villa farnesina

Villa Farnesina

Villa Farnesina is a central mansion of Rome constructed between 1505 and 1511, where you will find artworks of famous Raphael. It works daily, except Sunday, and you can purchase tickets both by online reservation or in the ticket office. Moreover, the villa considered one of the most impressive buildings from the Renaissance period in the Eternal City. Additionally, it is set in the middle of a charming garden of bergamot trees, cedars from Lebanon, cypresses, laurel bushes, and evergreens.

History

The Villa located in a famous Trastevere neighborhood. It was designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi during the times of the Italian Renaissance. Peruzzi was one of the most popular designers of his time, who lived and worked in Rome and Siena until his death in 1536. Additionally, he was buried next to Raphael in the Pantheon. Agostino Chigi, the owner of the villa, commissioned artists as Giulio Romano, Il Sodoma, Sebastiano del Piombo, and Raphaello Sanzio da Urbino, or famously known  as Raphael.

Chigi was a wealthy and influential banker from Siena. His interest in business influenced the mission of the villa, where Villa Farnesina wasn’t devoted for leisure, but was meant to serve for business purposes as well. Since it is located in the city centre, the building attracted noblemen, cardinals, and popes. There were comedy and poetry evenings to entertain its guests, while Chigi was popular for his extravagant banquets. Undoubtedly, the main purpose of the villa was to impress its guests.

villa farnesina

The villa owes its name to its second owner, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese

Once he became Pope Paul III in 1534, the wealth of the Farnese family continued to increase. It is important to note that famous Borghese family, which was also powerful and wealthy, was a main rival of the Farnese one. They were always competing for the most lavish villas. Today, tours are possible to both Villa Farnesina and Villa Borghese.

What to See

There are a central block, two small wings, and two floors. Moreover, you will find very rich décor with various frescoes from favorite artists as Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo and Peruzzi.

The first floor contains frescoes of the Sala di Galaea, which is one of the most famous Raphael’s masterpieces. Also, the ceiling is covered with astrological paintings that show the position of the stars during the day when Chigi was born. Agostino Chigi is the first owner of the villa, a wealthy banker from Siena.

The second floor contains the Sala delle Prospettive, another majestic room. Its décor is based on the optical illusion from frescoes that show the Eternal City through marble columns.

Décor

Villa Farnesina considered as a luxury mansion that predominated in Italian society during the Renaissance period. One of the most important reasons, why the building is that famous and impressive is its frescoes. Undoubtedly, it is worth to visit the villa.

decor villa farnesina

When entering the Villa, there is a selection of Raphael’s mythical frescoes, including the legendary Cupid and Psyche and The Triumph of Galatea

The Loggia of Cupid and Psyche

An entrance of the ground floor leads to the Loggia di Psyche where you will find frescoes painted by Raphael and his pupils Giulio Romano, Francesco Penni, Raffaellino del Colle, and Giovanni da Udine. The loggia was decorated in 1518, five years after the creation of the Galatea. The frescoes represent episodes from the fable of Psyche, also known from Apuleiu’s Golden Ass.

 

loggia of cupid and psyche

The Loggia of Galatea

To the right of the loggia is the Hall of Galatea, which contains the magnificent fresco depicting the triumph of the nymph Galatea. The subject represents a poem by Angelo Poliziano, a poet from Florence. It embodies how the giant Cyclops, Polyhemus, performs a love song to the sea-nymph Galatea. Moreover, the fresco shows how Galatea  rides across the waves with two dolphins, laughing at his song and a company of gods surround her.

loggia di galatea

The landscapes around the fresco painted by Gaspare Dughet, while the lunettes that embody several myths and the square near Galatea, are made by Sebastiano del Piombo. Moreover, the roof painted by Peruzzi, represents the twelve signs of the zodiac with planetary gods located in some of them.

Useful Information

How to get

  • Location: Via della Lungara, 230
  • Bus: 23 and 280
  • Tram: 8

Opening hours

  • Monday-Saturday: 9 am to 1 pm; Sunday – closed

Price

  • Full price ticket: 6 Euro
  • Reduced price ticket: 5 Euro
  • Schools: 3 Euro
  • Gardens visit: 2 Euro

villa farnesina

Reservations

What to See Nearby

Villa Farnesina is a luxurous mansion in the center of Rome. It contains masterpieces from such great artists as Raphael. Undoubtedly, it is worth to visit this villa and explore beautiful frescoes that went through centuries!

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Author: Kate Zusmann

For the last five years I live in Rome, Italy. Recently, I've graduated from the American university of John Cabot with major in communication and minor in entrepreneurship. I have a passion for writing, traveling, and exploring new things.