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JANICE & GEORGE SCANTLAND AT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY IN ROME
JANICE & GEORGE SCANTLAND AT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY IN ROME

1508 - 2008, Villa Palladio first opened it's doors 500 years after Andrea Palladio's birthdate. The most influential architect the world has ever known, is reverend by modern day self-taught architect and interior designer George Scantland in his first classically designed home on the Florida island of Casey Key in the United States.

"This is my humble tribute to my mentor and Italian Renaissance genius, Andrea Palladio, 1508 - 1580" , Scantland recently explained.

In 2003, Scantland, a lover of most things Italian, was lucky enough to be sitting at the same dinner table at the American Academy In Rome with living legend architect, author and Yale Dean, Robert A.M. Stern. " Stern, who I consider to be the world's foremost neo-classical architect of our time, advised me,'if you admire Palladio's work, you must go to Vincenza'. " With that advise, Scantland was off to Vincenza for the first of many trips.

Vincenza is the small town jewel in the old Venetian Republic countryside called the Veneto also known as "terra firma" by the ancients. Here is where Palladio honed his craft and designed seventeen villas for his noble patrons. Later as his fame grew he gained even greater commissions with public buildings and the grandest compliment of all in sixteenth century Venice, 3 churches.

When he was a mere stonemason's apprentice in nearby Padua, Andrea di Pietro della Gondola as he was known in his youth, Palladio's true talent was discovered by Vincenza's leading humanist, Count Trissino. As Palladio's champion and mentor, Trissino educated Andrea by taking him to Rome. Not entirely in ruins, Palladio studied, measured and sketched the Roman's great wonders in architecture.

"I arrived in Rome for the first time in 1977", Scantland remembers fondly. "For me it was a life changing event. It was at night and only the greatest architecture was lighted; and, as if the buildings could speak, 'George. Focus on me,' each glorious structure seemed to cry out,' I was designed by one of the most brilliant Romans architects you'd ever hope to meet.' I'd like to think Palladio's visual feast was at least similar to mine."

And so, the apprenticeship journey for Scantland began as it should, right there in Rome, just as Palladio had done a half millennium before him. For Rome is the Mecca of all that is perfect in architecture. Palladio found perfection there and began to imitate it as best he could. Andrea was self-taught and mainly studied the Roman scholar and theorist Virtruvius. History and the Palladians who followed proved Palladio the master and most influential architect the world has ever known. Thus, one of the most recent disciples and Palladians, George Scantland, dedicates his first classical villa to the master and names it for him.

Just as Palladio was self-taught through his half dozen visits to Rome and reading Virtruvius, so was Thomas Jefferson. Considered one of America's national treasures and great examples of Palladinism is Jefferson' s mansion, Monticello. In his retirement, the third U.S. president personally designed the new university of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1817. All this classical architecture with no formal training, Jefferson was a true Renaissance man.

When asked, "Are there more villas to come"?  "Well, of course", Scantland, a former twenty-eight year broadcasting and publishing entrepreneur, always replies, "It's my second career. Perhaps it should have been my first". Actually, it is more like a third career. He was a third generation home builder in the family business until his twenty-ninth year. Architecture and design are in the genes. The famed world recognized interior designer, Mark Hampton is Scantland's cousin. And, of course, so is Alexa Hampton, Mark's daughter,who has built her own design firm to rave reviews in HOUSE BEAUTIFUL and ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST.

Villa Palladio is for sale by Mr. Scantland's firm. The architect adds, "As you would expect, our website does not do the Villa justice. Only a visit allows our clients to feel and experience the atmosphere and harmony of our architecture, art and style. To walk the marble floors and touch the marmorino plaster walls at Villa Palladio, is to understand it's uncompromising construction. Palladio's disciplines and practice of symmetry are usually noticed first. Most visitors find the architectural decorative details remarkable. And, then there is the warmth of the right colors and comfort of the correct furniture and fabrics that produce this sense of balance and well being you can only experience in person. We highly recommend the Grand Tour."

The firm's name is Morgan Scantland Design, Inc. Morgan is his wife, Janice's, maiden name. Janice and other associates make up a full compliment of architects, designers, artists and craftsmen.

For the website, Scantland plans more photos and interesting details of the villa in Sarasota County, Florida. Scantland also intends to give decorating hints on how his team manages to create warm interiors in an otherwise cold environment of stone and marble. " Making our classic home designs warm and comfortable is our specialty ".