cover image PALLADIAN DAYS: Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House

PALLADIAN DAYS: Finding a New Life in a Venetian Country House

Sally Gable, Carl Gable, with Carl I. Gable. . Knopf, $22.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-4337-8

Eighteen of the innovative 16th-century villas by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio survive today in Italy's Veneto region, and one of them, Villa Cornaro, made it onto Town & Country 's list of the world's 10 most important buildings. The sixth family to occupy this country house during its 450-year history, the Gables reside there for half the year (she's on the boards of various educational and musical organizations; he's a lawyer and author of a book on Venetian glass). Sally Gable portrays the villa, the people who live in the surrounding countryside and their fading traditions, which "may be in their last generation." In fluid prose, she recalls the 1987–1988 negotiations that led to the couple's purchase, the previous inhabitants and her research into the history of the palatial house, its 104 frescoes and Palladio himself. Surmounting swarming bees and the usual maintenance problems, the Gables brought grandeur back to the villa, eventually receiving house guests and film crews, hosting dinner parties and staging cultural events. This delightful mix of memoir, travel guide and recipes is, in essence, a twist on these well-worn genres—a very chic, expensive twist at that. Photos. Agent, Kitty Benedict. (July 1)