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Palladian Days: Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country Houseby Sally Gable
Synopses & Reviews
What Sally Gable thought she wanted was a summer house in New Hampshire. What she found and learned to love was a new life in a beautiful and celebrated Palladian villa in the countryside outside Venice. In Palladian Days, she takes us with her on a journey of discovery and transformation as she and her husband, Carl, become the bemused owners of Villa Cornaro, built in 1552 by the great Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio called by Town & Country one of the ten most influential buildings in the world.
Sally Gable writes lovingly of the villa as she and Carl settle in and slowly uncover its history, the lives of its former inhabitants, and its architectural pleasures. She tells of her early days there, learning to speak Italian with the help of her engaging new neighbors in the tiny town that surrounds the villa, Piombino Dese, a place both traditional and busily modern with its old-fashioned street markets and its burgeoning economy.
She writes with beguiling humor about learning to take care of a Renaissance palace with its 104 frescoes and 44 pairs of shutters (all of which have to be opened and closed daily). She tells of baffling encounters with the soprintendente di belle arti, who must give permission for even the smallest repair to the Italian national treasure Sally and Carl call home. And she describes the life she and her husband create for the villa itself, allowing it to be used for concerts, ballet performances, even as a movie set.
In Palladian Days, we enter with Sally and Carl into their engrossing adventure, following along as they are woven ever more deeply into the fabric of small-town Italy and into its larger national history. Their story will delight travelers and would-be travelers; all who are fascinated by architecture, by art, by the powerful essence of place—and, especially, house-dreamers everywhere.
"Eighteen of the innovative 16th-century villas by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio survive today in Italy's Veneto region, and one of them, Villa Cornaro, made it onto Town & Country's list of the world's 10 most important buildings. The sixth family to occupy this country house during its 450-year history, the Gables reside there for half the year (she's on the boards of various educational and musical organizations; he's a lawyer and author of a book on Venetian glass). Sally Gable portrays the villa, the people who live in the surrounding countryside and their fading traditions, which 'may be in their last generation.' In fluid prose, she recalls the 1987 — 1988 negotiations that led to the couple's purchase, the previous inhabitants and her research into the history of the palatial house, its 104 frescoes and Palladio himself. Surmounting swarming bees and the usual maintenance problems, the Gables brought grandeur back to the villa, eventually receiving house guests and film crews, hosting dinner parties and staging cultural events. This delightful mix of memoir, travel guide and recipes is, in essence, a twist on these well-worn genres — a very chic, expensive twist at that. Photos. Agent, Kitty Benedict. (July 1)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This delightful book for armchair and real travelers alike details the adventures of an American couple whose search for a summer home in New Hampshire ends up in Italy's Veneto region. Illustrations.
About the Author
Sally Gable, a church music director by training, has served on the boards of Radcliffe College, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and other educational and musical organizations. Carl I. Gable, a lawyer and businessman and the author of a book on Venetian glass, has served on the boards of the Spoleto Festival USA, the Atlanta Opera, the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, and the Center for Palladian Studies in America. They divide their time between Atlanta and Villa Cornaro in Italy.
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