This book is a study in the cultural and historical geography of Italy. It uses Andrea Palladio's (1508-1580) architectural texts and designs for both urban and rural building as its entry into the patrician cultures of the city states and their hinterlands. It illuminates the relationships between metropolis and province - linking transformation of city and country to visions of landscape derived largely from late Renaissance humanism. By examining both the imaginative projection of idealized landscapes and the practical transformation of physical environments, the book extends our understanding of the mentality of pre-modern Europe. Specific chapters deal with Venetian civic culture as the Republic's economic and political interests shifted from maritime trade to the exploitation and defence of land territories; the architectural transformation of Vicenza's urban landscape into a stage for the autocelebration of the local nobility; Vergillian ideals of cultivated rural life and their realization in Palladian villas and surrounding the estates; the relationships between this Classical culture and practical engineering as revealed in land reclamation, drainage, survey and mapping; and finally the metaphors of machine and theatre through which a broad cultural discourse of "new worlds" was constructed to deal with the city states' altered place in the world of 16th-century geographical discovery and conquest.