ROME, my Mistress. Vitruvius, my Master, Architecture, my Life." Such was the trinity acknowledged by Andrea Palladio (1518-80), a stonemason's son from Vicenza, Italy, who grew up to rule over a whole generation of fellow architects and to recast the classic style of Rome and Greece with such elegance and authority that his Palladian style became one of the longest-lasting and most widely accepted personal idioms in the history of architecture. In an effort to preserve Pal-ladio's work (many of his most beautiful structures were made of common brick and perishable stucco), the Italian government late last year appropriated more than...

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