Projects XVI, XVII (fols. 53v-57r)

The distinction between the two projects – the first defined as once again Venetian (this time as Serlio thinks it should be, suitable ‘for a nobleman’ and not merely ‘for a private gentleman) and the second as ‘in Italy’ – seems rhetorical, since we have in front of us hardly differing variants of the typical square-plan Florentine/Roman palazzo with a porticoed internal courtyard.

Serlio is perhaps referring to the difference between the entrance atria. In Project XVI the entrance is a single, large and severely rectangular atrium which has, corresponding to it at the rear, a room which is in fact a sala and which is square. Project XVII has an entrance which is narrower and more typically Roman (indeed Sangallesque) made up of two successive atria at the front (the first rectangular with niches, the second oval) and a single oval atrium at the rear. Serlio also underlines the greater sumptuousness and planimetric complexity of the front of the house in the second project as a characteristic of non-Venetian palazzos.

The two storeys above the courtyard supporting terraces (particularly in Project XVII) are reminiscent of the first project for Ancy-le-Franc in the Columbia MS. And like that building, they are comparable to Palladio’s Palazzo Thiene, as remarked by Pée. Of interest is the description in the commentary of the rear façade of Project XVII with its portico and two superimposed loggias. Here Serlio specifies a covering for the loggias which is made of wood with beams and coffers. This is probably indebted to Peruzzi who put such a ceiling over the loggetta on the first internal courtyard of Palazzo Massimi in Rome.



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