Fra Giovanni Giocondo was an Italian architect, engineer, archaeologist and classical scholar who was born in Verona around 1433. At eighteen he entered the Dominican order, but later became a Franciscan. He began teaching Latin and Greek, and moved on to producing important collections of classical manuscripts and inscriptions, but he was most famous for his excellence as an architectural engineer. Fra Giocondo designed the Palazzo del Consiglio in Verona, and in 1495 was invited to France to become the royal architect. There he designed and supervised the construction of a number of chateaus and two beautiful bridges, the Pont Notre-Dame and the Petit Pont. His designs helped to introduce Italian Renaissance styles to the French, and on his return to Italy he worked on projects in Venice, Padua and Treviso, including the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, which was decorated by Titian and Giorgione. Pope Leo X called him to Rome in 1513 to work on the building of St. Peters with Giuliano da Sangallo and Raphael, and he took on the important task of strengthening the foundation piers that were not able to support the dome. His important written works include an annotated and illustrated edition of the Roman architect Vitruvius' De architectura (printed at Venice in 1511) and editions of Pliny's Epistles. Fra Giocondo died on July 1, 1515, in Rome.
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