Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance Villa that is Famous for its Renaissance Artwork:
Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori is an area that is known for its Renaissance architecture. In Renaissance Rome, many of the city’s powerful families built their palazzi and huge villas here as it was near the route of papal possessions. One non-Roman who built a villa in Campo de’ Fiori was Agostino Chigi, a wealthy Sienese banker. In 1508, Chigi commissioned Baldassarre Peruzzi, an architect from Sienna, to build Villa Farnesina, a building that’s renowned for its Renaissance artwork.
Renaissance Artwork in Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina’s simple design, a central block and two projecting wings, is believed to be one of the earliest true Renaissance villas. However, it is the Renaissance artwork within the building that Villa Farnesina is famous for. Chigi was one of the richest men during the period and he commissioned Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Piombo and others to decorate his villa.
Baldassarre Peruzzi was not only an architect, he was a painter as well. Some of the frescoes in Villa Farnesina were created by Peruzzi himself, including the famous Salone delle Prospettive – this fresco gives the viewer an illusion of looking out into views of Rome, through marble columns. In the Room of Galatea is a fresco of Perseus beheading Medusa, one of Peruzzi’s mythological frescoes.
The most famous frescoes in Villa Farnesina are those of Raphael, one of the great masters of the High Renaissance period. Cupid and Psyche and the Triumph of Galatea are just a couple of Raphael masterpieces that can be seen here.
Agostina Chigi and his Villa Farnesina
Chigi was no ordinary wealthy banker. He lent huge sums of money to the Popes and in return he received lucrative monopolies of the Papal States, such as the salt monopoly and alum. He was particularly close with Pope Julius II and became his treasurer. At Villa Farnesina Chigi hosted many cardinals, princes and the Pope himself. The villa became the property of the Farnese family in 1577, hence the name Farnesina. At one stage Michelangelo, who was working at the Palazzo Farnese on the other side of the Tiber River, proposed building a private bridge linking Palazzo Farnese to Villa Farnesina, however this suggestion was not carried through.
These days, Villa Farnesina is owned by the Italian State and it houses the Accademia dei Lincei, the renowned Roman Academy of Sciences, and the Roman Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe (Department for Drawings and Prints).
If you are interested in Renaissance artwork, ‘Music and Myth in Raphael Frescoes’ is an event that allows visitors to enjoy Renaissance art in this famous villa. As well as viewing the beautiful frescoes of Villa Farnesina visitors can enjoy Renaissance music performed on historical instruments. This event is not always staged, so check here before you go.
Villa Farnesina is on via della Lungara, across the Tiber River.
Via della Lungara, 230
Map of Campo de’ Fiori:
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