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Renaissance master Andrea Palladio's architectural DNA can be seen on modern-day icons from Buckingham Palace to the White House, from numerous English stately homes to Virginian plantation houses. In THE PERFECT HOUSE Witold Rybczynski travels along the Brenta River in north-eastern Italy to experience the surviving original Palladian villas for himself. He sets out to discover how a rustic sixteenth-century stonemason, born Andrea di Pietro, first had to become 'cultured' before he could be one of the most respected architects of all time, and how Palladio managed to bring the elegance of Ancient Rome to the Venetian countryside. Out of the chaos of hired cars and cheap flights, towns packed with 'Ristoranti Palladio' and herds of tourists, Rybczynski savours moments of epiphany as he contemplates Palladio's perfect houses. Part travelogue, part historical biography, part architectural guide, THE PERFECT HOUSE is a delightful and enlightening exploration of the birth of domestic architecture and the man who spawned it.