Friday, 2 June 2017

Rome 365 - Villa Medici

Villa Medici, a prominent feature of the Roman cityscape, was bought by Cardinal Ferdinando de'Medici in the 16th century.

It now houses the French Academy and has been home to artists and composers such as Poussin, Ingres, Fragonard, Berlioz and Debussy.

The facade facing the street is austere but step into the interior courtyard you are faced with beautiful decorations, including antiquities such as these panels from a monument similar to the  Ara Pacis.

The statue of Mercury that forms part of the fountain is a copy of Giambologna's original which is now in Florence.

The gardens are a mixture of formal Renaissance style and shaded walkways.

The iconic Umbrella pine, originally from Africa, became a popular planting at the time these gardens were created.

Wandering along the shaded pathways brings you to unexpected treats such as a copy of the Niobe sculptures......

.......and the Goddess, Roma, signified by the She-wolf figure on her helmet.

There is a delightful pavilion in the garden whose interior is covered in frescoes depicting many birds and animals.

A smaller room in the same pavilion contains a painting of the Villa and gardens when first constructed.

This room also has a beautifully decorated ceiling.

The icing on the cake is a wonderful view over the city from the belvedere.

There are three restored rooms on view, one of which includes works created by acclaimed contemporary Italian artist  Claudio Parmiggiani. The artist uses the technique known as delocazione in which shadows and imprints  are realized through the use of powder, fire and smoke. His butterfly clouds in the ceiling panels are very striking.

The Villa offers tours in English at 11.00am and 3.00pm Tuesday - Sunday. Details here

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