The Villa Farnesina is an architecturally important Renaissance building in the Via della Lungara in the Trastevere district in Rome. The villa is particularly famous because of a number of frescoes by the painter Raphael and his pupils.
Villa Farnesina Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via della Lungara, 230 – Rome (tel. +39 06 68027268 or 06 68027397). Opening hours: From 09.00 till 14.00. Closed: Sundays and public holidays. Admission: 6 Euros; over 65’s and age 14-18: 5 Euros; age 10-14: 3 Euro; age 0-10: Free.
History and description
The Villa Farnesina was commissioned by the wealthy banker (and treasurer of Pope Julius II) Agostino Chigi and designed by Baldassare Peruzzi. At the time it was of course not called Villa Farnesina yet.
Peruzzi had designed a U-shaped building, with 5 open loggias between the arms of the U. The original entrance was in the northern loggia, while the present entrance is in the southern part, which is made of glass. Construction was finished in 1510.
Unlike most palazzi of the period, the Villa Farnesina was not built to be a sort of castle, but rather as a summer residence. It was also meant to impress guests with its opulence.
In 1577 the villa was acquired by the Farnese family (hence Farnesina). Later the Neapolitan Bourbon family bought it and after that it was the property of the Spanish Ambassador in Rome for a while. Nowadays the Villa Farnesina belongs to the Italian state and houses the Accademia dei Lincei (a scientific academy) and the Gabinetto dei Disegni e delle Stampe.
At one point Michelangelo made plans to connect the Villa Farnesina by means of a private bridge to the Palazzo Farnese across the Tiber, but these were later aborted.
Both the loggia and the most important rooms of the Villa Farnesina are open for visitors.
Works of art in the Villa Farnesina
The first floor salone was painted by Peruzzi to be a trompe-l’oeil of an open loggia with a city in the background. You have to stand at a specific spot for this to work though.
Sodema was responsible for the paintings of scenes of the life of Alexander the Great.
The frescoes on the first floor representing the myth of Cupid and Psyche are Raphael‘s work, as is the Triumph of Galatea. The frescoes were commissioned by Chigi.
Other frescoes were created by Sebastiano del Piombo, Giulio Romano and Il Sodoma and were inspired by the poet Angelo Poliziano‘s work Stanze.