Villa Farnese

Sep 27, 2019 157

The extraordinary Villa Farnese is one of the most impressive examples of 16th-century architecture in Lazio. It’s nestled within the slopes of the forested Cimini Mountains, near Vico Lake.  The project was initiated by then-Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, from the powerful Farnese family, in 1504. He later became Pope Paul III and employed two of the age’s greatest architects: Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Baldassare Peruzzi.

The Pope’s grandson, the eponymous Alessandro Farnese, also a cardinal, commissioned the construction of the site in the second half of the 16th century to another great architect of the age, Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. In this second phase, the pentagonal plan was preserved, but the inner court was modified from a pentagonal plan to a circular one, and the residence changed its outlook from a defensive fortress to an aristocratic mansion to which Alessandro Farnese the Younger could retire in times in which his family was no longer popular at the court of Paul IV.

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