Palladio’s 192-Step Program

It’s a nice, crisp, partly-cloudy morning around my neck of the woods; ideal conditions, I’d say, to venture out with my iPhone 5 and tackle this week’s Phoneographic Challege: a study in Black and White.

Palladio's 192-Step Program | ©Tom Palladio ImagesIn the Borgo Berga neighborhood of Vicenza’s Centro Storico (Historic Center) stands an architectural project that was commissioned centuries ago by the Republic of Venice and designed by Renaissance master builder Andrea Palladio: Arco delle Scalette (Arch of the Steps).

Part of the greater UNESCO World Heritage site that is the City of Palladio, the Arch of the Steps marks another scenic route up the hill that dominates the scene: Monte Berico and its beautiful Sanctuario della Madonna di Monte Berico.

MonteBerico overlook_WM

Designed by Palladio around 1576, construction of the arch began in 1580 and was finally completed in 1595.

The ornate gateway stands on the very spot where legend has it the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared before a peasant woman, not once, but twice; first in 1426 and again in 1428.

Inspired by the grandiose buildings of ancient Rome, the triumphal arch — nearly completely destroyed during a World War II bombing raid over Vicenza —  is everything one would expect from the master visionary, Palladio.

At the top of the arch, sculptured by Giambattista Albanese, stands the Lion of Saint Mark bookended by Carpoforo and Leonzio, two protectorate saints. Inside the two columns of the arch are niches displaying statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel, both sculptured by late-Baroque period artist Orazio Marinali.

Palladio's 192-Step Program | ©Tom Palladio ImagesThe scalette, 192 steps divided into 32 flights, formed the only hardscape route to the Santuario until the construction of an 18th century, two-section, covered arcade made the hike up to Monte Berico much easier.

Next time you’re in my fair city, or come visit for the very first time, you should give Palladio’s 192-step program a try.

For more examples of B&W phoneography, just click HERE.

If you occasionally shoot with an iThingie, why not join in the fun and hone your craft. There’s a rotating Phoneography Challenge each and every Monday. For details, visit Sally’s Lens and Pens by Sally.

Until next Monday, let your iThingie be your lens.

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Paladio Images

TPT's Borsalino in B&W | ©Tom Palladio Images




  1. Love the steps going up with those marvellous pyramid columns with finials x also glad to see it is raining in Italy. It’s wet, windy and horrid in puddingshire!

    1. Whatever they are, they are not Palladian or reflect the arch’s Romanesque style. If I were to guess, I’d say they were Marian columns, do to the fact that the steps begin where the Blessed Virgin Mary was supposedly seen twice back in the 1400s.

  2. This set of images works beautifully with today’s theme. They all show off the subject with the contrasts and tones heightened. Especially enjoyed the signage (perspective) and stairs (leading howard). Happy Phoneogrpahy Monday.

  3. I like the last two with the steps the best. I have to say that with the marvelous colors of Italy, it’s hard to prefer the B&W. But I think those two makes the jump quite nicely.


  4. Long time no see, Tom – good to catch up, especially with this great b&w Palladio study. Did you catch up with this new website
    – a work in progress, apparently, listing the growing number of Palladian villas that are opening up, or even converting to home stays/hotels. I’d love to hop in a car and wend my way through the Veneto’s back roads finding these gems but since that’s not on the cards now for a couple of years, I delegate the adventure to the man in the hat 🙂

    1. Meredith — I’m aware of the site. I believe I passed the link on to someone who’s planning to travel over here and visit the villas and had asked me for info. As soon as I get organized, I plan to cover each in detail. It’s the least I can do for my “namesake.” 🙂 How have you been?

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