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Discover the wonders of Castelfranco Veneto (Treviso) with GUIDATOUR’s audioguides
As its two-word name explains – ‘Castel’ = Castle, ‘franco’ = exempt – Castelfranco Veneto was originally a tax-exempt Mediaeval town. Its imposing red-brick square castle was erected on an existing embankment in the late 12th century by the nearby Mediaeval Commune of Treviso, just north of a village called Pieve Nova, on the eastern bank of the Muson torrent, to defend the treacherous borders of the territories of Padua and Vicenza.
The Mediaeval ramparts of the fortified town, its four angular towers and two towers on the eastern and southern flanks are still visible today almost in their entirety. The eight hundred years of history of Castelfranco Veneto is closely linked to its strategic position in the middle of the Veneto region, which made it a shopping-place along the routes connecting Venice, Germany and Flanders, and more generally between Western Europe and the Eastern plains.
It was home of the Venetian podestà palace from 1339 to 1797 and the birth place of renowned scientists (Jacopo, Giordano and Vincenzo Riccati), architect Francesco Maria Preti, and musician Agostino Steffani during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, what makes Castelfranco Veneto universally known is its being the home town of Giorgione (1478 – 1510) – one of the most unconventional and mysterious personalities in the history of painting and enigmatic genius of light and colour. The rampards of Castelfranco still hold two valuable jewels among the few ascribed to the Master –the hermetic Casa Marta-Pellizzari Frieze, and the world-famous Altarpiece housed in the St. Liberalis Cathedral.
Castelfranco’s double identity as a fortified city on one hand and Giorgione’s home-town on the other is documented by the fascinated , enraptured descriptions of poets, writers, and travellers who have come here from far and wide over the years.
The museum leads visitors through valuable objects, ancient personalities, architectural and environmental reconstructions to the discovery of its three main protagonists: the Altarpiece, the Frieze of Liberal and Mechanical Arts and Giorgione’s home itself. Around this precious heritage, the set-up of the museum materializes the atmospheres between the end of the XV and the beginning of the XVI century: what comes to light from the Altarpiece are: old armors, beautiful cloths and an extraordinary landscape, an educational itinerary that walks the visitor across a crescendo of marvel to the Frieze, towards the knowledge of the enigmatic character of Giorgione and his time.
Designed by the architect Francesco Maria Preti in 1746, from the Riccati’s Academy, a cultural association very operative in the city during the Age of Enlightenment.
The theatre was built between 1754 and 1780, but the actual aspect of the building is the result of a series of reworks realized in the next century, thanks to Giambattista Meduna and Antonio Barea.
Its authenticity consists in the double function of the theatre: the dialy one (for the academic meetings) and the nocturnal one ( for the theatrical representations) and in its great acoustics.
Designed by Francesco Maria Preti in 1723, the Cathedral was built starting from 1724 on the site of a pre-existing Romanesque Church. This impressive design takes inspiration from the Redeemer’s Palladian Church in Venice. Inside the building, Preti applied his own theories, and particularly the harmonic mean proportion.
The most important artwork that can be found inside the Cathedral is the Altarpiece by Giorgione along with many other influential artists, such as Palma il Giovane, Jacopo Bassano and the seven fragments of the frescoes that Veronese painted for Villa Soranza in Treville, demolished at the beginning of the XIX century.