(b. 1508, Padova, d. 1580, Maser)

Exterior view

Basilica, Vicenza

In 1549 Palladio commenced a two-story addition of open loggie wrapped around the fourteenth-century Palazzo della Ragione, a typical example of the public halls built in northern Italian cities at the close of the Middle ages. Palladio himself called it his Basilica, justifying the term by the structure's use as a law court, the original functions of the Roman basilicas. He used the motif we know today as the "Palladian motif or window" for both stories of the Basilica. It is an arched opening supported by columns and flanked by narrow rectangular openings or compartments. The medieval roof is still visible, but Palladio has deployed his arcades so that the old walls are invisible, and the roof seems moored to his building almost like a tent.