If Palladio was able to realize his wonders it is certainly thanks to his genius. But also, if not above all, of the effects of that " economic miracle " which, in the 16th century, brought the Veneto on the mainland to the top of European technological innovation and productivity. When, exactly ten years ago, CISA Palladio opened the Palladio Museum in Palazzo Barbaran da Porto, a mulberry tree was planted in the center of the noble courtyard. To clarify to visitors that Palladio could not have created villas and palaces today object of universal admiration without that tree, that is without the activity of the silk factories that were fed by the cocoons woven by caterpillars, which fed on the mulberry leaves.
And it is no coincidence that the exhibition, for the first time, points out how that great entrepreneurial story was chosen as the flagship event of the Museum's ten-year anniversary. “ Water, Earth, Fire. Industrial Architecture of the Veneto of the Renaissance ”, curated by Deborah Howard of St. John's College in Cambridge, investigates the extraordinary industrial development that transformed the countryside and hills of the Veneto into highly efficient manufactures that were unparalleled in the world of the time. A very powerful Silicon Valley located in peripheral areas, at the foot of the hills of the upper Vicenza and Treviso area, above all. Here the waters that offered the driving force flowed with impetus, here the raw materials were treated which, molded with fire and the same water were transformed into innovative products, in great demand on the markets of the Serenissima and throughout Europe.
What made the difference compared to similar companies on the continent was the ability to innovate, to develop and patent new technologies and, at the same time, to focus on widespread commercial networks. The exhibition, the result of more than 3 years of research in museums, archives, libraries and in the "field" (research funded by the Leverhulme Trust of London), highlights what until now had remained behind the scenes. Through paintings, maps, drawings, objects and ancient models he makes us discover the architectures of the industrial boom of the Renaissance Veneto, that is to say the factories of the North-East of five centuries ago. Without the wealth they produced, Andrea Palladio's villas and palaces could not have taken shape.