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“For the noble Counts Della Torre, Michele built a very beautiful Chapel in the manner of a round temple with an altar in the middle, in their villa of Fumane”. This is how Giorgio Vasari, in his work The Lives of the artists, attributes the Chapel at Villa Della Torre to Michele Sanmicheli, an architect and urban planner who worked mainly in the cities of Verona and Venice. The Chapel has an octagonal plan with irregular sides, the largest of which are occupied by four large apsidal niches containing statues of the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). It is covered by an almost perfectly hemispherical dome, with a radius measuring some 9 feet, and its segments – devoid of ornaments and moldings – rest directly on the sides of the octagon, without the use of a tholobate (drum). The altar, moved in the eighteenth century to its current position in the apse, was originally placed in the center, as required by the circle of the Spirituali which included Gian Matteo Giberti and Francesco Della Torre.

The atrium of the Chapel seems, instead, to have been designed differently and bears some distinct hallmarks of Giulio Romano’s works, suggesting that it was built during an earlier phase, and in the context of the construction of the villa, as the avant-corps of the pre-existing fourteenth-century church, while Sanmicheli worked only on the octagonal Chapel, a change that took place after the demolition of the previous Church of Santa Maria della Corte.

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