The Palladian villas were built around the mid sixteenth century by the architect Palladio for the area's leading families, particularly nobles and members of the Venetian Republic's high society.
24 of them are included on UNESCO's World Heritage list and are notoriously different to Roman villas and Tuscan Medici villas since they were not merely built for the owner's enjoyment, but mainly as productive complexes , surrounded by cultivated fields and vineyards, with stores, barns and agricultural buildings.
Due also to the descriptions and detailed drawings that Palladio published in his treatise The Four Books of Architecture (1570), the Palladian villas became a topic of study for architects around the world, who then took inspiration from them for their own creations.
The most famous, must-see villas? Villa Capra Valmarana, also called “La Rotonda”, located just outside Vicenza; Villa Godi Malinverni, one of Palladio's very first works, at Lugo di Vicenza; Villa Pojana; Villa Thiene at Quinto Vicentino; Villa Chiericati Da Porto Rigo at Vancimuglio di Grumolo delle Abbadesse which, for the first time in the history of Palladio, incorporated an authentic pronaos temple into the body of the residence; Villa Angarano at Bassano del Grappa, whose lateral wings were constructed according to the famous architect's design.