architecture, again with close attention to detail. Scarpa even designed customized mechanisms to hold specific pieces of art. It was really nice to walk around the museum for a while and part of the old castle, which offered some nice views of Verona. When we were finished there, we did a small walking tour of the town to see a couple other notable buildings. I really enjoyed both Vicenza and Verona, and was excited to be able to see the Brion cemetery. It was a wonderful day trip!