A Commoner on the Piano Nobile

Casa Mia Foyer | ©Tom Palladio ImagesI live on the first floor (one above the ground floor) of a palazzo (palace) that was built in 1925 — later expanded then converted to a palazzo in condominio (apartment building) — and overlooks Campo Marzo, Vicenza’s main park that lies just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Centro Storico (Old Town Center).

My floor — only two apartments — is where the original owners lived, and the floor was referred to then as the piano nobile (noble floor).

Way back at the very start of the Renaissance period — the 14th century — the piano nobile began to appear and referred to the principle floor of a palace or large house owned by nobility. Today, the term is little used, unless one really does live in an old palace; but, my building, designed in stile Liberty (Liberty style) — a late 19th-early 20th century interpretation of the classic Renaissance look — did, for a while, exist as the noble floor, as the original owners were part of Vicenza’s upper crust.

Up the Down Staircases-4 | ©Tom Palladio ImagesWith some ceilings nearly touching the sky, the owners were able to use the extra height to add a soppalco (loft) with additional living space just under the original wooden beams. Up there is where the master bedroom, bath, walk-in closet and landing are located.

The park views, ample space, classic looks with modern upgrades and a large terrace overlooking the building’s interior courtyard, what’s not to like about it?

Decorative pavimento alla Veneziano | ©Tom Paladio ImagesTo be honest, I really fell in love with the apartment because of its colorful and decorative pavimento alla Veneziano (terrazzo floors). After just one look at that sparkling mosaic “carpet,” I agreed to rent my piece of the piano nobile — and history — on the spot.

From the moment I clear the main entry door into the palazzo, I take six flights of stairs (four outside my flat, two inside) and a total of 52 steps upward to finally get to the master bedroom on the second floor of my two-story abode.

More times than not, I take the stairs, not the lift, up to the piano nobile. After all, I’m just a commoner.

You wanna come on-a my house and have a look around? Terrific.

Hit it, Rosemary!


  1. Actually I still stay with my parent. My room doesn’t big enough but I’ll decorate it next year. I do love the mosaic carpet. What a lovely apartment, I want my (fresh) room look like yours =)

    1. Cynthia — Thanks for touring my-a house. The dog, unfortunately, was just a “rental” — my daughter brought her along (Tiramisu) when she visited me last summer.

    1. Emily — It is indeed a nice pad and Vicenza’s a nice, small town for me to hang my Borsalino. Gourmet cook? That’s high praise, but I’m not that good. It’s probably the photography fooling you into believing that. I have to cook only because I have to eat, otherwise….

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