Cornaro crest

Giovanni Maria Falconetto

Born: c. 1458, Verona

Died: c. 1534, Padua

Renaissance painter and architect GIOVANNI MARIA FALCONETTO designed the first rigorously al antica structure in the Veneto: the Loggia Cornaro, commissioned by Falconetto's patron and promoter Alvise Cornaro for the garden of his home in Padua. Thus, although many precursors can be cited, Falconetto can be fairly described as the architect who finally launched in Northern Italy and Venice the Renaissance architectural concepts that had already taken root in Rome and Florence. That introduction soon formed a foundation for the work of Andrea Palladio of Padua and Vicenza, which changed the course of Western architecture.

Falconetto grew up in a family of artists. His father Giacomo, brother Giovanni and great-uncle Stefano de Verona were all established painters. After a period of study in Rome, Falconetto's own focus centered on architecture, perhaps at the urging of Alvise Cornaro, with whom Falconetto's name is inextricably linked.

Cornaro had a hand in virtually all of Falconetto's work in the Veneto. In addition to his designing of the Loggia Cornaro, Falconetto may also have played a role in the adjoining Odeo Cornaro, although that structure was erected after his death. Falconetto also designed Cornaro's villa at Este; the elements of the villa itself have been largely lost through subsequent renovation, but an imposing adjacent gate remains in Falconetto's characteristic design. Cornaro, through his relationship with the Bishop of Padua, was no doubt responsible also for Falconetto's commission to design the magnificent Villa dei Vescovi [Villa of the Bishops] at Luvigliano.


1997-9 C. I. Gable