Friends of FAI

Recently, I traveled to Venice, Italy for a week-long tour of the Palladian Villas, conducted by the Friends of FAI organization. The FAI is the National Trust for Italy and the Friends of FAI is an American Foundation that recognizes the artistic, architectural, historical and environmental heritage of Italy as an international resource of priceless value. I wanted to share some of my photos with you because I really had such a magnificent trip!

Villa Barbaro: We had our welcome cocktail and dinner here, hosted by the Countess Diamante Luling Buschetti Dalle Ore.  This gorgeous villa is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Andrea Palladio and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  There are 6 rooms inside with frescoes by Paolo Veronese, which represent his largest and most important fresco works. There are also stuccoes by Alessandro Vittoria.


Villa Emo: The 16th-century Villa is in Monselice, which is a bit southwest of Padova. We had a fabulous lunch here, hosted by Countess Marina Emo.  Built by the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi, the Villa sits at the base of the Euganean Hills, is filled with more gorgeous frescoes by Giambattista del Moro and Vincenzo Scamozzi.

The garden was breathtaking with orchards, ponds, and pergolas.


Bassano Del Grappa: Bassano, the birthplace of Grappa, had the oldest Italian distillery built at the entrance of the famous Bassano Bridge on the river Brenta, the Ponte degli Alpini.  The majestic, covered, wooden bridge spanning the Brenta river was built in 1209!  Over the last 8 centuries, it’s been flooded, destroyed, rebuilt, bombed during WWII, and then rebuilt again. “Alpini” actually refers to the Italian Alpine soldiers that rebuilt the bridge.

The absolutely stunning Teatro Olympico in Venice was a site to behold. Commissioned in 1580, it was Andrea Palladio’s last work and masterpiece.  There is a series of gorgeous bas reliefs, wooden perspectives, and statues of the commissioning academicians.

More stunning views of Venice:

And finally, a lovely gondolier ride on a beautiful day in Venice with my friend Sandy:

I had the most wonderful time and have so many fantastic memories to reflect back on. If you ever have the opportunity, and architecture is an interest of yours, I highly recommend it.

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