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Villa Farnese

Villa Farnese

Overview
The Villa Farnese, also known as Villa Caprarola, is a mansion
Mansion
A mansion is a very large dwelling house. U.S. real estate brokers define a mansion as a dwelling of over . A traditional European mansion was defined as a house which contained a ballroom and tens of bedrooms...

 in the town of Caprarola
Caprarola
Caprarola is a town and comune in the province of Viterbo, in the Lazio region of central Italy. The village is situated in a range of volcanic hills known as the Cimini Mounts....

 in the province of Viterbo
Province of Viterbo
The Province of Viterbo is a province in the Lazio region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Viterbo. It is bordered to the north by the Province of Grosseto and Siena, by the north-east with the Province of Terni and Rieti, in the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and south by the Province of Rome.It...

, Northern Lazio, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, approximately 50 kilometres north-west of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. This villa should not be confused with the Palazzo Farnese
Palazzo Farnese, Rome
Palazzo Farnese is a High Renaissance palace in Rome, which currently houses the French embassy and the Ecole Française de Rome ....

 and the Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina
The Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance suburban villa in the Via della Lungara, in the district of Trastevere in Rome, central Italy.The villa was built for Agostino Chigi, a rich Sienese banker and the treasurer of Pope Julius II. Between 1506–1510, the Sienese artist and pupil of Bramante,...

, both in Rome.

The Villa Farnese is situated directly above the town of Caprarola and dominates its surroundings. It is a massive Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and Mannerist construction, opening to the Monte Cimini, a range of densely wooded volcanic hills.
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Encyclopedia
The Villa Farnese, also known as Villa Caprarola, is a mansion
Mansion
A mansion is a very large dwelling house. U.S. real estate brokers define a mansion as a dwelling of over . A traditional European mansion was defined as a house which contained a ballroom and tens of bedrooms...

 in the town of Caprarola
Caprarola
Caprarola is a town and comune in the province of Viterbo, in the Lazio region of central Italy. The village is situated in a range of volcanic hills known as the Cimini Mounts....

 in the province of Viterbo
Province of Viterbo
The Province of Viterbo is a province in the Lazio region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Viterbo. It is bordered to the north by the Province of Grosseto and Siena, by the north-east with the Province of Terni and Rieti, in the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea and south by the Province of Rome.It...

, Northern Lazio, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, approximately 50 kilometres north-west of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. This villa should not be confused with the Palazzo Farnese
Palazzo Farnese, Rome
Palazzo Farnese is a High Renaissance palace in Rome, which currently houses the French embassy and the Ecole Française de Rome ....

 and the Villa Farnesina
Villa Farnesina
The Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance suburban villa in the Via della Lungara, in the district of Trastevere in Rome, central Italy.The villa was built for Agostino Chigi, a rich Sienese banker and the treasurer of Pope Julius II. Between 1506–1510, the Sienese artist and pupil of Bramante,...

, both in Rome.

The Villa Farnese is situated directly above the town of Caprarola and dominates its surroundings. It is a massive Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and Mannerist construction, opening to the Monte Cimini, a range of densely wooded volcanic hills. It is built on a five-sided plan in reddish gold stone
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

; buttress
Buttress
A buttress is an architectural structure built against or projecting from a wall which serves to support or reinforce the wall...

es support the upper floors. As a centerpiece of the vast Farnese holdings, Caprarola has always been an expression of Farnese power, rather than a villa
Villa
A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity,...

 in the more usual agricultural or pleasure senses.

History


In 1504, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the future Pope Paul III, acquired the estate at Caprarola. He had designs made for a fortified castle or rocca
Rocca (architecture)
Rocca is an Italian term meaning a high, fortifiable stronghold, usually located in smaller towns, beneath or on which the village or town clustered, within which its inhabitants might take refuge at times of trouble; under its owners' patronage the settlement might hope to find prosperity in...

by the architects Antonio da Sangallo the Younger
Antonio da Sangallo the Younger
thumb|250px|The church of Santa Maria di Loreto near the [[Trajan's Market]] in [[Rome]], considered Sangallo's masterwork.thumb|250px|View of St. Patrick's Well in [[Orvieto]]....

 and Baldassare Peruzzi
Baldassare Peruzzi
Baldassare Tommaso Peruzzi was an Italian architect and painter, born in a small town near Siena and died in Rome. He worked for many years, beginning in 1520, under Bramante, Raphael, and later Sangallo during the erection of the new St. Peter's...

. Surviving plan drawings by Peruzzi show a pentagonal arrangement with each face of the pentagon canted inwards towards its center, to permit raking fire upon a would-be scaling force, both from the center and from the projecting bastion
Bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

s that advance from each corner angle of the fortress. Peruzzi's plan also shows a central pentagonal courtyard and it is likely that the later development of the circular central court was also determined by the necessities of the pentagonal plan. The pentagonal fortress foundations, constructed probably between 1515 and 1530, became the base upon which the present villa sits; so the overall form of the villa was predetermined by the rocca foundations.

Subsequently, Cardinal
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

 Alessandro Farnese, a grandson of Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III , born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation...

, and a man who was known for promoting his family's interests, planned to turn this partly constructed fortified edifice into a villa or country house. In 1556, he commissioned Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola
Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola
Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola was one of the great Italian architects of 16th century Mannerism. His two great masterpieces are the Villa Farnese at Caprarola and the Jesuits' Church of the Gesù in Rome...

 as his architect, building work commenced in 1559 and Vignola continued to work on the villa at Caprarola until his death in 1573. Farnese was a courteous man of letters; however, the Farnese family as a whole became unpopular with the following pope, Julius III and accordingly, Alessandro Farnese decided it would be politic to retire from the Vatican
Roman Curia
The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

 for a period. He therefore selected Caprarola on the family holding of Ronciglione
Ronciglione
Ronciglione is a city and comune in the province of Viterbo, Lazio , c. 20 km from Viterbo. The city is located in the Cimini mountains, over two tuff scarps, on the SE slope of the former volcano crater now housing the Vico's Lake....

, being both near and yet far enough from Rome as the ideal place to build a country house.

Design




The villa is one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

. Ornament is used sparingly to achieve proportion and harmony. Thus while the villa dominates the surroundings, its severe design also complements the site. This particular style, known today as Mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

, was a reaction to the ornate earlier High Renaissance designs of twenty years earlier.

Vignola, the architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

 chosen for this difficult and inhospitable site, had recently proved his mettle in designing Villa Giulia
Villa Giulia
The Villa Giulia is a villa in Rome, Italy. It was built by Pope Julius III in 1550–1555 on what was then the edge of the city. Today it is publicly owned, and houses the Museo Nazionale Etrusco, an impressive collection of Etruscan art and artifacts....

 on the outskirts of Rome for the preceding pope, Julius III
Pope Julius III
Pope Julius III , born Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, was Pope from 7 February 1550 to 1555....

. Vignola in his youth had been heavily influenced by Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

. For the villa at Caprarola, his plans as built were for a pentagon constructed around a circular colonnade
Colonnade
In classical architecture, a colonnade denotes a long sequence of columns joined by their entablature, often free-standing, or part of a building....

d courtyard
Courtyard
A court or courtyard is an enclosed area, often a space enclosed by a building that is open to the sky. These areas in inns and public buildings were often the primary meeting places for some purposes, leading to the other meanings of court....

. In the galleried court, paired Ionic
Ionic order
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...

 columns flank niches containing busts of the Roman Emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

s, above a rusticated arcade, a reworking of Bramante
Donato Bramante
Donato Bramante was an Italian architect, who introduced the Early Renaissance style to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome, where his most famous design was St...

's scheme for the "House of Raphael", in Via Giulia
Via Giulia
Via Giulia is a street in the historic centre of Rome, Italy, mostly in rione Regola, although its northern part belongs to rione Ponte. It was one of the first important urban planning projects in Renaissance Rome....

, Rome. A further Bramantesque detail is the entablature that breaks forward over the columns, linking them above, while they stand on separate bases. The interior loggia formed by the arcade is frescoed with Raphaelesque grotesque
Grotesque
The word grotesque comes from the same Latin root as "Grotto", meaning a small cave or hollow. The original meaning was restricted to an extravagant style of Ancient Roman decorative art rediscovered and then copied in Rome at the end of the 15th century...

s, in the manner of the Vatican Logge. The gallery and upper floors were reached by five spiral
Spiral
In mathematics, a spiral is a curve which emanates from a central point, getting progressively farther away as it revolves around the point.-Spiral or helix:...

 staircase
Stairway
Stairway, staircase, stairwell, flight of stairs, or simply stairs are names for a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances, called steps...

s around the courtyard: the most important of these is the Scala Regia ("Royal Stairs") rising through the principal floors.

Approach and entrance


The approach to the Villa Farnese is from the town's main street, which is centred on the villa, to a piazza
Piazza
A piazza is a city square in Italy, Malta, along the Dalmatian coast and in surrounding regions. The term is roughly equivalent to the Spanish plaza...

 from which stairs ascend to a series of terraces
Terrace (gardening)
In gardening, a terrace is an element where a raised flat paved or gravelled section overlooks a prospect. A raised terrace keeps a house dry and provides a transition between the hard materials of the architecture and softer ones of the garden.-History:...

 beginning with the subterranean basement
Basement
__FORCETOC__A basement is one or more floors of a building that are either completely or partially below the ground floor. Basements are typically used as a utility space for a building where such items as the furnace, water heater, breaker panel or fuse box, car park, and air-conditioning system...

 excavated from the tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

, surrounded by steep curving steps leading to the terrace above. This basement floor in the foundations, which functioned as a carriage entrance in inclement weather, features a massive central column with a series of buttresses and retaining walls; on the exterior, large heavily grilled doors in the rusticated walls appear to lead into the guardrooms of a fortress, while above them a curved balustrade
Baluster
A baluster is a moulded shaft, square or of lathe-turned form, one of various forms of spindle in woodwork, made of stone or wood and sometimes of metal, standing on a unifying footing, and supporting the coping of a parapet or the handrail of a staircase. Multiplied in this way, they form a...

d external double stairway
Imperial staircase
An Imperial staircase is the name given to a staircase with divided flights. Usually the first flight rises to a half-landing and then divides into two symmetrical flights both rising with an equal number of steps and turns to the next floor. The feature is reputed to have first been used at El...

 leads to the terrace above. This in turn has a formal double staircase to the principal entrance on the Piano dei Prelati floor which is accessed from the broad terrace. This bastion
Bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

-like floor, which appears in the elevation as a second ground floor, is rusticated
Rustication (architecture)
thumb|upright|Two different styles of rustication in the [[Palazzo Medici-Riccardi]] in [[Florence]].In classical architecture rustication is an architectural feature that contrasts in texture with the smoothly finished, squared block masonry surfaces called ashlar...

, the main door a severe arch
Arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

 flanked by three windows each side. The facade
Facade
A facade or façade is generally one exterior side of a building, usually, but not always, the front. The word comes from the French language, literally meaning "frontage" or "face"....

 at this level is terminated by massive solid corner projections.

Above this is the double-height piano nobile
Piano nobile
The piano nobile is the principal floor of a large house, usually built in one of the styles of classical renaissance architecture...

, where five huge arched windows incongruously dominate the facade over the front door; above this sit a further two floors housing gentlefolk with servants above them, the numerous windows divided on the exterior by rusticated pilasters in dressed stone.

Interiors


The villa's interiors are arranged over five floors, each floor designed for a different function. The main rooms are located on the first floor or piano nobile, where a large central loggia (now glazed in) looks down over the town, its main street and the surrounding countryside. This hall is known as the Room of Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 on account of its fresco decorations, and was used as a summer dining hall. It has a grotto
Grotto
A grotto is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide...

-like fountain with sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 at one end. To either side of the loggia are two circular rooms: one is the chapel, the other accommodates the principal staircase or Scala Regia, a graceful spiral of steps supported by pairs of Ionic
Ionic order
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...

 columns rising up through three floors and fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

ed by Antonio Tempesta
Antonio Tempesta
Antonio Tempesta was an Italian painter and engraver, a point of connection between Baroque Rome and the culture of Antwerp. He was born and trained in Florence and painted in a variety of styles, influenced to some degree by "Contra-Maniera" or Counter-Mannerism...

.

The two grand apartments at first floor level are symmetrically-matched in plan and complete the remaining enclosure of the courtyard. Each has a series of five rooms with state room
State room
A state room in a large European mansion is usually one of a suite of very grand rooms which were designed to impress. The term was most widely used in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were the most lavishly decorated in the house and contained the finest works of art...

s, which begin with the largest reception hall nearest the entrance and proceed, with increasing intimacy and decreased size, to a bedroom, wardrobe and studiolo
Cabinet (room)
A cabinet was one of a number of terms for a private room in the domestic architecture and that of palaces of early modern Europe, a room serving as a study or retreat, usually for a man. The cabinet would be furnished with books and works of art, and sited adjacent to his bedchamber, the...

 at the northern end; an ordered suite that would become standardized in the 17th century as the Baroque state apartment
State room
A state room in a large European mansion is usually one of a suite of very grand rooms which were designed to impress. The term was most widely used in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were the most lavishly decorated in the house and contained the finest works of art...

. The different orientations of these two apartments allows for a seasonal differentiation; the east, or summer apartment is associated with the active life, the west, or winter range with the contemplative life. The scrupulous symmetrical balance of the two apartments is carried through by their matching parterre
Parterre
A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all...

 gardens, each reached by a bridge across the moat
Moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

 and cut into the hillslope.

The suites are famous for their Mannerist
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

 frescoes. The iconograhic program
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 of frescoes expressing the glory of the Farnese were worked out by the humanists in Farnese's court, notably his secretary, Annibale Caro
Annibale Caro
Annibale Caro was an Italian poet.-Biography:Born in Civitanova Marche, province of Macerata, he became tutor to the wealthy family of Lodovico Gaddi in Florence, and then secretary to Lodovico's brother Giovanni...

; The fresco cycles portray the exploits of Alexander the Great, and of course of the Farnese themselves: in the Sala dei Fasti Farnesiani (the Room of Farnese Deeds), decorated by the brothers Taddeo
Taddeo Zuccari
Taddeo Zuccari was an Italian painter, one of the most popular members of the Roman mannerist school.-Biography:...

 and Federico Zuccari
Federico Zuccari
Federico Zuccari, also known as Federigo Zuccaro , was an Italian Mannerist painter and architect, active both in Italy and abroad.-Biography:Zuccari was born at Sant'Angelo in Vado, near Urbino ....

, the Farnese are depicted at all their most glorious moments, from floor to coffered ceiling. Other artists employed in fresco decoration include Giacomo Zanguidi
Giacomo Zanguidi
Jacopo Bertoia, also known as Giacomo Zanguidi or Jacopo Zanguidi or Bertoja, , was an Italian painter of a late-Renaissance or Mannerist style that emerged in Parma towards the end of the 16th century....

 (il Bertoia), Raffaellino da Reggio
Raffaellino da Reggio
Raffaellino da Reggio was an Italian painter from Emilia, active in a Mannerist style mainly in Rome.Also variously named Raffaellino Motta or Rafaellino da Reggio or a variety of combinations, he was born at Codemondo near Reggio Emilia. Initially trained under the painter Lelio Orsi...

, Antonio Tempesta
Antonio Tempesta
Antonio Tempesta was an Italian painter and engraver, a point of connection between Baroque Rome and the culture of Antwerp. He was born and trained in Florence and painted in a variety of styles, influenced to some degree by "Contra-Maniera" or Counter-Mannerism...

, Giacomo del Duca
Giacomo del Duca
Giacomo Del Duca was an Italian sculptor and architect during the late-Renaissance or Mannerist period...

, and Giovanni De Vecchi.

Among the frescoed subjects of the contemplative winter suite is the famous "Room of the World Map" or Sala del Mappamondo, displaying the whole known world as it was in 1574 when the frescoes were completed. Above, the frescoed vault depicts the celestial spheres and the constellations of the zodiac
Zodiac
In astronomy, the zodiac is a circle of twelve 30° divisions of celestial longitude which are centred upon the ecliptic: the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year...

.

Gardens


The gardens of the villa are as impressive as the building itself, a significant example of the Italian Renaissance garden
Italian Renaissance garden
The Italian Renaissance garden was a new style of garden which emerged in the late 15th century at villas in Rome and Florence, inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty, and intended for the pleasure of the view of the garden and the landscape beyond, for contemplation, and for the...

 period. The villa's fortress theme is carried through by a surrounding moat
Moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

 and three drawbridge
Drawbridge
A drawbridge is a type of movable bridge typically associated with the entrance of a castle surrounded by a moat. The term is often used to describe all different types of movable bridges, like bascule bridges and lift bridges.-Castle drawbridges:...

s. Two facades of the pentagonal arrangement face the two gardens cut into the hill; each garden is accessed across the moat by a drawbridge from the apartments on the piano nobile
Piano nobile
The piano nobile is the principal floor of a large house, usually built in one of the styles of classical renaissance architecture...

and each is a parterre
Parterre
A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all...

 garden of box
Buxus
Buxus is a genus of about 70 species in the family Buxaceae. Common names include box or boxwood ....

 topiary
Topiary
Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plants, by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs and subshrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, perhaps geometric or fanciful; and the term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way. It can be...

 with fountain
Fountain
A fountain is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air either to supply drinking water or for decorative or dramatic effect....

s. A grotto
Grotto
A grotto is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans. When it is not an artificial garden feature, a grotto is often a small cave near water and often flooded or liable to flood at high tide...

-like theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 was once here. A walk through the chestnut wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

s beyond, leads to the giardino segreto, or secret garden, with its well known casino.
The Casino

The Casino
Pavilion (structure)
In architecture a pavilion has two main meanings.-Free-standing structure:Pavilion may refer to a free-standing structure sited a short distance from a main residence, whose architecture makes it an object of pleasure. Large or small, there is usually a connection with relaxation and pleasure in...

, a small habitable summerhouse
Summer house
A summer house or summerhouse has traditionally referred to a building or shelter used for relaxation in warm weather. This would often take the form of a small, roofed building on the grounds of a larger one, but could also be built in a garden or park, often designed to provide cool shady places...

 with two loggie
Loggia
Loggia is the name given to an architectural feature, originally of Minoan design. They are often a gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open to the air on one side, where it is supported by columns or pierced openings in the wall...

 for al fresco dining. It was built probably on designs by Giacomo del Duca
Giacomo del Duca
Giacomo Del Duca was an Italian sculptor and architect during the late-Renaissance or Mannerist period...

, with later alterations were made to the area around the casino by the architect Girolamo Rainaldi
Girolamo Rainaldi
Girolamo Rainaldi was an Italian architect who worked on the whole in a conservative Mannerist style, often with collaborating architects, yet was a successful competitor of Bernini...

. The casino is approached by stairs contained between heavily rusticated
Rustication (architecture)
thumb|upright|Two different styles of rustication in the [[Palazzo Medici-Riccardi]] in [[Florence]].In classical architecture rustication is an architectural feature that contrasts in texture with the smoothly finished, squared block masonry surfaces called ashlar...

 grotto walls, with a central catena d'acqua, a cascade
Waterfall
A waterfall is a place where flowing water rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a steep region or a cliff.-Formation:Waterfalls are commonly formed when a river is young. At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens...

d rill or 'water-staircase', which the water flows down to a stone basin. At the top of the steps and set in an oval space are large statues
Garden sculpture
The predominant garden types in the ancient world were domestic gardens and sacred gardens. Sculpture of gods and kings were placed in temple compounds, along with sacred lakes and sacred groves. It is not known whether statues were placed in Greek domestic gardens but the Romans transported a...

 of two reclining river gods to either side of a large central vase fountain. Stairs built into the oval walls lead up to the parterred terrace in front of the south facade of the casino. This part of the terrace
Terrace (gardening)
In gardening, a terrace is an element where a raised flat paved or gravelled section overlooks a prospect. A raised terrace keeps a house dry and provides a transition between the hard materials of the architecture and softer ones of the garden.-History:...

 is lined by stone herms with cypress trees. To the north of the casino is a private garden which steps up slightly and accommodates roses.

Today


Alessandro Farnese died in 1589 bequeathing his estate
Estate (house)
An estate comprises the houses and outbuildings and supporting farmland and woods that surround the gardens and grounds of a very large property, such as a country house or mansion. It is the modern term for a manor, but lacks the latter's now abolished jurisdictional authority...

s to relations - the Farnese dukes of Parma. The Cardinal's fabulous collection was transferred eventually to Charles III of Spain
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

 in Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

. In the 19th century the villa became for a while the residence of the heir to the throne
Throne
A throne is the official chair or seat upon which a monarch is seated on state or ceremonial occasions. "Throne" in an abstract sense can also refer to the monarchy or the Crown itself, an instance of metonymy, and is also used in many expressions such as "the power behind the...

 of the newly united Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

.

Elements of the villa's Renaissance gardens have influenced many estate gardens of the 19th and 20th century by landscape designers, such as Beatrix Farrand
Beatrix Farrand
Beatrix Jones Farrand was a landscape gardener and landscape architect in the United States. Her career included commissions to design the gardens for private residences, estates and country homes, public parks, botanic gardens, college campuses, and the White House.Farrand was one of the founding...

, A.E. Hanson, and Florence Yoch. 1920s gardens with a catena d'acqua include the Harold Lloyd Estate
Harold Lloyd Estate
The Harold Lloyd Estate, also known as Greenacres, is a large mansion and landscaped estate located in the Benedict Canyon section of Beverly Hills, California. Built in the latter 1920s by silent film star Harold Lloyd, it remained Lloyd's home until his death in 1971. The estate originally...

 in Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills is an affluent city located in Los Angeles County, California, United States. With a population of 34,109 at the 2010 census, up from 33,784 as of the 2000 census, it is home to numerous Hollywood celebrities. Beverly Hills and the neighboring city of West Hollywood are together...

 and 'Las Tejas' in Montecito, California
Montecito, California
Montecito is an unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California. As a census-designated place, it had a population of 8,965 in 2010. This does not include areas such as Coast Village Road, that, while usually considered part of Montecito, are actually within the city limits of Santa...

, with the latter also having a casino in direct homage to the original at Villa Farnese.

Today the casino and its gardens are one of the homes of the President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 of the Italian Republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. The empty main villa, owned by the State, is open to the public. The numerous rooms, salons and halls with their marbles and frescoes, and the architecture of the great palazzo-like villa are still as impressive and daunting as they were first intended to be.

See also

  • Italian Renaissance garden
    Italian Renaissance garden
    The Italian Renaissance garden was a new style of garden which emerged in the late 15th century at villas in Rome and Florence, inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty, and intended for the pleasure of the view of the garden and the landscape beyond, for contemplation, and for the...

  • Italian Renaissance gardens index
  • Grandi Giardini Italiani
    Grandi Giardini Italiani
    The Grandi Giardini Italiani is an association of major gardens in Italy. Its members include some of the most important gardens in Italy.- List of member gardens :* Fondazione Pompeo Mariani * Giardini Botanici di Stigliano...

  • Landscape design history

External links