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Title: Italian Villas and Their Gardens
Author: Wharton, Edith
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Illustrated with Pictures by Maxfield Parrish
and by Photographs


New York
The Century Co.

Copyright, 1903, 1904, by

Published November, 1904

The De Vinne Press


                               VERNON LEE

                         GARDEN-MAGIC OF ITALY


               INTRODUCTION                             5


               FLORENTINE VILLAS                       19


               SIENESE VILLAS                          63


               ROMAN VILLAS                            81


               VILLAS NEAR ROME

                               I CAPRAROLA AND LANTE  127
                              II VILLA D’ESTE         139
                             III FRASCATI             148


               GENOESE VILLAS                         173


               LOMBARD VILLAS                         197


               VILLAS OF VENETIA                      231

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


 Villa Campi, near Florence                               _Frontispiece_

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 The Reservoir, Villa Falconieri, Frascati                             4

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 The Cascade, Villa Torlonia, Frascati                                 9

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Fountain of Venus, Villa Petraja, Florence                           18

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Gamberaia at Settignano, near Florence                         20

 Drawn by C. A. Vanderhoof, from a Photograph.

 Boboli Garden, Florence                                              24

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Entrance to Upper Garden, Boboli Garden, Florence                    27

 From a Photograph.

 Cypress Alley, Boboli Garden, Florence                               31

 From a Photograph.

 Ilex-walk, Boboli Garden, Florence                                   36

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Gamberaia, near Florence                                       39

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 View of Amphitheatre, Boboli Garden, Florence                        44

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Corsini, Florence                                              49

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Vicobello, Siena                                                     62

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 La Palazzina (Villa Gori), Siena                                     67

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 The Theatre at La Palazzina, Siena                                   73

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 The Dome of St. Peter’s, from the Vatican Gardens                    80

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Entrance to Forecourt, Villa Borghese, Rome                          87

 From a Photograph.

 Grotto, Villa di Papa Giulio, Rome                                   91

 From a Photograph.

 Temple of Æsculapius, Villa Borghese, Rome                           96

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Medici, Rome                                                  100

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Courtyard Gate of the Villa Pia, Vatican Gardens                    102

 Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph.

 Villa Pia—In the Gardens of the Vatican                             105

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Gateway of the Villa Borghese                                       108

 Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph.

 Villa Chigi, Rome                                                   111

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Parterres on Terrace, Villa Belrespiro (Pamphily-Doria),            116

 From a Photograph.

 View from Lower Garden, Villa Belrespiro                            121
   (Pamphily-Doria), Rome

 From a Photograph.

 Villa d’Este, Tivoli                                                126

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Villa Caprarola                                                     129

 From a retouched Photograph.

 The Casino, Villa Farnese, Caprarola                                133

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Lante, Bagnaia                                                138

 From a Photograph.

 The Pool, Villa d’Este, Tivoli                                      141

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Villa Lante, Bagnaia                                                146

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Cascade and Rotunda, Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati                   149

 From a Photograph.

 Garden of Villa Lancellotti, Frascati                               153

 From a Photograph.

 Casino, Villa Falconieri, Frascati                                  157

 From a Photograph.

 The Entrance, Villa Falconieri, Frascati                            161

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Lancellotti, Frascati                                         165

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Scassi, Genoa                                                 172

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 A Garden-niche, Villa Scassi, Genoa                                 181

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Villa Cicogna, Bisuschio                                            196

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Villa Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore                                    203

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 In the Gardens of Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore                        210

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Villa Cicogna, from the Terrace above the House                     216

 From a Photograph.

 Villa Pliniana, Lake Como                                           221

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Iron Gates of the Villa Alario (now Visconti di                     224

 Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph.

 Railing of the Villa Alario                                         225

 Drawn by Malcolm Fraser, from a Photograph.

 Gateway of the Botanic Garden, Padua                                230

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 View at Val San Zibio, near Battaglia                               235

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Plan of the Botanic Garden, Padua                                   239

 Drawn by E. Denison, from Sketch by the Author.

 Val San Zibio, near Battaglia                                       241

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.

 Gateway, Villa Pisani, Strà                                         244

 Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph.

 Villa Valmarana, Vicenza                                            247

 Drawn by Maxfield Parrish.





                          ITALIAN GARDEN-MAGIC

Though it is an exaggeration to say that there are no flowers in Italian
gardens, yet to enjoy and appreciate the Italian garden-craft one must
always bear in mind that it is independent of floriculture.

The Italian garden does not exist for its flowers; its flowers exist for
it: they are a late and infrequent adjunct to its beauties, a
parenthetical grace counting only as one more touch in the general
effect of enchantment. This is no doubt partly explained by the
difficulty of cultivating any but spring flowers in so hot and dry a
climate, and the result has been a wonderful development of the more
permanent effects to be obtained from the three other factors in
garden-composition—marble, water and perennial verdure—and the
achievement, by their skilful blending, of a charm independent of the

It is hard to explain to the modern garden-lover, whose whole conception
of the charm of gardens is formed of successive pictures of
flower-loveliness, how this effect of enchantment can be produced by
anything so dull and monotonous as a mere combination of clipped green
and stonework.

The traveller returning from Italy, with his eyes and imagination full
of the ineffable Italian garden-magic, knows vaguely that the
enchantment exists; that he has been under its spell, and that it is
more potent, more enduring, more intoxicating to every sense than the
most elaborate and glowing effects of modern horticulture; but he may
not have found the key to the mystery. Is it because the sky is bluer,
because the vegetation is more luxuriant? Our midsummer skies are almost
as deep, our foliage is as rich, and perhaps more varied; there are,
indeed, not a few resemblances between the North American summer climate
and that of Italy in spring and autumn.

Some of those who have fallen under the spell are inclined to ascribe
the Italian garden-magic to the effect of time; but, wonder-working as
this undoubtedly is, it leaves many beauties unaccounted for. To seek
the answer one must go deeper: the garden must be studied in relation to
the house, and both in relation to the landscape. The garden of the
Middle Ages, the garden one sees in old missal illuminations and in
early woodcuts, was a mere patch of ground within the castle precincts,
where “simples” were grown around a central wellhead and fruit was
espaliered against the walls. But in the rapid flowering of Italian
civilization the castle walls were soon thrown down, and the garden
expanded, taking in the fish-pond, the bowling-green, the rose-arbour
and the clipped walk. The Italian country house, especially in the
centre and the south of Italy, was almost always built on a hillside,
and one day the architect looked forth from the terrace of his villa,
and saw that, in his survey of the garden, the enclosing landscape was
naturally included: the two formed a part of the same composition.

The recognition of this fact was the first step in the development of
the great garden-art of the Renaissance: the next was the architect’s
discovery of the means by which nature and art might be fused in his
picture. He had now three problems to deal with: his garden must be
adapted to the architectural lines of the house it adjoined; it must be
adapted to the requirements of the inmates of the house, in the sense of
providing shady walks, sunny bowling-greens, parterres and orchards, all
conveniently accessible; and lastly it must be adapted to the landscape
around it. At no time and in no country has this triple problem been so
successfully dealt with as in the treatment of the Italian country house
from the beginning of the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth
century; and in the blending of different elements, the subtle
transition from the fixed and formal lines of art to the shifting and
irregular lines of nature, and lastly in the essential convenience and
livableness of the garden, lies the fundamental secret of the old

However much other factors may contribute to the total impression of
charm, yet by eliminating them one after another, by _thinking away_ the
flowers, the sunlight, the rich tinting of time, one finds that,
underlying all these, there is the deeper harmony of design which is
independent of any adventitious effects. This does not imply that a plan
of an Italian garden is as beautiful as the garden itself. The more
permanent materials of which the latter is made—the stonework, the
evergreen foliage, the effects of rushing or motionless water, above all
the lines of the natural scenery—all form a part of the artist’s design.
But these things are as beautiful at one season as at another; and even
these are but the accessories of the fundamental plan. The inherent
beauty of the garden lies in the grouping of its parts—in the converging
lines of its long ilex-walks, the alternation of sunny open spaces with
cool woodland shade, the proportion between terrace and bowling-green,
or between the height of a wall and the width of a path. None of these
details was negligible to the landscape-architect of the Renaissance: he
considered the distribution of shade and sunlight, of straight lines of
masonry and rippled lines of foliage, as carefully as he weighed the
relation of his whole composition to the scene about it.


Then, again, any one who studies the old Italian gardens will be struck
with the way in which the architect broadened and simplified his plan if
it faced a grandiose landscape. Intricacy of detail, complicated
groupings of terraces, fountains, labyrinths and porticoes, are found in
sites where there is no great sweep of landscape attuning the eye to
larger impressions. The farther north one goes, the less grand the
landscape becomes and the more elaborate the garden. The great
pleasure-grounds overlooking the Roman Campagna are laid out on severe
and majestic lines: the parts are few; the total effect is one of
breadth and simplicity.

It is because, in the modern revival of gardening, so little attention
has been paid to these first principles of the art that the garden-lover
should not content himself with a vague enjoyment of old Italian
gardens, but should try to extract from them principles which may be
applied at home. He should observe, for instance, that the old Italian
garden was meant to be lived in—a use to which, at least in America, the
modern garden is seldom put. He should note that, to this end, the
grounds were as carefully and conveniently planned as the house, with
broad paths (in which two or more could go abreast) leading from one
division to another; with shade easily accessible from the house, as
well as a sunny sheltered walk for winter; and with effective
transitions from the dusk of wooded alleys to open flowery spaces or to
the level sward of the bowling-green. He should remember that the
terraces and formal gardens adjoined the house, that the ilex or laurel
walks beyond were clipped into shape to effect a transition between the
straight lines of masonry and the untrimmed growth of the woodland to
which they led, and that each step away from architecture was a nearer
approach to nature.

The cult of the Italian garden has spread from England to America, and
there is a general feeling that, by placing a marble bench here and a
sun-dial there, Italian “effects” may be achieved. The results produced,
even where much money and thought have been expended, are not altogether
satisfactory; and some critics have thence inferred that the Italian
garden is, so to speak, _untranslatable_, that it cannot be adequately
rendered in another landscape and another age.

Certain effects, those which depend on architectural grandeur as well as
those due to colouring and age, are no doubt unattainable; but there is,
none the less, much to be learned from the old Italian gardens, and the
first lesson is that, if they are to be a real inspiration, they must be
copied, not in the letter but in the spirit. That is, a marble
sarcophagus and a dozen twisted columns will not make an Italian garden;
but a piece of ground laid out and planted on the principles of the old
garden-craft will be, not indeed an Italian garden in the literal sense,
but, what is far better, _a garden as well adapted to its surroundings
as were the models which inspired it_.

This is the secret to be learned from the villas of Italy; and no one
who has looked at them with this object in view will be content to
relapse into vague admiration of their loveliness. As Browning, in
passing Cape St. Vincent and Trafalgar Bay, cried out:

   “Here and here did England help me: how can I help England?”—say,

so the garden-lover, who longs to transfer something of the old
garden-magic to his own patch of ground at home, will ask himself, in
wandering under the umbrella-pines of the Villa Borghese, or through the
box-parterres of the Villa Lante: What can I bring away from here? And
the more he studies and compares, the more inevitably will the answer
be: “Not this or that amputated statue, or broken bas-relief, or
fragmentary effect of any sort, but a sense of the informing spirit—an
understanding of the gardener’s purpose, and of the uses to which he
meant his garden to be put.”

                           FLORENTINE VILLAS



                           FLORENTINE VILLAS

For centuries Florence has been celebrated for her villa-clad hills.
According to an old chronicler, the country houses were more splendid
than those in the town, and stood so close-set among their
olive-orchards and vineyards that the traveller “thought himself in
Florence three leagues before reaching the city.”

Many of these houses still survive, strongly planted on their broad
terraces, from the fifteenth-century farmhouse-villa, with its
projecting eaves and square tower, to the many-windowed _maison de
plaisance_ in which the luxurious nobles of the seventeenth century
spent the gambling and chocolate-drinking weeks of the vintage season.
It is characteristic of Florentine thrift and conservatism that the
greater number of these later and more pretentious villas are merely
additions to the plain old buildings, while, even in the rare cases
where the whole structure is new, the baroque exuberance which became
fashionable in the seventeenth century is tempered by a restraint and
severity peculiarly Tuscan.


So numerous and well preserved are the buildings of this order about
Florence that the student who should attempt to give an account of them
would have before him a long and laborious undertaking; but where the
villa is to be considered in relation to its garden, the task is reduced
to narrow limits. There is perhaps no region of Italy so rich in old
villas and so lacking in old gardens as the neighbourhood of Florence.
Various causes have brought about this result. The environs of Florence
have always been frequented by the wealthy classes, not only Italian but
foreign. The Tuscan nobility have usually been rich enough to alter
their gardens in accordance with the varying horticultural fashions
imported from England and France; and the English who have colonized in
such numbers the slopes above the Arno have contributed not a little to
the destruction of the old gardens by introducing into their
horticultural plans two features entirely alien to the Tuscan climate
and soil, namely, lawns and deciduous shade-trees.

Many indeed are the parterres and terraces which have disappeared before
the Britannic craving for a lawn, many the olive-orchards and vineyards
which must have given way to the thinly dotted “specimen trees” so dear
to the English landscape-gardener, who is still, with rare exceptions,
the slave of his famous eighteenth-century predecessors, Repton and
“Capability Brown,” as the English architect is still the descendant of
Pugin and the Gothic revival. This Anglicization of the Tuscan garden
did not, of course, come only from direct English influence. The _jardin
anglais_ was fashionable in France when Marie Antoinette laid out the
Petit Trianon, and Herr Tuckermann, in his book on Italian gardens,
propounds a theory, for which he gives no very clear reasons, to the
effect that the naturalistic school of gardening actually originated in
Italy, in the Borghese gardens in Rome, which he supposes to have been
laid out more or less in their present form by Giovanni Fontana, as
early as the first quarter of the seventeenth century.

It is certain, at any rate, that the Florentines adopted the new fashion
early in the nineteenth century, as is shown—to give but one instance—in
the vast Torrigiani gardens, near the Porta Romana, laid out by the
Marchese Torrigiani about 1830 in the most approved “landscape” style,
with an almost complete neglect of the characteristic Tuscan vegetation
and a corresponding disregard of Italian climate and habits. The large
English colony has, however, undoubtedly done much to encourage, even in
the present day, the alteration of the old gardens and the introduction
of alien vegetation in those which have been partly preserved. It is,
for instance, typical of the old Tuscan villa that the farm, or
_podere_, should come up to the edge of the terrace on which the house
stands; but in most cases where old villas have been bought by
foreigners, the vineyards and olive-orchards near the house have been
turned into lawns dotted with plantations of exotic trees. Under these
circumstances it is not surprising that but few unaltered gardens are to
be found near Florence. To learn what the old Tuscan garden was, one
must search the environs of the smaller towns, and there are more
interesting examples about Siena than in the whole circuit of the
Florentine hills.


The old Italian architects distinguished two classes of country houses:
the _villa suburbana_, or _maison de plaisance_ (literally the
pleasure-house), standing within or just without the city walls,
surrounded by pleasure-grounds and built for a few weeks’ residence; and
the country house, which is an expansion of the old farm, and stands
generally farther out of town, among its fields and vineyards—the seat
of the country gentleman living on his estates. The Italian
pleasure-garden did not reach its full development till the middle of
the sixteenth century, and doubtless many of the old Florentine villas,
the semi-castle and the quasi-farm of the fourteenth century, stood as
they do now, on a bare terrace among the vines, with a small walled
enclosure for the cultivation of herbs and vegetables. But of the period
in which the garden began to be a studied architectural extension of the
house, few examples are to be found near Florence.

The most important, if not the most pleasing, of Tuscan pleasure-gardens
lies, however, within the city walls. This is the Boboli garden, laid
out on the steep hillside behind the Pitti Palace. The plan of the
Boboli garden is not only magnificent in itself, but interesting as one
of the rare examples, in Tuscany, of a Renaissance garden still
undisturbed in its main outlines. Eleonora de’ Medici, who purchased the
Pitti Palace in 1549, soon afterward acquired the neighbouring ground,
and the garden was laid out by Il Tribolo, continued by Buontalenti, and
completed by Bartolommeo Ammanati, to whom is also due the garden façade
of the palace. The scheme of the garden is worthy of careful study,
though in many respects the effect it now produces is far less
impressive than its designers intended. Probably no grounds of equal
grandeur and extent have less of that peculiar magic which one
associates with the old Italian garden—a fact doubtless due less to
defects of composition than to later changes in the details of planting
and decoration. Still, the main outline remains and is full of
instruction to the garden-lover.

The palace is built against the steep hillside, which is dug out to
receive it, a high retaining-wall being built far enough back from the
central body of the house to allow the latter to stand free. The ground
floor of the palace is so far below ground that its windows look across
a paved court at the face of the retaining-wall, which Ammanati
decorated with an architectural composition representing a grotto, from
which water was meant to gush as though issuing from the hillside. This
grotto he surmounted with a magnificent fountain, standing on a level
with the first-floor windows of the palace and with the surrounding
gardens. The arrangement shows ingenuity in overcoming a technical
difficulty, and the effect, from the garden, is very successful, though
the well-like court makes an unfortunate gap between the house and its


Behind the fountain, and in a line with it, a horseshoe-shaped
amphitheatre has been cut out of the hillside, surrounded by tiers of
stone seats adorned with statues in niches and backed by clipped laurel
hedges, behind which rise the ilex-clad slopes of the upper gardens.
This amphitheatre is one of the triumphs of Italian garden-architecture.
In general design and detail it belongs to the pure Renaissance, without
trace of the heavy and fantastic _barocchismo_ which, half a century
later, began to disfigure such compositions in the villas near Rome.
Indeed, comparison with the grotesque garden-architecture of the Villa
d’Este at Tivoli, which is but little later in date, shows how long the
Tuscan sense of proportion and refinement of taste resisted the
ever-growing desire to astonish instead of charming the spectator.

On each side of the amphitheatre, clipped ilex-walks climb the hill,
coming out some distance above on a plateau containing the toy lake with
its little island, the Isola Bella, which was once the pride of the
Boboli garden. This portion of the grounds has been so stripped of its
architectural adornments and of its surrounding vegetation that it is
now merely forlorn; and the same may be said of the little upper garden,
reached by an imposing flight of steps and commanding a wide view over
Florence. One must revert to the architect’s plan to see how admirably
adapted it was to the difficulties of the site he had to deal with, and
how skilfully he harmonized the dense shade of his ilex-groves with the
great open spaces and pompous architectural effects necessary in a
garden which was to form a worthy setting for the pageants of a
Renaissance court. It is interesting to note in this connection that the
flower-garden, or _giardino segreto_, which in Renaissance gardens
almost invariably adjoins the house, has here been relegated to the
hilltop, doubtless because the only level space near the palace was
required for state ceremonials and theatrical entertainments rather than
for private enjoyment.

It is partly because the Boboli is a court-garden, and not designed for
private use, that it is less interesting and instructive than many
others of less importance. Yet the other Medicean villas near Florence,
though designed on much simpler lines, have the same lack of personal
charm. It is perhaps owing to the fact that Florence was so long under
the dominion of one all-powerful family that there is so little variety
in her pleasure-houses. Pratolino, Poggio a Caiano, Cafaggiuolo,
Careggi, Castello and Petraia, one and all, whatever their origin, soon
passed into the possessorship of the Medici, and thence into that of the
Austrian grand dukes who succeeded them; and of the three whose gardens
have been partly preserved, Castello, Petraia and Poggio Imperiale, it
may be said that they have the same impersonal official look as the


Castello and Petraia, situated a mile apart beyond the village of
Quarto, were both built by Buontalenti, that brilliant pupil of
Ammanati’s who had a share in the planning of the gardens behind the
Pitti. Castello stands on level ground, and its severely plain
façade, with windows on consoles and rusticated doorway, faces what
is now a highway, though, according to the print of Zocchi, the
eighteenth-century engraver, a semicircular space enclosed in a low
wall once extended between the house and the road, as at the
neighbouring Villa Corsini and at Poggio Imperiale. It was an
admirable rule of the old Italian architects, where the garden-space
was small and where the site permitted, to build their villas facing
the road, so that the full extent of the grounds was secured to the
private use of the inmates, instead of being laid open by a public
approach to the house. This rule is still followed by French
villa-architects, and it is exceptional in France to see a villa
entered from its grounds when it may be approached directly from the

Behind Castello the ground rises in terraces, enclosed in lateral walls,
to a high retaining-wall at the back, surmounted by a wood of ilexes
which contains a pool with an island. Montaigne, who describes but few
gardens in his Italian diary, mentions that the terraces of Castello are
_en pante_ (sic); that is, they incline gradually toward the house, with
the slope of the ground. This bold and unusual adaptation of formal
gardening to the natural exigencies of the site is also seen in the
terraced gardens of the beautiful Villa Imperiali (now Scassi) at
Sampierdarena, near Genoa. The plan of the garden at Castello is
admirable, but in detail it has been modernized at the cost of all its
charm. Wide steps lead up to the first terrace, where Il Tribolo’s
stately fountain of bronze and marble stands surrounded by marble
benches and statues on fine rusticated pedestals. Unhappily, fountain
and statues have lately been scrubbed to preternatural whiteness, and
the same spirit of improvement has turned the old parterres into
sunburnt turf, and dotted it with copper beeches and pampas-grass.
Montaigne alludes to the _berceaux_, or pleached walks, and to the
close-set cypresses which made a delicious coolness in this garden; and
as one looks across its sun-scorched expanse one perceives that its lack
of charm is explained by lack of shade.

As is usual in Italian gardens built against a hillside, the
retaining-wall at the back serves for the great decorative motive at
Castello. It is reached by wide marble steps, and flanked at the sides
by symmetrical lemon-houses. On the central axis of the garden, the wall
has a wide opening between columns, and on each side an arched recess,
equidistant between the lemon-houses and the central opening. Within the
latter is one of those huge grottoes[1] which for two centuries or more
were the delight of Italian garden-architects. The roof is decorated
with masks and arabesques in coloured shell-work, and in the niches of
the tufa of which the background is formed are strange groups of
life-sized animals, a camel, a monkey, a stag with real antlers, a wild
boar with real tusks, and various small animals and birds, some made of
coloured marbles which correspond with their natural tints; while
beneath these groups are basins of pink-and-white marble, carved with
sea-creatures and resting on dolphins. Humour is the quality which
soonest loses its savour, and it is often difficult to understand the
grotesque side of the old garden-architecture; but the curious delight
in the representations of animals, real or fantastic, probably arose
from the general interest in those strange wild beasts of which the
travellers of the Renaissance brought home such fabulous descriptions.
As to the general use of the grotto in Italian gardens, it is a natural
development of the need for shade and coolness, and when the
long-disused waterworks were playing, and cool streams gushed over
quivering beds of fern into the marble tanks, these retreats must have
formed a delicious contrast to the outer glare of the garden.

Footnote 1:

  This grotto and its sculptures are the work of Il Tribolo, who also
  built the aqueduct bringing thither the waters of the Arno and the


At Petraia the gardens are less elaborate in plan than at Castello, and
are, in fact, noted chiefly for a fountain brought from that villa. This
fountain, the most beautiful of Il Tribolo’s works, is surmounted by the
famous Venus-like figure of a woman wringing out her hair, now generally
attributed to Giovanni da Bologna. Like the other Florentine villas of
this quarter, where water is more abundant, Petraia has a great oblong
_vasca_, or tank, beneath its upper terrace; while the house itself, a
simple structure of the old-fashioned Tuscan type, built about an inner
quadrangle, is remarkable for its very beautiful tower, which, as Herr
Gurlitt[2] suggests, was doubtless inspired by the tower of the Palazzo

Footnote 2:

  “Geschichte des Barockstils in Italien.”

According to Zocchi’s charming etching, the ducal villa of Poggio
Imperiale, on a hillside to the south of Florence, still preserved, in
the eighteenth century, its simple and characteristic Tuscan façade.
This was concealed by the Grand Duke Peter Leopold behind a heavy
pillared front, to which the rusticated porticoes were added later; and
externally nothing remains as it was save the ilex and cypress avenue,
now a public highway, which ascends to the villa from the Porta Romana,
and the semicircular entrance-court with its guardian statues on mighty

Poggio Imperiale was for too long the favourite residence of the
grand-ducal Medici, and of their successors of Lorraine, not to suffer
many changes, and to lose, one by one, all its most typical features.
Within there is a fine court surrounded by an open arcade, probably due
to Giulio Parigi, who, at the end of the sixteenth century, completed
the alterations of the villa according to the plans of Giuliano da
Sangallo; and the vast suites of rooms are interesting to the student of
decoration, since they are adorned, probably by French artists, with
exquisite carvings and _stucchi_ of the Louis XV and Louis XVI periods.
But the grounds have kept little besides their general plan. At the
back, the villa opens directly on a large level pleasure-garden, with
enclosing walls and a central basin surrounded by statues; but the
geometrical parterres have been turned into a lawn. To the right of this
level space, a few steps lead down to a long terrace planted with
ilexes, whence there is a fine view over Florence—an unusual
arrangement, as the _bosco_ was generally above, not below, the


If, owing to circumstances, the more famous pleasure-grounds of Florence
have lost much of their antique charm, she has happily preserved a
garden of another sort which possesses to an unusual degree the flavour
of the past. This is the villa of the Gamberaia at Settignano. Till its
recent purchase, the Gamberaia had for many years been let out in
lodgings for the summer, and it doubtless owes to this obscure fate the
complete preservation of its garden-plan. Before the recent alterations
made in its gardens, it was doubly interesting from its unchanged
condition, and from the fact that, even in Italy, where small and
irregular pieces of ground were so often utilized with marvellous skill,
it was probably the most perfect example of the art of producing a great
effect on a small scale.

The villa stands nobly on a ridge overlooking the village of Settignano
and the wide-spread valley of the Arno. The house is small yet
impressive. Though presumably built as late as 1610, it shows few
concessions to the baroque style already prevalent in other parts of
Italy, and is yet equally removed from the classic or Palladian manner
which held its own so long in the Venetian country. The Gamberaia is
distinctly Tuscan, and its projecting eaves, heavily coigned angles and
windows set far apart on massive consoles, show its direct descent from
the severe and sober school of sixteenth-century architects who produced
such noble examples of the great Tuscan villa as I Collazzi and Fonte
all’ Erta. Nevertheless, so well proportioned is its elevation that
there is no sense of heaviness, and the solidity of the main building is
relieved by a kind of flying arcade at each end, one of which connects
the house with its chapel, while the other, by means of a spiral
stairway in a pier of the arcade, leads from the first floor to what was
once the old fish-pond and herb-garden. This garden, an oblong piece of
ground, a few years ago had in its centre a round fish-pond, surrounded
by symmetrical plots planted with roses and vegetables, and in general
design had probably been little changed since the construction of the
villa. It has now been remodelled on an elaborate plan, which has the
disadvantage of being unrelated in style to its surroundings; but
fortunately no other change has been made in the plan and planting of
the grounds.


Before the façade of the house a grassy terrace bounded by a low wall,
set alternately with stone vases and solemn-looking stone dogs,
overhangs the vineyards and fields, which, as in all unaltered Tuscan
country places, come up close to the house. Behind the villa, and
running parallel with it, is a long grass alley or bowling-green,
flanked for part of its length by a lofty retaining-wall set with
statues, and for the remainder by high hedges which divide it on one
side from the fish-pond garden and on the other from the farm. The green
is closed at one end by a grotto of coloured pebbles and shells, with
nymphs and shepherds in niches about a fountain. This grotto is overhung
by the grove of ancient cypresses for which the Gamberaia is noted. At
its opposite end the bowling-green terminates in a balustrade whence one
looks down on the Arno and across to the hills on the southern side of
the valley.

The retaining-wall which runs parallel with the back of the house
sustains a terrace planted with cypress and ilex. This terraced wood
above the house is very typical of Italian gardens: good examples may be
seen at Castello and at the Villa Medici in Rome. These patches of
shade, however small, are planted irregularly, like a wild wood, with
stone seats under the dense ilex boughs, and a statue placed here and
there in a deep niche of foliage. Just opposite the central doorway of
the house the retaining-wall is broken, and an iron gate leads to a slit
of a garden, hardly more than twenty feet wide, on a level with the
bowling-green. This narrow strip ends also in a grotto-like fountain
with statues, and on each side balustraded flights of steps lead to the
upper level oh which the ilex-grove is planted. This grove, however,
occupies only one portion of the terrace. On the other side of the cleft
formed by the little grotto-garden, the corresponding terrace, formerly
laid out as a vegetable-garden, is backed by the low façade of the
lemon-house, or _stanzone_, which is an adjunct of every Italian villa.
Here the lemon and orange trees, the camellias and other semi-tender
shrubs, are stored in winter, to be set out in May in their red earthen
jars on the stone slabs which border the walks of all old Italian

The plan of the Gamberaia has been described thus in detail because it
combines in an astonishingly small space, yet without the least sense of
overcrowding, almost every typical excellence of the old Italian garden:
free circulation of sunlight and air about the house; abundance of
water; easy access to dense shade; sheltered walks with different points
of view; variety of effect produced by the skilful use of different
levels; and, finally, breadth and simplicity of composition.

Here, also, may be noted in its fullest expression that principle of old
gardening which the modern “landscapist” has most completely unlearned,
namely, the value of subdivision of spaces. Whereas the modern
gardener’s one idea of producing an effect of space is to annihilate his
boundaries, and not only to merge into one another the necessary
divisions of the garden, but also to blend this vague whole with the
landscape, the old garden-architect proceeded on the opposite principle,
arguing that, as the garden is but the prolongation of the house, and as
a house containing a single huge room would be less interesting and less
serviceable than one divided according to the varied requirements of its
inmates, so a garden which is merely one huge outdoor room is also less
interesting and less serviceable than one which has its logical
divisions. Utility was doubtless not the only consideration which
produced this careful portioning off of the garden. Æsthetic impressions
were considered, and the effect of passing from the sunny fruit-garden
to the dense grove, thence to the wide-reaching view, and again to the
sheltered privacy of the pleached walk or the mossy coolness of the
grotto—all this was taken into account by a race of artists who studied
the contrast of æsthetic emotions as keenly as they did the
juxtaposition of dark cypress and pale lemon-tree, of deep shade and
level sunlight. But the real value of the old Italian garden-plan is
that logic and beauty meet in it, as they should in all sound
architectural work. Each quarter of the garden was placed where
convenience required, and was made accessible from all the others by the
most direct and rational means; and from this intelligent method of
planning the most varying effects of unexpectedness and beauty were

It was said above that lawns are unsuited to the Italian soil and
climate, but it must not be thought that the Italian gardeners did not
appreciate the value of turf. They used it, but sparingly, knowing that
it required great care and was not a characteristic of the soil. The
bowling-green of the Gamberaia shows how well the beauty of a long
stretch of greensward was understood; and at the Villa Capponi, at
Arcetri, on the other side of Florence, there is a fine oblong of old
turf adjoining the house, said to be the only surviving fragment of the
original garden. These bits of sward were always used near the house,
where their full value could be enjoyed, and were set like jewels in
clipped hedges or statue-crowned walls. Though doubtless intended
chiefly for games, they were certainly valued for their æsthetic effect,
for in many Italian gardens steep grass alleys flanked by walls of beech
or ilex are seen ascending a hillside to the temple or statue which
forms the crowning ornament of the grounds. In Florence a good example
of this _tapis vert_, of which Le Nôtre afterward made such admirable
use in the moist climate of France, is seen at the Villa Danti, on the
Arno near Campiobbi.

Close to the ducal villas of Castello lies a country-seat possessing
much of the intimate charm which they lack. This is Prince Corsini’s
villa, the finest example of a baroque country house near Florence. The
old villa, of which the typical Tuscan elevation may still be seen at
the back, was remodelled during the latter half of the seventeenth
century, probably by Antonio Ferri, who built the state saloon and
staircase of the Palazzo Corsini on the Lungarno. The Villa Corsini lies
in the plain, like Castello, and has before it the usual walled
semicircle. The front of the villa is frankly baroque, a two-storied
elevation with windows divided by a meagre order, and a stately central
gable flanked by balustrades surmounted by vases. The whole treatment is
interesting, as showing the manner in which the seventeenth-century
architect overlaid a plain Tuscan structure with florid ornament; and
the effect, if open to criticism, is at once gay and stately.


The house is built about a quadrangle enclosed in an open arcade on
columns. Opposite the porte-cochère is a doorway opening on a broad
space bounded by a balustrade with statues. An ilex avenue extends
beyond this space, on the axis of the doorway. At one end of the house
is the oblong walled garden, with its box-edged flower-beds grouped in
an intricate geometrical pattern about a central fountain. Corresponding
with this garden, at the opposite end of the house, is a dense
ilex-grove with an alley leading down the centre to a beautiful
fountain, a tank surmounted by a kind of voluted pediment, into which
the water falls from a large ilex-shaded tank on a higher level. Here
again the vineyards and olive-orchards come up close to the formal
grounds, the ilex-grove being divided from the _podere_ by a line of
cypresses instead of a wall.

Not far from the Gamberaia, on the hillside of San Gervasio, stands
another country house which preserves only faint traces of its old
gardens, but which, architecturally, is too interesting to be
overlooked. This is the villa of Fonte all’ Erta. Originally a long
building of the villa-farmhouse order, with chapel, offices and
outhouses connected with the main house, it was transformed in the
sixteenth century, probably by Ammanati, into one of the stateliest
country houses near Florence. A splendid rusticated loggia, approached
by a double flight of steps, forms an angle of the main house, and
either then or later the spacious open court, around three sides of
which the villa is built, was roofed over and turned into a great
central saloon like those of the Venetian and Milanese villas. This
two-storied saloon is the finest and most appropriate feature of the
interior planning of Italian villas, but it seems never to have been as
popular in Tuscany as it was farther north or south. The Tuscan villas,
for the most part, are smaller and less pretentious in style than those
erected in other parts of Italy, and only in exceptional instances did
the architect free himself from the traditional plan of the old
farmhouse-villa around its open court. A fine example of this arcaded
court may be seen at Petraia, the Medicean villa near Castello. At Fonte
all’ Erta the former court faced toward what was once an old
flower-garden, raised a few feet above the grass terrace which runs the
length of the façade. Behind this garden, and adjoining the back of the
villa, is the old evergreen grove; but the formal surroundings of the
house have disappeared.

The most splendid and stately villa in the neighbourhood of Florence
stands among the hills a few miles beyond the Certosa of Val d’Ema, and
looks from its lofty ridge across the plain toward Pistoia and the
Apennines. This villa, called Ai Collazzi (now Bombicci), from the
wooded hills which surround it, was built for the Dini family in the
sixteenth century, and, as tradition avers, by no less a hand than
Michelangelo’s. He is known to have been a close friend of the Dini, and
is likely to have worked for them; and if, as some experts think,
certain details of the design, as well as the actual construction of the
villa, are due to Santi di Tito, it is impossible not to feel that its
general conception must have originated with a greater artist.

The Villa Bombicci has in fact the Michelangelesque quality: the
austerity, the breadth, the peculiar majesty which he imparted to his
slightest creations. The house is built about three sides of a raised
stone-flagged terrace, the enclosing elevation consisting of a
two-storied open arcade roofed by widely projecting eaves. The wings are
solid, with the exception of the sides toward the arcade, and the
windows, with their heavy pediments and consoles, are set far apart in
true Tuscan fashion. A majestic double flight of steps, flanked by
shield-bearing lions, leads up to the terrace about which the house is
built. Within is a high central saloon opening at the back on a stone
_perron_, with another double flight of steps which descend in a curve
to the garden. On this side of the house there is, on the upper floor,
an open loggia of great beauty, consisting of three arches divided by
slender coupled shafts. Very fine, also, is the arched and rusticated
doorway surmounted by a stone escutcheon.

The villa is approached by a cypress avenue which leads straight to the
open space before the house. The ridge on which the latter is built is
so narrow, and the land falls away so rapidly, that there could never
have been much opportunity for the development of garden-architecture;
but though all is now Anglicized, it is easy to trace the original plan:
in front, the open space supported by a high retaining-wall, on one side
of the house the grove of cypress and ilex, and at the back, where there
was complete privacy, the small _giardino segreto_, or hedged garden,
with its parterres, benches and statues.

The purpose of this book is to describe the Italian villa in relation to
its grounds, and many villas which have lost their old surroundings must
therefore be omitted; but near Florence there is one old garden which
has always lacked its villa, yet which cannot be overlooked in a study
of Italian garden-craft. Even those most familiar with the fascinations
of Italian gardens will associate a peculiar thrill with their first
sight of the Villa[3] Campi. Laid out by one of the Pucci family,
probably toward the end of the sixteenth century, it lies beyond
Lastra-Signa, above the Arno, about ten miles from Florence. It is not
easy to reach, for so long is it since any one has lived in the
melancholy _villino_ of Villa Campi that even in the streets of Lastra,
the little walled town by the Arno, a guide is hard to find. But at last
one is told to follow a steep country road among vines and olives, past
two or three charming houses buried in ilex-groves, till the way ends in
a lane which leads up to a gateway surmounted by statues. Ascending
thence by a long avenue of cypresses, one reaches the level hilltop on
which the house should have stood. Two pavilions connected by a high
wall face the broad open terrace, whence there is a far-spreading view
over the Arno valley: doubtless the main building was to have been
placed between them. But now the place lies enveloped in a mysterious
silence. The foot falls noiselessly on the grass carpeting of the
alleys, the water is hushed in pools and fountains, and broken statues
peer out startlingly from their niches of unclipped foliage. From the
open space in front of the pavilions, long avenues radiate, descending
and encircling the hillside, walled with cypress and ilex, and leading
to _rond-points_ set with groups of statuary, and to balustraded
terraces overhanging the valley. The plan is vast and complicated, and
appears to have embraced the whole hillside, which, contrary to the
usual frugal Tuscan plan, was to have been converted into a formal park
with vistas, quincunxes and fountains.

Footnote 3:

  _Villa_, in Italian, signifies not the house alone, but the house and

Entering a gate in the wall between the pavilions, one comes on the
terraced flower-gardens, and here the same grandeur of conception is
seen. The upper terrace preserves traces of its formal parterres and
box-hedges. Thence flights of steps lead down to a long bowling-green
between hedges, like that at the Gamberaia. A farther descent reveals
another terrace-garden, with clipped hedges, statues and fountains; and
thence sloping alleys radiate down to stone-edged pools with reclining
river-gods in the mysterious shade of the ilex-groves. Statues are
everywhere: in the upper gardens, nymphs, satyrs, shepherds, and the
cheerful fauna of the open pleasance; at the end of the shadowy glades,
solemn figures of Titanic gods, couched above their pools or reared
aloft on mighty pedestals. Even the opposite hillside must have been
included in the original scheme of this vast garden, for it still shows,
on the central axis between the pavilions, a _tapis vert_ between
cypresses, doubtless intended to lead up to some great stone Hercules
under a crowning arch.

But it is not the size of the Campi gardens which makes them so
remarkable; it is the subtle beauty of their planning, to which time and
neglect have added the requisite touch of poetry. Never perhaps have
natural advantages been utilized with so little perceptible straining
after effect, yet with so complete a sense of the needful adjustment
between landscape and architecture. One feels that these long avenues
and statued terraces were meant to lead up to a “stately
pleasure-house”; yet so little are they out of harmony with the
surrounding scene that nature has gradually taken them back to herself,
has turned them into a haunted grove in which the statues seem like
sylvan gods fallen asleep in their native shade.

There are other Florentine villas which preserve traces of their old
gardens. The beautiful Villa Palmieri has kept its terrace-architecture,
Lappeggi its fine double stairway, the Villa Danti its grass-walk
leading to a giant on the hilltop, and Castel Pulci its stately façade
with a sky-line of statues and the long cypress avenue shown in Zocchi’s
print; even Pratolino, so cruelly devastated, still preserves Giovanni
da Bologna’s colossal figure of the Apennines. But where so much of
greater value remains to be described, space fails to linger over these
fragments which, romantic and charming as they are, can but faintly
suggest, amid their altered surroundings, the vanished garden-plans of
which they formed a part.

                             SIENESE VILLAS

[Illustration: VICOBELLO, SIENA]


                             SIENESE VILLAS

In the order of age, the first country-seat near Siena which claims
attention is the fortress-villa of Belcaro.

Frequent mention is made of the castle of Belcaro in early chronicles
and documents, and it seems to have been a place of some importance as
far back as the eleventh century. It stands on a hilltop clothed with
oak and ilex in the beautiful wooded country to the west of Siena, and
from its ancient walls one looks forth over the plain to the hill-set
city and its distant circle of mountains. It was perhaps for the sake of
this enchanting prospect that Baldassare Peruzzi, to whom the
transformation of Belcaro is ascribed, left these crenellated walls
untouched, and contented himself with adorning the inner court of the
castle with a delicate mask of Renaissance architecture. A large bare
villa of no architectural pretensions was added to the mediæval
buildings, and Peruzzi worked within the enclosed quadrangle thus

A handsome architectural screen of brick and marble with a central
gateway leads from a stone-paved court to a garden of about the same
dimensions, at the back of which is an arcaded loggia, also of brick and
marble, exquisitely light and graceful in proportion, and frescoed in
the Raphaelesque manner with medallions and arabesques, fruit-garlands
and brightly plumed birds. Adjoining this loggia is a small brick
chapel, simple but elegant in design, with a frescoed interior also
ascribed to Peruzzi, and still beautiful under its crude repainting. The
garden itself is the real _hortus inclusus_ of the mediæval chronicler:
a small patch of ground enclosed in the fortress walls, with box-edged
plots, a central well and clipped shrubs. It is interesting as a
reminder of what the mediæval garden within the castle must have been,
and its setting of Renaissance architecture makes it look like one of
those little marble-walled pleasances, full of fruit and flowers, in the
backgrounds of Gozzoli or Lorenzo di Credi.

Several miles beyond Belcaro, in a pleasant valley among oak-wooded
hills, lies the Marchese Chigi’s estate of Cetinale. A huge clipped
ilex, one of the few examples of Dutch topiary work in Italy, stands at
the angle of the road which leads to the gates. Across the highway,
facing the courtyard entrance, is another gate, guarded by statues and
leading to a long _tapis vert_ which ascends between double rows of
square-topped ilexes to a statue on the crest of the opposite slope. The
villa looks out on this perspective, facing it across an oblong
courtyard flanked by low outbuildings. The main house, said to have been
built (or more probably rebuilt) in 1680 by Carlo Fontana for Flavio
Chigi, nephew of Pope Alexander VII, is so small and modest of aspect
that one is surprised to learn that it was one of the celebrated
pleasure-houses of its day. It must be remembered, however, that with
the exception of the great houses built near Rome by the Princes of the
Church, and the country-seats of such reigning families as the Medici,
the Italian villa was almost invariably a small and simple building, the
noble proprietor having usually preferred to devote his wealth and time
to the embellishment of his gardens.

The house at Cetinale is so charming, with its stately double flight of
steps leading up to the first floor, and its monumental doorway opening
on a central _salone_, that it may well be ascribed to the architect of
San Marcello in Rome, and of Prince Lichtenstein’s “Garden Palace” in
Vienna. The plan of using the low-studded ground floor for offices,
wine-cellar and store-rooms, while the living-rooms are all
above-stairs, shows the hand of an architect trained in the Roman
school. All the Tuscan and mid-Italian villas open on a level with their
gardens, while about Rome the country houses, at least on one side, have
beneath the living-rooms a ground floor generally used for the storage
of wine and oil.

But the glory of Cetinale is its park. Behind the villa a long
grass-walk as wide as the house extends between high walls to a
fantastic gateway, with statues in ivy-clad niches, and a curious
crowning motive terminating in obelisks and balls. Beyond this the
turf-walk continues again to a raised semicircular terrace, surrounded
by a wall adorned with busts and enclosed in clipped ilexes. This
terrace abuts on the ilex-clothed hillside which bounds the valley. A
gateway leads directly into these wild romantic woods, and a steep
irregular flight of stone steps is seen ascending the wooded slope to a
tiny building on the crest of the hill. This ascent is called the Scala
Santa, and the building to which it leads is a hermitage adorned with
circular niches set in the form of a cross, each niche containing the
bust of a saint. The hermitage being directly on the axis of the villa,
one looks out from the latter down the admirable perspective of the
_tapis vert_ and up the Scala Santa to the little house at its summit.
It is interesting to note that this effect of distance and grandeur is
produced at small cost and in the simplest manner; for the grass-walk
with its semicircular end forms the whole extent of the Cetinale garden.
The olive-orchards and corn-fields of the farm come up to the boundary
walls of the walk, and the wood is left as nature planted it. Fontana,
if it was indeed he who laid out this simple but admirable plan, was
wise enough to profit by the natural advantage of the great forest of
oak and ilex which clothes this part of the country, and to realize that
only the broadest and simplest lines would be in harmony with so noble a


As charming in its way, though less romantic and original, is the
Marchese Chigi’s other seat of Vicobello, a mile or two beyond the Porta
Ovile, on the other side of Siena. Vicobello lies in an open
villa-studded country in complete contrast to the wooded hills about
Cetinale. The villa is placed on a long narrow ridge of land, falling
away abruptly at the back and front. A straight entrance avenue runs
parallel to the outer walls of the outbuildings, which form the boundary
of the court, the latter being entered through a vaulted porte-cochère.
Facing this entrance (as at Cetinale) is a handsome gateway guarded by
statues and set in a semicircular wall. Passing through this gate, one
descends to a series of terraces planted with straight rows of the
square-topped ilexes so characteristic of the Sienese gardens. These
densely shaded terraces descend to a level stretch of sward (perhaps an
old bowling-green) bordered by a wall of clipped ilexes, at the foot of
the hill on which the villa stands.

On entering the forecourt, one faces the villa, a dignified oblong
building of simple Renaissance architecture, ascribed in the local
guide-book to Baldassare Peruzzi, and certainly of earlier construction
than the house at Cetinale. On the left, a gate in a high wall leads to
a walled garden, bounded by a long lemon-house which continues the line
of the outbuildings on the court. Opposite, a corresponding gateway
opens into the _bosco_ which is the indispensable adjunct of the Italian
country house. On the other side of the villa are two long terraces, one
beneath the other, corresponding in dimensions with the court, and
flanked on each hand by walled terrace-gardens, descending on one side
from the grove, on the other from the upper garden adjoining the court.
The plan, which is as elaborate and minutely divided as that of Cetinale
is spacious and simple, shows an equally sure appreciation of natural
conditions, and of the distinction between a _villa suburbana_ and a
country estate. The walls of the upper garden are espaliered with
fruit-trees, and the box-edged flower-plots are probably laid out much
as they were in the eighteenth century. All the architectural details
are beautiful, especially a well in the court, set in the wall between
Ionic columns, and a charming garden-house at the end of the upper
garden, in the form of an open archway faced with Doric pilasters,
before a semicircular recess with a marble seat. The descending walled
gardens, with their different levels, give opportunity for many charming
architectural effects—busts in niches, curving steps, and well-placed
vases and statues; and the whole treatment of Vicobello is remarkable
for the discretion and sureness of taste with which these ornamental
touches are added. There is no excess of decoration, no crowding of
effects, and the garden-plan is in perfect keeping with the simple
stateliness of the house.

About a mile from Vicobello, on an olive-clad hillside near the famous
monastery of the Osservanza, lies another villa of much more modest
dimensions, with grounds which, though in some respects typically
Sienese, are in one way unique in Italy. This is La Palazzina, the
estate of the De’ Gori family. The small seventeenth-century house, with
its adjoining chapel and outbuildings, lies directly on the public road,
and forms the boundary of its own grounds. The charming garden-façade,
with its voluted sky-line, and the two-storied open loggia forming the
central motive of the elevation, faces on a terrace-like open space,
bounded by a wall, and now irregularly planted _à l’Anglaise_, but
doubtless once the site of the old flower-garden. Before the house
stands an old well with a beautiful wrought-iron railing, and on the
axis of the central loggia a gate opens into one of the pleached
ilex-alleys which are the glory of the Palazzina. This ancient tunnel of
gnarled and interlocked trees, where a green twilight reigns in the
hottest summer noon, extends for several hundred feet along a ridge of
ground ending in a sort of circular knoll or platform, surrounded by an
impenetrable wall of square-clipped ilexes. The platform has in its
centre a round clearing, from which four narrow paths radiate at right
angles, one abutting on the pleached walk, the others on the outer
ilex-wall. Between these paths are four small circular spaces planted
with stunted ilexes and cypresses, which are cut down to the height of
shrubs. In these dwarf trees blinded thrushes are tied as decoys to
their wild kin, who are shot at from the circular clearing or the side
paths. This elaborate plantation is a perfectly preserved specimen of a
species of bird-trap once, alas! very common in this part of Italy, and
in which one may picture the young gallants of Folgore da San
Gimignano’s Sienese sonnets “Of the Months” taking their cruel pleasure
on an autumn day.

Another antique alley of pleached ilexes, as densely shaded but not
quite as long, runs from the end of the terrace to a small open-air
theatre which is the greatest curiosity of the Villa de’ Gori. The pit
of this theatre is a semicircular opening, bounded by a low wall or
seat, which is backed by a high ilex-hedge. The parterre is laid out in
an elaborate _broderie_ of turf and gravel, above which the stage is
raised about three feet. The pit and the stage are enclosed in a double
hedge of ilex, so that the actors may reach the wings without being seen
by the audience; but the stage-setting consists of rows of clipped
cypresses, each advancing a few feet beyond the one before it, so that
they form a perspective running up to the back of the stage, and
terminated by the tall shaft of a single cypress which towers high into
the blue in the exact centre of the background. No mere description of
its plan can convey the charm of this exquisite little theatre,
approached through the mysterious dusk of the long pleached alley, and
lying in sunshine and silence under its roof of blue sky, in its walls
of unchanging verdure. Imagination must people the stage with the sylvan
figures of the _Aminta_ or the _Pastor Fido_, and must place on the
encircling seats a company of _nobil donne_ in pearls and satin, with
their cavaliers in the black Spanish habit and falling lace collar which
Vandyke has immortalized in his Genoese portraits; and the remembrance
of this leafy stage will lend new life to the reading of the Italian
pastorals, and throw a brighter sunlight over the woodland comedies of


                              ROMAN VILLAS



                              ROMAN VILLAS

In studying the villas near the smaller Italian towns, it is difficult
to learn much of their history. Now and then some information may be
gleaned from a local guide-book, but the facts are usually meagre or
inaccurate, and the name of the architect, the date of the building, the
original plan of the garden, have often alike been forgotten.

With regard to the villas in and about Rome, the case is different. Here
the student is overwhelmed by a profusion of documents. Illustrious
architects dispute the honour of having built the famous pleasure-houses
on the seven hills, and historians of art, from Vasari downward, have
recorded their annals. Falda engraved them in the seventeenth century,
and Percier and Fontaine at the beginning of the nineteenth; and they
have been visited and described, at various periods, by countless
travellers from different countries.

One of the earliest Roman gardens of which a description has been
preserved is that which Bramante laid out within the Vatican in the last
years of the fifteenth century. This terraced garden, with its
monumental double flight of steps leading up by three levels to the
Giardino della Pigna, was described in 1523 by the Venetian ambassador
to Rome, who speaks of its grass parterres and fountains, its hedges of
laurel and cypress, its plantations of mulberries and roses. One half of
the garden (the court of the Belvedere) had brick-paved walks between
rows of orange-trees; in its centre were statues of the Nile and the
Tiber above a fountain; while the Apollo, the Laocoon and the Venus of
the Vatican were placed about it in niches. This garden was long since
sacrificed to the building of the Braccio Nuovo and the Vatican Library;
but it is worth mentioning that Burckhardt, whose least word on Italian
gardens is more illuminating than the treatises of other writers,
thought that Bramante’s terraced stairway first set the example of that
architectural magnificence which marks the great Roman gardens of the

Next in date comes the Villa Madama, Raphael’s unfinished masterpiece on
the slope of Monte Mario. This splendid pleasure-house, which was begun
in 1516 for Cardinal Giuliano de’ Medici, afterward Pope Clement VII,
was intended to be the model of the great _villa suburbana_, and no
subsequent building of the sort is comparable to what it would have been
had the original plans been carried out. But the villa was built under
an evil star. Raphael died before the work was finished, and it was
carried on with some alterations by Giulio Romano and Antonio da
Sangallo. In 1527 the troops of Cardinal Colonna nearly destroyed it by
fire; and, without ever being completed, it passed successively into the
possession of the Chapter of St. Eustace, of the Duchess of Parma
(whence its name of _Madama_), and of the King of Naples, who suffered
it to fall into complete neglect.

The unfinished building, with its mighty loggia stuccoed by Giovanni da
Udine, and the semicircular arcade at the back, is too familiar to need
detailed description; and the gardens are so dilapidated that they are
of interest only to an eye experienced enough to reconstruct them from
their skeleton. They consist of two long terraces, one above the other,
cut in the side of the wooded slope overhanging the villa. The upper
terrace is on a level with Raphael’s splendid loggia, and seems but a
roofless continuation of that airy hall. Against the hillside and at the
end it is bounded by a retaining-wall once surmounted by a marble
balustrade and set with niches for statuary, while on the other side it
looks forth over the Tiber and the Campagna. Below this terrace is
another of the same proportions, its retaining-wall broken at each end
by a stairway descending from the upper level, and the greater part of
its surface taken up by a large rectangular tank, into which water
gushes from the niches in the lateral wall. It is evident from the
breadth of treatment of these terraces that they are but a fragment of
the projected whole. Percier and Fontaine, in their “Maisons de
Plaisance de Rome” (1809), published an interesting “reconstitution” of
the Villa Madama and its gardens, as they conceived it might have been
carried to completion; but their plan is merely the brilliant conjecture
of two artists penetrated with the spirit of the Renaissance, for they
had no documents to go by. The existing fragment is, however, well
worthy of study, for the purity of its architecture and the broad
simplicity of its plan are in marked contrast to the complicated design
and overcharged details of some of the later Roman gardens.

Third in date among the early Renaissance gardens comes another, of
which few traces are left: that of the Vigna del Papa, or Villa di Papa
Giulio, just beyond the Porta del Popolo. Here, however, the building
itself, and the architectural composition which once united the house
and grounds, are fortunately well preserved, and so exceptionally
interesting that they deserved a careful description. The Villa di Papa
Giulio was built by Pope Julius III, whose pontificate extends from 1550
to 1555. The villa therefore dates from the middle of the sixteenth
century; but so many architects were associated with it, and so much
confusion exists as to their respective contributions, that it can only
be said that the Pope himself, Michelangelo, Vignola, Vasari and
Ammanati appear all to have had a hand in the work. The exterior
elevation, though it has been criticized, is not as inharmonious as
might have been expected, and on the garden side both plan and elevation
have a charm and picturesqueness which disarm criticism. Above all, it
is felt at once that the arrangement is perfectly suited to a warm
climate. The villa forms a semicircle at the back, enclosing a paved
court. The ground floor is an open vaulted arcade, adorned with
Zucchero’s celebrated frescoes of _putti_ peeping through vine-wreathed
trellises; and the sides of the court, beyond this arcade, are bounded
by two-storied lateral wings, with blind arcades and niches adorned with
statues. Facing the villa, a colonnaded loggia terminates the court; and
thence one looks down into the beautiful lower court of the bath, which
appears to have been designed by Vasari. From the loggia, steps descend
to a semicircular court enclosed in walls, with a balustraded opening in
its centre; and this balustrade rests on a row of caryatids which
encircle the lowest court and form a screen before the grotto-like bath
under the arches of the upper terrace. The plan is too complicated, and
the architectural motives are too varied, to admit of clear description:
both must be seen to give an idea of the full beauty of the composition.
Returning to the upper loggia above the bath, one looks across the
latter to a corresponding loggia of three arches on the opposite side,
on the axis of which is a gateway leading to the actual gardens—gardens
which, alas! no longer exist. It will thus be seen that the flagged
court, the two open loggias, and the bath are so many skilfully
graduated steps in what Percier and Fontaine call the “artistic
progression” linking the gardens to the house, while the whole is so
planned that from the central hall of the villa (and in fact from its
entrance-door) one may look across the court and down the long vista of
columns, into what were once the shady depths of the garden.

In all Italian garden-architecture there is nothing quite comparable for
charm and delicately reminiscent classicalism with this grotto-bath of
Pope Julius’s villa. Here we find the tradition of the old Roman
villa-architecture, as it had been lovingly studied in the letters of
Pliny, transposed into Renaissance forms, with the sense of its
continued fitness to unchanged conditions of climate and a conscious
return to the splendour of the old patrician life. It is instructive to
compare this natural reflowering of a national art with the frigid
archæological classicalism of Winckelmann and Canova. Here there is no
literal transcription of uncomprehended detail: the spirit is preserved,
because it is still living, but it finds expression in subtly altered
forms. Above all, the artist has drawn his inspiration from Roman art,
the true source of modern architecture, and not from that of Greece,
which, for all its beauty and far-reaching æsthetic influences, was
_not_ the starting-point of modern artistic conceptions, for the plain
historical reason that it was utterly forgotten and unknown when the
mediæval world began to wake from its lethargy and gather up its
scattered heritage of artistic traditions.


When John Evelyn came to Rome in 1644 and alighted “at Monsieur Petit’s
in the Piazza Spagnola,” many of the great Roman villas were still in
the first freshness of their splendour, and the taste which called them
forth had not yet wearied of them. Later travellers, with altered ideas,
were not sufficiently interested to examine in detail what already
seemed antiquated and out of fashion; but to Evelyn, a passionate lover
of architecture and garden-craft, the Italian villas were patterns of
excellence, to be carefully studied and minutely described for the
benefit of those who sought to imitate them in England. It is doubtful
if later generations will ever be diverted by the aquatic “surprises”
and mechanical toys in which Evelyn took such simple pleasure; but the
real beauties he discerned are once more receiving intelligent
recognition after two centuries of contempt and indifference. It is
worth noting in this connection that, at the very height of the reaction
against Italian gardens, they were lovingly studied and truly understood
by two men great enough to rise above the prejudices of their age: the
French architects Percier and Fontaine, whose volume contains some of
the most suggestive analyses ever written of the purpose and meaning of
Renaissance garden-architecture.

Probably one of the least changed among the villas visited by Evelyn is
“the house of the Duke of Florence upon the brow of Mons Pincius.” The
Villa Medici, on being sold by that family in 1801, had the good fortune
to pass into the hands of the French government, and its “facciata
incrusted with antique and rare basso-relievos and statues” still looks
out over the statued arcade, the terrace “balustraded with white marble”
and planted with “perennial greens,” and the “mount planted with
cypresses,” which Evelyn so justly admired.

The villa, built in the middle of the sixteenth century by Annibale
Lippi, was begun for one cardinal and completed for another. It stands
in true Italian fashion against the hillside above the Spanish Steps,
its airy upper stories planted on one of the mighty bastion-like
basements so characteristic of the Roman villa. A villa above, a
fortress below, it shows that, even in the polished cinque-cento, life
in the Papal States needed the protection of stout walls and heavily
barred windows. The garden-façade, raised a story above the entrance,
has all the smiling openness of the Renaissance pleasure-house, and is
interesting as being probably the earliest example of the systematic use
of fragments of antique sculpture in an architectural elevation. But
this façade, with its charming central loggia, is sufficiently well
known to make a detailed description superfluous, and it need be studied
here only in relation to its surroundings.


Falda’s plan of the grounds, and that of Percier and Fontaine, made over
a hundred and fifty years later, show how little succeeding fashions
have been allowed to disturb the original design. The gardens are still
approached by a long shady alley which ascends from the piazza before
the entrance; and they are still divided into a symmetrically planted
grove, a flower-garden before the house, and an upper wild-wood with a
straight path leading to the “mount planted with cypresses.”

It is safe to say that no one enters the grounds of the Villa Medici
without being soothed and charmed by that garden-magic which is the
peculiar quality of some of the old Italian pleasances. It is not
necessary to be a student of garden-architecture to feel the spell of
quiet and serenity which falls on one at the very gateway; but it is
worth the student’s while to try to analyze the elements of which the
sensation is composed. Perhaps they will be found to resolve themselves
into diversity, simplicity and fitness. The plan of the garden is
simple, but its different parts are so contrasted as to produce, by the
fewest means, a pleasant sense of variety without sacrifice of repose.
The ilex-grove into which one first enters is traversed by hedged alleys
which lead to _rond-points_ with stone seats and marble Terms. At one
point the enclosing wall of ilex is broken to admit a charming open
loggia, whence one looks into the depths of green below. Emerging from
the straight shady walks, with their effect of uniformity and repose,
one comes on the flower-garden before the house, spreading to the
sunshine its box-edged parterres adorned with fountains and statues.
Here garden and house-front are harmonized by a strong predominance of
architectural lines, and by the beautiful lateral loggia, with niches
for statues, above which the upper ilex-wood rises. Tall hedges and
trees there are none; for from the villa one looks across the garden at
the wide sweep of the Campagna and the mountains; indeed, this is
probably one of the first of the gardens which Gurlitt defines as
“gardens to look out from,” in contradistinction to the earlier sort,
the “gardens to look into.” Mounting to the terrace, one comes to the
third division of the garden, the wild-wood with its irregular levels,
through which a path leads to the mount, with a little temple on its
summit. This is a rare feature in Italian grounds: in hilly Italy there
was small need of creating the artificial hillocks so much esteemed in
the old English gardens. In this case, however, the mount justifies its
existence, for it affords a wonderful view over the other side of Rome
and the Campagna.

Finally, the general impression of the Medici garden resolves itself
into a sense of fitness, of perfect harmony between the material at hand
and the use made of it. The architect has used his opportunities to the
utmost; but he has adapted nature without distorting it. In some of the
great French gardens, at Vaux and Versailles for example, one is
conscious, under all the beauty, of the immense effort expended, of the
vast upheavals of earth, the forced creating of effects; but it was the
great gift of the Italian gardener to see the natural advantages of his
incomparable landscape, and to fit them into his scheme with an art
which concealed itself.


While Annibale Lippi, an architect known by only two buildings, was
laying out the Medici garden, the Palatine Hill was being clothed with
monumental terraces by a master to whom the Italian Renaissance owed
much of its stateliest architecture. Vignola, who transformed the slopes
of the Palatine into the sumptuous Farnese gardens, was the architect of
the mighty fortress-villa of Caprarola, and of the garden-portico of
Mondragone; and tradition ascribes to him also the incomparable Lante
gardens at Bagnaia.

In the Farnese gardens he found full play for his gift of grouping
masses and for the scenic sense which enabled him to create such
grandiose backgrounds for the magnificence of the great Roman prelates.
The Palatine gardens have been gradually sacrificed to the excavations
of the Palace of the Cæsars, but their almost theatrical magnificence is
shown in the prints of Falda and of Percier and Fontaine. In this
prodigal development of terraces, niches, porticoes and ramps, one
perceives the outcome of Bramante’s double staircase in the inner
gardens of the Vatican, and Burckhardt justly remarks that in the
Farnese gardens “the period of unity of composition and effective
grouping of masses” finally triumphs over the earlier style.

No villa was ever built on this site, and there is consequently an air
of heaviness and over-importance about the stately ascent which leads
merely to two domed pavilions; but the composition would have regained
its true value had it been crowned by such a palace as the Roman
cardinals were beginning to erect for themselves. It is especially
interesting to note the contrast in style and plan between this garden
and that of the contemporaneous Villa Medici. One was designed for
display, the other for privacy, and the success with which the purpose
of each is fulfilled shows the originality and independence of their
creators. It is a common error to think of the Italian gardens of the
Renaissance as repeating endlessly the same architectural effects: their
peculiar charm lies chiefly in the versatility with which their
designers adapted them to different sites and different requirements.

As an example of this independence of meaningless conventions, let the
student turn from the Villa Medici and the Orti Farnesiani to a third
type of villa created at the same time—the Casino of Pope Pius IV in the
Vatican gardens, built in 1560 by the Neapolitan architect Pirro

[Illustration: VILLA MEDICI, ROME]

This exquisite little garden-house lies in a hollow of the outer Vatican
gardens near the Via de’ Fondamenti. A hillside once clothed with a
grove rises abruptly behind it, and in this hillside a deep oblong cut
has been made and faced with a retaining-wall. In the space thus cleared
the villa is built, some ten or fifteen feet away from the wall, so that
its ground floor is cool and shaded without being damp. The building,
which is long and narrow, runs lengthwise into the cut, its long façades
being treated as sides, while it presents a narrow end as its front
elevation. The propriety of this plan will be seen when the restricted
surroundings are noted. In such a small space a larger structure would
have been disproportionate; and Ligorio hit on the only means of giving
to a house of considerable size the appearance of a mere

Percier and Fontaine say that Ligorio built the Villa Pia “after the
manner of the ancient houses, of which he had made a special study.” The
influence of the Roman fresco-architecture is in fact visible in this
delicious little building, but so freely modified by the personal taste
of the architect that it has none of the rigidity of the
“reconstitution,” but seems rather the day-dream of an artist who has
saturated his mind with the past.

The façade is a mere pretext for the display of the most exquisite and
varied stucco ornamentation, in which motives borrowed from the Roman
_stucchi_ are harmonized with endless versatility. In spite of the
wealth of detail, it is saved from heaviness and confusion by its
delicacy of treatment and by a certain naïveté which makes it more akin
(fantastic as the comparison may seem) with the stuccoed façade of San
Bernardino at Perugia than with similar compositions of its own period.
The angels or genii in the oblong panels are curiously suggestive of
Agostino da Duccio, and the pale-yellow tarnished surface of the stucco
recalls the delicate hues of the Perugian chapel.


The ground floor consists of an open loggia of three arches on columns,
forming a kind of atrium curiously faced with an elaborate mosaic-work
of tiny round pebbles, stained in various colours and set in arabesques
and other antique patterns. The coigns of the façade are formed of this
same mosaic—a last touch of fancifulness where all is fantastic. The
barrel-vault of the atrium is a marvel of delicate _stuccature_,
evidently inspired by the work of Giovanni da Udine at the Villa Madama;
and at each end stands a splendid marble basin resting on winged
griffins. The fragile decorations of this exquisite loggia are open on
three sides to the weather, and many windows of the upper rooms (which
are decorated in the same style) are unshuttered and have broken panes,
so that this unique example of cinque-cento decoration is gradually
falling into ruin from mere exposure. The steps of the atrium, flanked
by marble Cupids on dolphins, lead to an oval paved court with a central
fountain in which the Cupid-motive is repeated. This court is enclosed
by a low wall with a seat running around it and surmounted by marble
vases of a beautiful tazza-like shape. Facing the loggia, the wall is
broken (as at the Villa di Papa Giulio) by a small pavilion resting on
an open arcade, with an attic adorned with stucco panels; while at the
sides, equidistant between the villa and the pavilion, are two vaulted
porticoes, with façades like arches of triumph, by means of which access
is obtained to curving ramps that lead to the lower level of the
gardens. These porticoes are also richly adorned with stucco panels, and
lined within with a mosaic-work of pebbles, forming niches for a row of

From the central pavilion one looks down on a tank at its base (the
pavilion being a story lower on its outer or garden side). This tank is
surmounted by a statue of Thetis on a rock-work throne, in a niche
formed in the basement of the pavilion. The tank encloses the pavilion
on three sides, like a moat, and the water, gushing from three niches,
overflows the low stone curb and drips on a paved walk slightly hollowed
to receive it—a device producing a wonderful effect of coolness and
superabundance of water.

The old gardens of the villa were on a level with the tank, and Falda’s
print shows the ingenuity of their planning. These gardens have now been
almost entirely destroyed, and the _bosco_ above the villa has been cut
down and replaced by bare grass-banks dotted with shrubs.

The Villa Pia has been thus minutely described, first, because it is
seldom accessible, and consequently little known; but chiefly because it
is virtually not a dwellinghouse, but a garden-house, and thus forms a
part of the actual composition of the garden. As such it stands alone in
Italian architecture, and Burckhardt, who notes how well its lavish
ornament is suited to a little pleasure-pavilion in a garden, is right
in describing it as the “most perfect retreat imaginable for a midsummer

The outer gardens of the Vatican, in a corner of which the Villa Pia
lies, were probably laid out by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, who
died in 1546; and though much disfigured, they still show traces of
their original plan. The sunny sheltered terrace, espaliered with
lemons, is a good example of the “walk for the cold season” for which
Italian garden-architects always provided; and the large sunken
flower-garden surrounded by hanging woods is one of the earliest
instances of this effective treatment of the _giardino segreto_. In
fact, the Vatican may have suggested many features of the later
Renaissance garden, with its wide-spread plan which gradually came to
include the park.


The seventeenth century saw the development of this extended plan, but
saw also the decline of the architectural restraint and purity of detail
which mark the generation of Vignola and Sangallo. The Villa Borghese,
built in 1618 by the Flemish architect Giovanni Vasanzia (John of
Xanten), shows a complete departure from the old tradition. Its
elevation may indeed be traced to the influence of the garden-front of
the Villa Medici, which was probably the prototype of the gay
pleasure-house in which ornamental detail superseded architectural
composition; but the garden-architecture of the Villa Borghese, and the
treatment of its extensive grounds, show the complete triumph of the

The grounds of the Villa Borghese, which include a park of several
hundred acres, were laid out by Domenico Savino and Girolamo Rainaldi,
while its waterworks are due to Giovanni Fontana, whose name is
associated with the great _jeux d’eaux_ of the villas at Frascati.
Falda’s plan shows that the grounds about the house have been little
changed. At each end of the villa is the oblong secret garden, not
sunken but walled; in front an entrance-court, at the back an open space
enclosed in a wall of clipped ilexes against which statues were set, and
containing a central fountain. Beyond the left-hand walled garden are
various dependencies, including an aviary. These little buildings,
boldly baroque in style, surcharged with stucco ornament, and not
without a certain Flemish heaviness of touch, have yet that gaiety, that
_imprévu_, which was becoming the distinguishing note of Roman
garden-architecture. On a larger scale they would be oppressive; but as
mere garden-houses, with their leafy background, and the picturesque
adjuncts of high walls, wrought-iron gates, vases and statues, they have
an undeniable charm.


The plan of the Borghese park has been the subject of much discussion.
Falda’s print shows only the vicinity of the villa, and it has never
been decided when the outlying grounds were laid out and how much they
have been modified. At present the park, with its romantic groves of
umbrella-pine, its ilex avenues, lake and amphitheatre, its sham ruins
and little buildings scattered on irregular grassy knolls, has the
appearance of a _jardin anglais_ laid out at the end of the eighteenth
century. Herr Tuckermann, persuaded that this park is the work of
Giovanni Fontana, sees in him the originator of the “sentimental”
English and German landscape-gardens, with their hermitages, mausoleums
and temples of Friendship; but Percier and Fontaine, from whose plan of
the park his inference is avowedly drawn, state that the grounds were
much modified in 1789 by Jacob Moore, an English landscape-gardener, and
by Pietro Camporesi of Rome. Herr Gurlitt, who seems to have overlooked
this statement, declares himself unable to pronounce on the date of this
“creation already touched with the feeling of sentimentality”; but
Burckhardt, who is always accurate, says that the hippodrome and the
temple of Æsculapius are of late date, and that the park was remodelled
in the style of Poussin’s landscapes in 1849.

About thirty years later than the Villa Borghese there arose its rival
among the great Roman country-seats, the Villa Belrespiro or Pamphily,
on the Janiculan. The Villa Pamphily, designed by Alessandro Algardi of
Bologna, is probably the best known and most admired of Roman _maisons
de plaisance_, and its incomparable ilex avenues and pine-woods, its
rolling meadows and wide views over the Campagna, have enchanted many to
whom its architectural beauties would not appeal.

The house, with its incrustations of antique bas-reliefs, cleverly
adapted in the style of the Villa Medici, but with far greater richness
and license of ornament, is a perfect example of the seventeenth-century
villa, or rather casino; for it was really intended, not for a
residence, but for a suburban lodge. It is flanked by lateral terraces,
and the garden-front is a story lower than the other, so that the
balcony of the first floor looks down on a great sunken garden, enclosed
in the retaining-walls of the terraces, and richly adorned with statues
in niches, fountains and _parterres de broderie_. Thence a double
stairway descends to what was once the central portion of the gardens, a
great amphitheatre bounded by ilex-woods, with a _théâtre d’eaux_ and
stately flights of steps leading up to terraced ilex-groves; but all
this lower garden was turned into an English park in the first half of
the nineteenth century. One of the finest of Roman gardens fell a
sacrifice to this senseless change; for in beauty of site, in grandeur
of scale, and in the wealth of its Roman sculpture, the Villa Pamphily
was unmatched. Even now it is full of interesting fragments; but the
juxtaposition of an undulating lawn and dotty shrubberies to the stately
garden-architecture about the villa has utterly destroyed the unity of
the composition.

There is a legend to the effect that Le Nôtre laid out the park of the
Villa Pamphily when he came to Rome in 1678; but Percier and Fontaine,
who declare that there is nothing to corroborate the story, point out
that the Villa Pamphily was begun over thirty years before Le Nôtre’s
visit. Absence of proof, however, means little to the average French
author, eager to vindicate Le Nôtre’s claim to being the father not only
of French, but of Italian landscape-architecture; and M. Riat, in “L’Art
des Jardins,” repeats the legend of the Villa Pamphily, while Dussieux,
in his “Artists Français à l’Etranger,” anxious to heap further honours
on his compatriot, actually ascribes to him the plan of the Villa
Albani, which was laid out by Pietro Nolli nearly two hundred years
after Le Nôtre’s visit to Rome! Apparently the whole story of Le Nôtre’s
laying out of Italian gardens is based on the fact that he remodelled
some details of the Villa Ludovisi; but one need only compare the dates
of his gardens with those of the principal Roman villas to see that he
was the pupil and not the master of the great Italian garden-architects.

[Illustration: VILLA CHIGI, ROME]

The last great country house built for a Roman cardinal is the villa
outside the Porta Salaria which Carlo Marchionne built in 1746 for
Cardinal Albani. In spite of its late date, the house still conforms to
the type of Roman _villa suburbana_ which originated with the Villa
Medici; and it is interesting to observe that the Roman architects,
having hit on so appropriate and original a style, did not fear to
continue it in spite of the growing tendency toward a lifeless

Cardinal Albani was a passionate collector of antique sculpture, and the
villa, having been built to display his treasures, is appropriately
planned with an open arcade between rusticated pilasters, which runs the
whole length of the façade on the ground floor, and is continued by a
long portico at each end. The grounds, laid out by Antonio Nolli, have
been much extolled. Burckhardt sees in them traces of the reaction of
French eighteenth-century gardening on the Italian school; but may it
not rather be that, the Villa Albani being, by a rare exception, built
on level ground, the site inevitably suggested a treatment similar to
the French? It is hard to find anything specifically French, any motive
which has not been seen again and again in Italy, in the plan of the
Albani gardens; and their most charming feature, the long ilex-walk
connecting the villa with the _bosco_, exemplifies the Italian habit of
providing shady access from the house to the wood. Dussieux, at any
rate, paid Le Nôtre no compliment in attributing to him the plan of the
Villa Albani; for the great French artist contrived to put more poetry
into the flat horizons of Vaux and Versailles than Nolli has won from
the famous view of the Campagna which is said to have governed the
planning of the Villa Albani.

The grounds are laid out in formal quincunxes of clipped ilex, but
before the house lies a vast sunken garden enclosed in terraces. The
farther end of the garden is terminated by a semicircular portico called
the _Caffè_, built later than the house, under the direction of
Winckelmann; and in this structure, and in the architecture of the
terraces, one sees the heavy touch of that neo-Grecianism which was to
crush the life out of eighteenth-century art. The gardens of the Villa
Albani seem to have been decorated by an archæologist rather than an
artist. It is interesting to note that antique sculpture, when boldly
combined with a living art, is one of the most valuable adjuncts of the
Italian garden; whereas, set in an artificial evocation of its own past,
it loses all its vitality and becomes as lifeless as its background.


One of the most charming of the smaller Roman villas lies outside the
Porta Salaria, a mile or two beyond the Villa Albani. This is the
country-seat of Prince Don Lodovico Chigi. In many respects it recalls
the Sienese type of villa. At the entrance, the highroad is enlarged
into a semicircle, backed by a wall with busts; and on the axis of the
iron gates one sees first a court flanked by box-gardens, then an open
archway running through the centre of the house, and beyond that, the
vista of a long walk enclosed in high box-hedges and terminating in
another semicircle with statues, backed by an ilex-planted mount. The
plan has all the compactness and charm of the Tuscan and Umbrian villas.
The level ground about the house is subdivided into eight square
box-hedged gardens, four on a side, enclosing symmetrical box-bordered
plots. Beyond these are two little groves with statues and benches. The
ground falls away in farm-land below this level, leaving only the long
central alley which appears to lead to other gardens, but which really
ends in the afore-mentioned semicircle, behind which is a similar alley,
running at right angles, and leading directly to the fields.

At the other end of Rome lies the only small Roman garden comparable in
charm with Prince Chigi’s. This is the Priorato, or Villa of the Knights
of Malta, near Santa Sabina, on the Aventine. Piranesi, in 1765,
remodelled and decorated the old chapel adjoining the house; and it is
said that he also laid out the garden. If he did so, it shows how late
the tradition of the Renaissance garden lingered in Italy; for there is
no trace of romantic influences in the Priorato. The grounds are small,
for the house stands on a steep ledge overlooking the Tiber, whence
there is a glorious view of St. Peter’s and the Janiculan. The designer
of the garden evidently felt that it must be a mere setting to this
view; and accordingly he laid out a straight walk, walled with box and
laurel and running from the gate to the terrace above the river. The
prospect framed in this green tunnel is one of the sights of Rome; and,
by a touch peculiarly Italian, the keyhole of the gate has been so
placed as to take it in. To the left of the pleached walk lies a small
flower-garden, planted with square-cut box-trees, and enclosed in a high
wall with niches containing statues: a real “secret garden,” full of
sunny cloistered stillness, in restful contrast to the wide prospect
below the terrace.

The grounds behind the Palazzo Colonna belong to another type, and are
an interesting example of the treatment of a city garden, especially
valuable now that so many of the great gardens within the walls of Rome
have been destroyed.

The Colonna palace stands at the foot of the Quirinal Hill, and the
gardens are built on the steep slope behind it, being entered by a
stately gateway from the Via Quirinale. On this upper level there is a
charming rectangular box-garden, with flower-plots about a central
basin. Thence one descends to two narrow terraces, one beneath the
other, planted with box and ilex, and adorned with ancient marbles. Down
the centre, starting from the upper garden, there is an elaborate
_château d’eau_ of baroque design, with mossy urns and sea-gods,
terminating in a basin fringed with ferns; and beneath this central
composition the garden ends in a third wide terrace, planted with
square-clipped ilexes, which look from above like a level floor of
verdure. Graceful stone bridges connect this lowest terrace with the
first-floor windows of the palace, which is divided from its garden by a
narrow street; and the whole plan is an interesting example of the
beauty and variety of effect which may be produced on a small steep
piece of ground.

Of the other numerous gardens which once crowned the hills of Rome, but
few fragments remain. The Villa Celimontana, or Mattei, on the Cælian,
still exists, but its grounds have been so Anglicized that it is
interesting chiefly from its site and from its associations with St.
Philip Neri, whose seat beneath the giant ilexes is still preserved. The
magnificent Villa Ludovisi has vanished, leaving only, amid a network of
new streets, the Casino of the Aurora and a few beautiful fragments of
architecture incorporated in the courtyard of the ugly Palazzo
Margherita; and the equally famous Villa Negroni was swept away to make
room for the Piazza delle Terme and the Grand Hôtel. The Villa
Sacchetti, on the slope of Monte Mario, is in ruins; in ruins the old
hunting-lodge of Cecchignola, in the Campagna, on the way to the Divino
Amore. These and many others are gone or going; but at every turn the
watchful eye still lights on some lingering fragment of old
garden-art—some pillared gateway or fluted _vasca_ or broken statue
cowering in its niche—all testifying to what Rome’s crown of gardens
must have been, and still full of suggestion to the student of her past.


                            VILLAS NEAR ROME

[Illustration: VILLA D’ESTE, TIVOLI]


                            VILLAS NEAR ROME


                          CAPRAROLA AND LANTE

The great cardinals did not all build their villas within sight of St.
Peter’s. One of them, Alexander Farnese, chose a site above the mountain
village of Caprarola, which looks forth over the Etrurian plain strewn
with its ancient cities—Nepi, Orte and Cività Castellana—to Soracte,
rising solitary in the middle distance, and the encircling line of
snow-touched Apennines.

There is nothing in all Italy like Caprarola. Burckhardt calls it
“perhaps the highest example of restrained majesty which secular
architecture has achieved”; and Herr Gurlitt makes the interesting
suggestion that Vignola, in building it, broke away from the traditional
palace-architecture of Italy and sought his inspiration in France.
“Caprarola,” he says, “shows the northern castle in the most modern form
it had then attained.... We have to do here with one of the fortified
residences rarely seen save in the north, but doubtless necessary in a
neighbourhood exposed to the ever-increasing dangers of brigandage.
Italy, indeed, built castles and fortified works, but the
fortress-palace, equally adapted to peace and war, was almost unknown.”

The numerous illustrated publications on Caprarola make it unnecessary
to describe its complex architecture in detail. It is sufficient to say
that its five bastions are surrounded by a deep moat, across which a
light bridge at the back of the palace leads to the lower garden. To
pass from the threatening façade to the wide-spread beauty of pleached
walks, fountains and grottoes, brings vividly before one the curious
contrasts of Italian country life in the transition period of the
sixteenth century. Outside, one pictures the cardinal’s soldiers and
_bravi_ lounging on the great platform above the village; while within,
one has a vision of noble ladies and their cavaliers sitting under
rose-arbours or strolling between espaliered lemon-trees, discussing a
Greek manuscript or a Roman bronze, or listening to the last sonnet of
the cardinal’s court poet.

The lower garden of Caprarola is a mere wreck of overgrown box-parterres
and crumbling wall and balustrade. Plaster statues in all stages of
decay stand in the niches or cumber the paths; fruit-trees have been
planted in the flower-beds, and the maidenhair withers in grottoes where
the water no longer flows. The architectural detail of the fountains and
arches is sumptuous and beautiful, but the outline of the general plan
is not easy to trace; and one must pass out of this enclosure and climb
through hanging oak-woods to a higher level to gain an idea of what the
gardens once were.

[Illustration: VILLA CAPRAROLA]

Beyond the woods a broad _tapis vert_ leads to a level space with a
circular fountain sunk in turf. Partly surrounding this is an
architectural composition of rusticated arcades, between which a
_château d’eau_ descends the hillside from a grotto surmounted by two
mighty river-gods, and forming the central motive of a majestic double
stairway of rusticated stonework. This leads up to the highest terrace,
which is crowned by Vignola’s exquisite casino, surely the most
beautiful garden-house in Italy. The motive of the arcades and stairway,
though fine in itself, may be criticized as too massive and important to
be in keeping with the delicate little building above; but once on the
upper terrace, the lack of proportion is no longer seen and all the
surroundings are harmonious. The composition is simple: around the
casino, with its light arcades raised on a broad flight of steps,
stretches a level box-garden with fountains, enclosed in a low wall
surmounted by the famous Canephoræ seen in every picture of
Caprarola—huge sylvan figures half emerging from their stone sheaths,
some fierce or solemn, some full of rustic laughter. The audacity of
placing that row of fantastic terminal divinities against reaches of
illimitable air girdled in mountains gives an indescribable touch of
poetry to the upper garden of Caprarola. There is a quality of
inevitableness about it—one feels of it, as of certain great verse, that
it could not have been otherwise, that, in Vasari’s happy phrase, it was
_born, not built_.

Not more than twelve miles from Caprarola lies the other famous villa
attributed to Vignola, and which one wishes he may indeed have built, if
only to show how a great artist can vary his resources in adapting
himself to a new theme. The Villa Lante, at Bagnaia, near Viterbo,
appears to have been the work not of one cardinal, but of four. Raphael
Riario, Cardinal Bishop of Viterbo, began it toward the end of the
fifteenth century, and the work, carried on by his successors in the
see, Cardinals Ridolfi and Gambara, was finally completed in 1588 by
Cardinal Montalto, nephew of Sixtus V, who bought the estate from the
bishops of Viterbo and bequeathed it to the Holy See. Percier and
Fontaine believe that several architects collaborated in the work, but
its unity of composition shows that the general scheme must have
originated in one mind, and Herr Gurlitt thinks there is nothing to
disprove that Vignola was its author.


Lante, like Caprarola, has been exhaustively sketched and photographed,
but so perfect is it, so far does it surpass, in beauty, in
preservation, and in the quality of garden-magic, all the other great
pleasure-houses of Italy, that the student of garden-craft may always
find fresh inspiration in its study. If Caprarola is “a garden to look
out from,” Lante is one “to look into,” not in the sense that it is
enclosed, for its terraces command a wide horizon; but the pleasant
landscape surrounding it is merely accessory to the gardens, a last
touch of loveliness where all is lovely.

The designer of Lante understood this, and perceived that, the
surroundings being unobtrusive, he might elaborate the foreground. The
flower-garden occupies a level space in front of the twin pavilions; for
instead of one villa there are two at Lante, absolutely identical, and
connected by a _rampe douce_ which ascends between them to an upper
terrace. This peculiar arrangement is probably due to the fact that
Cardinal Montalto, who built the second pavilion, found there was no
other way of providing more house-room without disturbing the plan of
the grounds. The design of the flower-garden is intricate and beautiful,
and its box-bordered parterres surround one of the most famous and
beautiful fountains in Italy. The abundance of water at Lante enabled
the designer to produce a great variety of effects in what Germans call
the “water-art,” and nowhere was his invention happier than in planning
this central fountain. It stands in a square tank or basin, surrounded
by a balustrade, and crossed by four little bridges which lead to a
circular balustraded walk, enclosing an inner basin from the centre of
which rises the fountain. Bridges also cross from the circular walk to
the platform on which the fountain is built, so that one may stand under
the arch of the water-jets, and look across the garden through a mist of

Lante, doubly happy in its site, is as rich in shade as in water, and
the second terrace, behind the pavilions, is planted with ancient
plane-trees. Above this terrace rise three others, all wooded with plane
and ilex, and down the centre, from the woods above, rushes the cascade
which feeds the basin in the flower-garden. The terraces, with their
balustrades and obelisks and double flights of steps, form a stately
setting to this central _château d’eau_, through which the water gushes
by mossy steps and channels to a splendid central composition of
superimposed basins flanked by recumbent river-gods.

All the garden-architecture at Lante merits special study. The twin
pavilions seem plain and insignificant after the brilliant elevations of
the great Roman villas, but regarded as part of the garden-scheme, and
not as dominating it, they fall into their proper place, and are seen to
be good examples of the severe but pure style of the early cinque-cento.
Specially interesting also is the treatment of the retaining-wall which
faces the entrance to the grounds; and the great gates of the
flower-gardens, and the fountains and garden-houses on the upper
terraces, are all happy instances of Renaissance garden-art untouched by

[Illustration: VILLA LANTE, BAGNAIA]

At Lante, also, one sees one of the earliest examples of the inclusion
of the woodland in the garden-scheme. All the sixteenth-century villas
had small groves adjacent to the house, and the shade of the natural
woodland was used, if possible, as a backing to the gardens; but at the
Villa Lante it is boldly worked into the general scheme, the terraces
and garden-architecture are skilfully blent with it, and its recesses
are pierced by grass alleys leading to clearings where pools surrounded
by stone seats slumber under the spreading branches.

The harmonizing of wood and garden is one of the characteristic features
of the villas at Frascati; but as these are mostly later in date than
the Lante grounds, priority of invention may be claimed for the designer
of the latter. It was undoubtedly from the Italian park of the
Renaissance that Le Nôtre learned the use of the woodland as an adjunct
to the garden; but in France these parks had for the most part to be
planted, whereas in Italy the garden-architect could use the natural
woodland, which was usually hilly, and the effects thus produced were
far more varied and interesting than those possible in the flat
artificial parks of France.


                              VILLA D’ESTE

Of the three great villas built by cardinals beyond the immediate
outskirts of Rome, the third and the most famous is the Villa d’Este at

Begun before 1540 by the Cardinal Bishop of Cordova, the villa became
the property of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, son of Alfonso I of Ferrara,
who carried on its embellishment at the cost of over a million Roman
scudi. Thence it passed successively to two other cardinals of the house
of Este, who continued its adornment, and finally, in the seventeenth
century, was inherited by the ducal house of Modena.

The villa, an unfinished barrack-like building, stands on a piazza at
one end of the town of Tivoli, above gardens which descend the steep
hillside to the gorge of the Anio. These gardens have excited so much
admiration that little thought has been given to the house, though it is
sufficiently interesting to merit attention. It is said to have been
built by Pirro Ligorio, and surprising as it seems that this huge
featureless pile should have been designed by the creator of the Casino
del Papa, yet one observes that the rooms are decorated with the same
fantastic pebble-work used in such profusion at the Villa Pia. In
extenuation of the ugliness of the Villa d’Este it should, moreover, be
remembered that its long façade is incomplete, save for the splendid
central portico; and also that, while the Villa Pia was intended as
shelter for a summer afternoon, the great palace at Tivoli was planned
to house a cardinal and his guests, including, it is said, “a suite of
two hundred and fifty gentlemen of the noblest blood of Italy.” When one
pictures such a throng, with their innumerable retainers, it is easy to
understand why the Villa d’Este had to be expanded out of all likeness
to an ordinary country house.


The plan is ingenious and interesting. From the village square only a
high blank wall is visible. Through a door in this wall one passes into
a frescoed corridor which leads to a court enclosed in an open arcade,
with fountains in rusticated niches. From a corner of the court a fine
intramural stairway descends to what is, on the garden side, the _piano
nobile_ of the villa. On this side, looking over the gardens, is a long
enfilade of rooms, gaily frescoed by the Zuccheri and their school; and
behind the rooms runs a vaulted corridor built against the side of the
hill, and lighted by bull’s-eyes in its roof. This corridor has lost its
frescoes, but preserves a line of niches decorated in coloured pebbles
and stucco-work, with gaily painted stucco caryatids supporting the
arches; and as each niche contains a semicircular fountain, the whole
length of the corridor must once have rippled with running water.

The central room opens on the great two-storied portico or loggia,
whence one descends by an outer stairway to a terrace running the length
of the building, and terminated at one end by an ornamental wall, at the
other by an open loggia overlooking the Campagna. From this upper
terrace, with its dense wall of box and laurel, one looks down on the
towering cypresses and ilexes of the lower gardens. The grounds are not
large, but the impression produced is full of a tragic grandeur. The
villa towers above so high and bare, the descent from terrace to terrace
is so long and steep, there are such depths of mystery in the infinite
green distances and in the cypress-shaded pools of the lower garden,
that one has a sense of awe rather than of pleasure in descending from
one level to another of darkly rustling green. But it is the omnipresent
rush of water which gives the Este gardens their peculiar character.
From the Anio, drawn up the hillside at incalculable cost and labour, a
thousand rills gush downward, terrace by terrace, channelling the stone
rails of the balusters, leaping from step to step, dripping into mossy
conchs, flashing in spray from the horns of sea-gods and the jaws of
mythical monsters, or forcing themselves in irrepressible overflow down
the ivy-matted banks. The whole length of the second terrace is edged by
a deep stone channel, into which the stream drips by countless outlets
over a quivering fringe of maidenhair. Every side path or flight of
steps is accompanied by its sparkling rill, every niche in the
retaining-walls has its water-pouring nymph or gushing urn; the solemn
depths of green reverberate with the tumult of innumerable streams. “The
Anio,” as Herr Tuckermann says, “throbs through the whole organism of
the garden like its inmost vital principle.”

[Illustration: VILLA LANTE, BAGNAIA]

The gardens of the Villa d’Este were probably begun by Pirro Ligorio,
and, as Herr Gurlitt thinks, continued later by Giacomo della Porta. It
will doubtless never be known how much Ligorio owed to the taste of
Orazio Olivieri, the famous hydraulic engineer, who raised the Anio to
the hilltop and organized its distribution through the grounds. But it
is apparent that the whole composition was planned about the central
fact of the rushing Anio: that the gardens were to be, as it were, an
organ on which the water played. The result is extraordinarily romantic
and beautiful, and the versatility with which the stream is used, the
varying effects won from it, bear witness to the imaginative feeling of
the designer.

When all has been said in praise of the poetry and charm of the Este
gardens, it must be owned that from the architect’s standpoint they are
less satisfying than those of the other great cinque-cento villas. The
plan is worthy of all praise, but the details are too complicated, and
the ornament is either trivial or cumbrous. So inferior is the
architecture to that of the Lante gardens and Caprarola that Burckhardt
was probably right in attributing much of it to the seventeenth century.
Here for the first time one feels the heavy touch of the baroque. The
fantastic mosaic and stucco temple containing the water-organ above the
great cascade, the arches of triumph, the celebrated “grotto of
Arethusa,” the often-sketched fountain on the second terrace, all seem
pitiably tawdry when compared with the garden-architecture of Raphael or
Vignola. Some of the details of the composition are absolutely
puerile—such as the toy model of an ancient city, thought to be old
Rome, and perhaps suggested by the miniature “Valley of Canopus” in the
neighbouring Villa of Hadrian; and there are endless complications of
detail, where the earlier masters would have felt the need of breadth
and simplicity. Above all, there is a want of harmony between the
landscape and its treatment. The baroque garden-architecture of Italy is
not without charm, and even a touch of the grotesque has its attraction
in the flat gardens of Lombardy or the sunny Euganeans; but the
cypress-groves of the Villa d’Este are too solemn, and the Roman
landscape is too august, to suffer the nearness of the trivial.



The most famous group of villas in the Roman country-side lies on the
hill above Frascati. Here, in the middle of the sixteenth century,
Flaminio Ponzio built the palace of Mondragone for Cardinal Scipione
Borghese.[4] Aloft among hanging ilex-woods rises the mighty pile on its
projecting basement. This fortress-like ground floor, with high-placed
grated windows, is common to all the earlier villas on the
brigand-haunted slopes of Frascati. An avenue of ancient ilexes (now
cruelly cut down) leads up through the park to the villa, which is
preceded by a great walled courtyard, with fountains in the usual
rusticated niches. To the right of this court is another, flanked by the
splendid loggia of Vignola, with the Borghese eagles and dragons
alternating in its sculptured spandrels, and a vaulted ceiling adorned
with _stucchi_—one of the most splendid pieces of garden-architecture in

Footnote 4:

  The villa was begun by Martino Lunghi the Elder, in 1567, for the
  Cardinal Marco d’Altemps, enlarged by Pope Gregory VII, and completed
  by Paul V and his nephew, Cardinal Scipione Borghese. See Gustav Ebe,
  “Die Spätrenaissance.”


At the other end of this inner court, which was formerly a
flower-garden, Giovanni Fontana, whose name is identified with the
fountains of Frascati, constructed a _théâtre d’eau_, raised above the
court, and approached by a double ramp elaborately inlaid in mosaic.
This ornate composition, with a series of mosaic niches simulating
arcaded galleries in perspective, is now in ruins, and the most
impressive thing about Mondragone is the naked majesty of its great
terrace, unadorned save by a central fountain and two tall twisted
columns, and looking out over the wooded slopes of the park to Frascati,
the Campagna, and the sea.

On a neighbouring height lies the more famous Villa Aldobrandini, built
for the cardinal of that name by Giacomo della Porta in 1598, and said
by Evelyn, who saw it fifty years later, “to surpass the most delicious
places ... for its situation, elegance, plentiful water, groves, ascents
and prospects.”

The house itself does not bear comparison with such buildings as the
Villa Medici or the Villa Pamphily. In style it shows the first stage of
the baroque, before that school had found its formula. Like all the
hill-built villas of Frascati, it is a story lower at the back than in
front; and the roof of this lower story forms at each end a terrace
level with the first-floor windows. These terraces are adorned with two
curious turrets, resting on baroque basements and crowned by
swallow-tailed crenellations—a fantastic reversion to mediævalism, more
suggestive of “Strawberry Hill Gothic” than of the Italian seventeenth

Orazio Olivieri and Giovanni Fontana are said to have collaborated with
Giacomo della Porta in designing the princely gardens of the villa.
Below the house a series of splendid stone terraces lead to a long
_tapis vert_, with an ilex avenue down its centre, which descends to the
much-admired grille of stone and wrought-iron enclosing the grounds at
the foot of the hill. Behind the villa, in a semicircle cut out of the
hillside, is Fontana’s famous water-theatre, of which Evelyn gives a
picturesque description: “Just behind the Palace ... rises a high hill
or mountain all overclad with tall wood, and so formed by nature as if
it had been cut out by art, from the summit of which falls a cascade ...
precipitating into a large theatre of water. Under this is an artificial
grot wherein are curious rocks, hydraulic organs, and all sorts of
singing birds, moving and chirping by force of the water, with several
other pageants and surprising inventions. In the centre of one of these
rooms rises a copper ball that continually dances about three feet above
the pavement, by virtue of a wind conveyed secretly to a hole beneath
it; with many other devices for wetting the unwary spectators.... In one
of these theatres of water is an Atlas spouting, ... and another monster
makes a terrible roaring with a horn; but, above all, the representation
of a storm is most natural, with such fury of rain, wind and thunder as
one would imagine oneself in some extreme tempest.”


Atlas and the monster are silent, and the tempest has ceased to roar;
but the architecture of the great water-theatre remains intact. It has
been much extolled by so good a critic as Herr Gurlitt, yet compared
with Vignola’s loggia at Mondragone or the terrace of the Orti
Farnesiani, it is a heavy and uninspired production. It suffers also
from too great proximity to the villa, and from being out of scale with
the latter’s modest elevation: there is a distinct lack of harmony
between the two façades. But even Evelyn could not say too much in
praise of the glorious descent of the cascade from the hilltop. It was
in the guidance of rushing water that the Roman garden-architects of the
seventeenth century showed their poetic feeling and endless versatility;
and the architecture of the upper garden at the Aldobrandini merits all
the admiration which has been wasted on its pompous theatre.

Another example of a _théâtre d’eau_, less showy but far more beautiful,
is to be seen at the neighbouring Villa Conti (now Torlonia). Of the
formal gardens of this villa there remain only the vast terraced
stairways which now lead to an ilex-grove level with the first story of
the villa. This grove is intersected by mossy alleys, leading to
circular clearings where fountains overflow their wide stone basins, and
benches are ranged about in the deep shade. The central alley, on the
axis of the villa, leads through the wood to a great grassy semicircle
at the foot of an ilex-clad hill. The base of the hillside is faced with
a long arcade of twenty niches, divided by pilasters, and each
containing a fountain. In the centre is a great baroque pile of
rock-work, from which the spray tosses into a semicircular basin, which
also receives the cascade descending from the hilltop. This cascade is
the most beautiful example of fountain-architecture in Frascati. It
falls by a series of inclined stone ledges into four oval basins, each a
little wider than the one above it. On each side, stone steps which
follow the curves of the basins lead to a grassy plateau above, with a
balustraded terrace overhanging the rush of the cascade. The upper
plateau is enclosed in ilexes, and in its centre is one of the most
beautiful fountains in Italy—a large basin surrounded by a richly
sculptured balustrade. The plan of this fountain is an interesting
example of the variety which the Italian garden-architects gave to the
outline of their basins. Even in the smaller gardens the plan of these
basins is varied with taste and originality; and the small
wall-fountains are also worthy of careful study.


Among the villas of Frascati there are two, less famous than the
foregoing, but even more full of a romantic charm. One is the Villa
Muti, a mile or two beyond the town, on the way to Grotta Ferrata. From
the gate three ancient ilex avenues lead to the villa, the central one
being on the axis of the lowest garden. The ground rises gradually
toward the house, and the space between the ilex avenues was probably
once planted in formal _boschi_, as fragments of statuary are still seen
among the trees. The house, set against the hillside, with the usual
fortress-like basement, is two stories lower toward the _basse-cour_
than toward the gardens. The avenue to the left of the entrance leads to
a small garden, probably once a court, in front of the villa, whence one
looks down over a mighty retaining-wall at the _basse-cour_ on the left.
On the right, divided from the court by a low wall surmounted by vases,
lies the most beautiful box-garden in Italy, laid out in an elaborate
geometrical design, and enclosed on three sides by high clipped walls of
box and laurel, and on the fourth by a retaining-wall which sustains an
upper garden. Nothing can surpass the hushed and tranquil beauty of the
scene. There are no flowers or bright colours—only the contrasted tints
of box and ilex and laurel, and the vivid green of the moss spreading
over damp paths and ancient stonework.

In the upper garden, which is of the same length but narrower, the
box-parterres are repeated. This garden, at the end nearest the villa,
has a narrow raised terrace, with an elaborate architectural
retaining-wall, containing a central fountain in stucco-work. Steps
flanked by statues lead up to this fountain, and thence one passes by
another flight of steps to the third, or upper, garden, which is level
with the back of the villa. This third garden, the largest of the three,
was once also laid out in formal parterres and _bosquets_ set with
statues, and though it has now been remodelled in the landscape style,
its old plan may still be traced. Before it was destroyed the three
terraces of the Villa Muti must have formed the most enchanting garden
in Frascati, and their plan and architectural details are worthy of
careful study, for they belong to the rare class of small Italian
gardens where grandeur was less sought for than charm and sylvan
seclusion, and where the Latin passion for the monumental was
subordinated to a desire for moderation and simplicity.


The Villa Falconieri, on the hillside below Mondragone, is remarkable
for the wealth of its garden-architecture. The grounds are entered by
two splendid stone gateways, the upper one being on an axis with the
villa. A grass avenue leads from this gate to an arch of triumph, a
rusticated elevation with niches and statues, surmounted by the
inscription “Horatius Falconieris,” and giving access to the inner
grounds. Hence a straight avenue runs between formal ilex-groves to the
court before the house. On the right, above the _bosco_, is a lofty wall
of rock, picturesquely overgrown by shrubs and creepers, with busts and
other fragments of antique sculpture set here and there on its
projecting ledges. This natural cliff sustains an upper plateau, where
there is an oblong artificial water (called “the lake”) enclosed in
rock-work and surrounded by a grove of mighty cypresses. From this shady
solitude the wooded slopes of the lower park are reached by a double
staircase so simple and majestic in design that it harmonizes perfectly
with the sylvan wildness which characterizes the landscape. This
staircase should be studied as an example of the way in which the
Italian garden-architects could lay aside exuberance and whimsicality
when their work was intended to blend with some broad or solemn effect
of nature.

The grounds of the Villa Falconieri were laid out by Cardinal Ruffini in
the first half of the sixteenth century, but the villa was not built
till 1648. It is one of the most charming creations of Borromini, that
brilliant artist in whom baroque architecture found its happiest
expression; and the Villa Falconieri makes one regret that he did not
oftener exercise his fancy in the construction of such pleasure-houses.
The elevation follows the tradition of the Roman _villa suburbana_. The
centre of the ground floor is an arcaded loggia, the roof of which forms
a terrace to the recessed story above; while the central motive of this
first story is another semicircular recess, adorned with stucco ornament
and surmounted by a broken pediment. The attic story is set still
farther back, so that its balustraded roof-line forms a background for
the richly decorated façade, and the building, though large, thus
preserves the airy look and lightness of proportion which had come to be
regarded as suited to the suburban pleasure-house.

To the right of the villa, the composition is prolonged by a gateway
with coupled columns surmounted by stone dogs, and leading from the
forecourt to the adjoining _basse-cour_. About the latter are grouped a
number of low farm-buildings, to which a touch of the baroque gives
picturesqueness. In the charm of its elevation, and in the happy
juxtaposition of garden-walls and outbuildings, the Villa Falconieri
forms the most harmonious and successful example of garden-architecture
in Frascati.


The elevation which most resembles it is that of the Villa Lancellotti.
Here the house, which is probably nearly a century earlier, shows the
same happy use of the open loggia, which in this case forms the central
feature of the first story, above a stately pedimented doorway. The
loggia is surmounted by a kind of square-headed gable crowned by a
balustrade with statues, and the façade on each side of this central
composition is almost Tuscan in its severity. Before the house lies a
beautiful box-garden of intricate design, enclosed in high walls of
ilex, with the inevitable _théâtre d’eau_ at its farther end. This is a
semicircular composition, with statues in niches between rusticated
pilasters, and a central grotto whence a fountain pours into a wide
balustraded basin; the whole being surmounted by another balustrade,
with a statue set on each pier. It is harmonious and dignified in
design, but unfortunately a fresh coating of brown and yellow paint has
destroyed that exquisite _patina_ by means of which the climate of Italy
effects the gradual blending of nature and architecture.

                             GENOESE VILLAS

[Illustration: VILLA SCASSI, GENOA]


                             GENOESE VILLAS

Genoa, one of the most splendour-loving cities in Italy, had almost
always to import her splendour. In reading Soprani’s “Lives of the
Genoese Painters, Sculptors and Architects,” one is struck by the fact
that, with few exceptions, these worthies were Genoese only in the sense
of having placed their talents at the service of the merchant princes
who reared the marble city above its glorious harbour.

The strength of the race lay in other directions; but, as is often the
case with what may be called people of secondary artistic instincts, the
Genoese pined for the beauty they could not create, and in the sixteenth
century they called artists from all parts of Italy to embody their
conceptions of magnificence. Two of the most famous of these, Fra
Montorsoli and Pierin del Vaga, came from Florence, Galeazzo Alessi from
Perugia, Giovanni Battista Castello from Bergamo; and it is to the
genius of these four men, sculptor, painter, architect, and _stuccatore_
(and each more or less versed in the crafts of the others), that Genoa
owes the greater part of her magnificence.

Fra Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, the Florentine, must here be named
first, since his chief work, the Palazzo Andrea Doria, built in 1529, is
the earliest of the great Genoese villas. It is also the most familiar
to modern travelers, for the other beautiful country houses which
formerly crowned the heights above Genoa, from Pegli to Nervi, have now
been buried in the growth of manufacturing suburbs, so that only the
diligent seeker after villa-architecture will be likely to come upon
their ruined gardens and peeling stucco façades among the factory
chimneys of Sampierdarena or the squalid tenements of San Fruttuoso.

The great Andrea Doria, “Admiral of the Navies of the Pope, the Emperor,
the King of France and the Republic of Genoa,” in 1521 bought the villas
Lomellini and Giustiniani, on the western shore of the port of Genoa,
and throwing the two estates together, created a villa wherein “to enjoy
in peace the fruits of an honoured life”—so runs the inscription on the
outer wall of the house.

Fra Montorsoli was first and foremost a sculptor, a pupil of
Michelangelo’s, a plastic artist to whom architecture was probably of
secondary interest. Partly perhaps for this reason, and also because the
Villa Doria was in great measure designed to show the frescoes of Pierin
del Vaga, there is little elaboration in its treatment. Yet the
continuous open loggia on the ground floor, and the projecting side
colonnades enclosing the upper garden, give an airy elegance to the
water-front, and make it, in combination with its mural paintings and
stucco-ornamentation, and the sculpture of the gardens, one of the most
villa-like of Italian villas. The gardens themselves descend in terraces
to the shore, and contain several imposing marble fountains, among them
one with a statue of Neptune, executed in 1600 by the Carloni, and
supposed to be a portrait of the great Admiral.

The house stands against a steep terraced hillside, formerly a part of
the grounds, but now unfortunately divided from them by the railway
cutting. A wide _tapis vert_ still ascends the hill to a colossal
Jupiter (under which the Admiral’s favourite dog is said to be buried);
and when the villa is seen from the harbour one understands how
necessary this stately terraced background was to the setting of the
low-lying building. Beautiful indeed must have been the surroundings of
the villa when Evelyn visited it in 1644, and described the marble
terraces above the sea, the aviary “wherein grew trees of more than two
feet in diameter, besides cypress, myrtles, lentiscuses and other rare
shrubs,” and “the other two gardens full of orange-trees, citrons and
pomegranates, fountains, grots and statues.” All but the statues have
now disappeared, yet much of the old garden-magic lingers in the narrow
strip between house and sea. It is the glory of the Italian
garden-architects that neglect and disintegration cannot wholly mar the
effects they were skilled in creating: effects due to such a fine sense
of proportion, to so exquisite a perception of the relation between
architecture and landscape, between verdure and marble, that while a
trace of their plan remains one feels the spell of the whole.

When Rubens came to Genoa in 1607 he was so impressed by the
magnificence of its great street of palaces—the lately built Strada
Nuova—that he recorded his admiration in a series of etchings, published
in Antwerp in 1622 under the title “Palazzi di Genova,” a priceless
document for the student of Renaissance architecture in Italy, since the
Flemish master did not content himself with mere impressionist sketches,
like Canaletto’s fanciful Venetian etchings, but made careful
architectural drawings and bird’s-eye views of all the principal Genoese
palaces. As many of these buildings have since been altered, Rubens’s
volume has the additional value of preserving a number of interesting
details which might never have been recovered by subsequent study.

The Strada Nuova of Genoa, planned by Galeazzo Alessi between 1550 and
1560, is the earliest example in Europe of a street laid out by an
architect with deliberate artistic intent, and designed to display the
palaces with which he subsequently lined it. Hitherto, streets had
formed themselves on the natural lines of traffic, and individual houses
had sprung up along them without much regard to the site or style of
their nearest neighbors. The Strada Nuova, on the contrary, was planned
and carried out homogeneously, and was thus the progenitor of all the
great street plans of modern Europe—of the Place Royale and the Place
Vendôme in Paris, the great Place at Nancy, the grouping of Palladian
palaces about the Basilica of Vicenza, and all subsequent attempts to
create an organic whole out of a number of adjacent buildings. Even
Lenfant’s plan of Washington may be said to owe its first impulse to the
Perugian architect’s conception of a street of palaces.

When Alessi projected this great work he had open ground to build on,
though, as Evelyn remarked, the rich Genoese merchants had, like the
Hollanders, “little or no extent of ground to employ their estates in.”
Still, there was space enough to permit of spreading porticoes and
forecourts, and to one of the houses in the Strada Nuova Alessi gave the
ample development and airy proportions of a true _villa suburbana_. This
is the Palazzo Parodi, which, like the vanished Sauli palace, shows,
instead of the block plan of the city dwelling, a central _corps de
bâtiment_ with pavilions crowned by open loggias, and a rusticated
screen dividing the court from the street. It is curious that, save in
the case of the beautiful Villa Sauli (now completely rebuilt), Alessi
did not repeat this appropriate design in the country houses with which
he adorned the suburbs of Genoa—those “ravishing retirements of the
Genoese nobility” which prolonged the splendour of the city for miles
along the coast. Of his remaining villas, all are built on the block
plan, or with but slight projections, and rich though they are in
detail, and stately in general composition, they lack that touch of
fantasy which the Roman villa-architects knew how to impart.

Before pronouncing this a defect, however, one must consider the
different conditions under which Alessi and his fellow-architects in
Genoa had to work. Annibale Lippi, Pirro Ligorio, Giacomo della Porta
and Carlo Borromini reared their graceful loggias and stretched their
airy colonnades against masses of luxuriant foliage and above a
far-spreading landscape,

                 To the sea’s edge for gloss and gloom,

while Alessi and Montorsoli had to place their country houses on narrow
ledges of waterless rock, with a thin coating of soil parched by the
wind, and an outlook over the serried roofs and crowded shipping of a
commercial city. The Genoese gardens are mere pockets of earth in coigns
of masonry, where a few olives and bay-trees fight the sun-glare and
sea-wind of a harsh winter and a burning summer. The beauty of the
prospect consists in the noble outline of the harbour, enclosed in
exquisitely modelled but leafless hills, and in the great blue stretch
of sea on which, now and then, the mountains of Corsica float for a
moment. It will be seen that, amid such surroundings, the architectural
quality must predominate over the picturesque or naturalistic. Not only
the natural restrictions of site and soil, but the severity of the
landscape and the nearness of a great city, made it necessary that the
Genoese villa-architects should produce their principal effects by means
of masonry and sculpture, rather than of water and verdure. The somewhat
heavy silhouette of the Genoese country houses is thus perhaps partly
explained; for where the garden had to be a stone monument, it would
have been illogical to make the house less massive.

The most famous of Alessi’s villas lies in the once fashionable suburb
of Sampierdarena, to the west of Genoa. Here, along the shore, were
clustered the most beautiful pleasure-houses of the merchant princes.
The greater number have now been turned into tenements for
factory-workers, or into actual factories, while the beautiful gardens
descending to the sea have been cut in half by the railway and planted
with cabbages and mulberries. Amid this labyrinth of grimy walls,
crumbling loggias and waste ground heaped with melancholy refuse, it is
not easy to find one’s way to the Villa Imperiali (now Scassi), the
masterpiece of Alessi, which stands as a solitary witness to the former
“ravishments” of Sampierdarena. By a happy chance this villa has become
the property of the municipality, which has turned the house into a
girls’ school, while the grounds are used as a public garden; and so
well have house and grounds been preserved that the student of
architecture may here obtain a good idea of the magnificence with which
the Genoese nobles surrounded even their few weeks of _villeggiatura_.
To match such magnificence, one must look to one of the great villas of
the Roman cardinals; and, with the exception of the Villa Doria Pamphily
(which is smaller) and of the Villa Albani, it would be difficult to
cite an elevation where palatial size is combined with such lavish
richness of ornament.

Alessi was once thought to have studied in Rome under Michelangelo; but
Herr Gurlitt shows that the latter was absent from Rome from 1516 to
1535—that is, precisely during what must have been the formative period
of Alessi’s talent. The Perugian architect certainly shows little trace
of Michelangelesque influences, but seems to derive rather from the
school of his own great contemporary, Palladio.

The Villa Scassi, with its Tuscan order below and fluted Corinthian
pilasters above, its richly carved frieze and cornice, and its beautiful
roof-balustrade, is perhaps more familiar to students than any other
example of Genoese suburban architecture. Almost alone among Genoese
villas, it stands at the foot of a hill, with gardens rising behind it
instead of descending below it to the sea. Herr Gurlitt thinks these
grounds are among the earliest in Italy in which the narrow mediæval
_hortus inclusus_ was blent with the wider lines of the landscape;
indeed, he makes the somewhat surprising statement that “all the later
garden-craft has its source in Alessi, who, in the Scassi gardens, has
shown to the full his characteristic gift for preserving unity of
conception in multiplicity of form.”


There could be no better definition of the garden-science of the Italian
Renaissance; and if, as it seems probable, the Scassi gardens are
earlier in date than the Boboli and the Orti Farnesiani, they certainly
fill an important place in the evolution of the pleasure-ground; but the
Vatican gardens, if they were really designed by Antonio da Sangallo,
must still be regarded as the source from which the later school of
landscape-architects drew their first inspiration. It was certainly
here, and in the unfinished gardens of the Villa Madama, that the
earliest attempts were made to bring the untamed forms of nature into
relation with the disciplined lines of architecture.

Herr Gurlitt is, however, quite right in calling attention to the
remarkable manner in which the architectural lines of the Scassi gardens
have been adapted to their site, and also to the skill with which Alessi
contrived the successive transition from the formal surroundings of the
house to the sylvan freedom of the wooded hilltop beneath which it lies.

A broad terrace, gently sloping with the natural grade of the land,
leads up to a long level walk beneath the high retaining-wall which
sustains the second terrace. In the centre of this retaining-wall is a
beautifully designed triple niche, divided by Atlantides supporting a
delicately carved entablature, while a double flight of steps encloses
this central composition. Niches with statues and marble seats also
adorn the lateral walls of the gardens, and on the upper terrace is a
long tank or canal, flanked by clipped shrubs and statues. Thence an
inclined path leads to a rusticated temple with _colonnes torses_, and
statues in niches above fluted basins into which water once flowed; and
beyond this there is a winding ascent to the grove which crowns the
hill. All the architectural details of the garden are remarkable for a
classical purity and refinement, except the rusticated temple, of which
the fantastic columns are carved to resemble tree-trunks. This may be of
later date; but if contemporary, its baroque style was probably intended
to mark the transition from the formality of the lower gardens to the
rustic character of the naturalistic landscape above—to form, in fact, a
gate from the garden to the park.

The end of the sixteenth century saw this gradual recognition of nature,
and adoption of her forms, in the architecture and sculpture of the
Italian pleasure-house, and more especially in those outlying
constructions which connected the formal and the sylvan portions of the
grounds. “In mid-Renaissance garden-architecture,” as Herr Tuckermann
puts it, “the relation between art and landscape is reversed. Previously
the garden had had to adapt itself to architecture; now architectural
forms are forced into a resemblance with nature.”

Bernini was the great exponent of this new impulse, though it may be
traced back as far as Michelangelo. It was Bernini who first expressed
in his fountains the tremulous motion and shifting curves of water, and
who put into his garden-sculpture that rustle of _plein air_ which the
modern painter seeks to express in his landscapes. To trace the gradual
development of this _rapprochement_ to nature at a period so highly
artificial would be beyond the scope of these articles; but in judging
the baroque garden architecture and sculpture of the late Renaissance,
it should be remembered that they are not the expression of a wilful
eccentricity, but an attempted link between the highly conventionalized
forms of urban art and that life of the fields and woods which was
beginning to charm the imagination of poets and painters.

On the height above the Acqua Sola gardens, on the eastern side of
Genoa, lies Alessi’s other great country house, the Villa Pallavicini
alle Peschiere—not to be confounded with the ridiculous Villa
Pallavicini at Pegli, a brummagem creation of the early nineteenth
century, to which the guide-books still send throngs of unsuspecting
tourists, who come back imagining that this tawdry jumble of weeping
willows and Chinese pagodas, mock Gothic ruins and exotic vegetation,
represents the typical “Italian garden,” of which so much is said and so
little really known.

The Villa Pallavicini alle Peschiere (a drawing of which may be seen in
Rubens’s collection) is in site and design a typical Genoese suburban
house of the sixteenth century. The lower story has a series of arched
windows between Ionic pilasters; above are square-headed windows with
upper lights, divided by fluted Corinthian pilasters and surmounted by a
beautiful cornice and a roof-balustrade of unusual design, in which
groups of balusters alternate with oblong panels of richly carved
openwork. The very slightly projecting wings have, on both stories,
arched recesses in which heroic statues are painted in _grisaille_.

The narrow ledge of ground on which the villa is built permits only of a
broad terrace in front of the house, with a central basin surmounted by
a beautiful winged figure and enclosed in stone-edged flower-beds.
Stately flights of steps lead down to a lower terrace, of which the
mighty retaining-wall is faced by a Doric portico, with a recessed
loggia behind it. From this level other flights of steps, flanked by
great balustraded walls nearly a hundred feet high, descend to a third
terrace, narrower than the others, whence one looks down into
lower-lying gardens, wedged into every projecting shelf of ground
between palace roofs and towering slopes of masonry; while directly
beneath this crowded foreground sparkles the blue expanse of the

On a higher ledge, above the Villa Pallavicini, lies the Villa
Durazzo-Grapollo, perhaps also a work of Alessi’s. Here the unusual
extent of ground about the house has permitted an interesting
development of landscape-architecture. A fine pedimented gateway with
rusticated piers gives admission to a straight avenue of plane-trees
leading up to the house, which is a dignified building with two stories,
a _mezzanine_ and an attic. The windows on the ground floor are
square-headed, with oblong sunk panels above; while on the first floor
there is a slightly baroque movement about the architraves, and every
other window is surmounted by a curious shell-shaped pediment. On the
garden side a beautiful marble balcony forms the central motive of the
_piano nobile_, and the roof is enclosed in a balustrade with alternate
solid panels and groups of balusters. The plan is oblong, with slightly
projecting wings, adorned on both stories with coupled pilasters, which
on the lower floor are rusticated and above are fluted Corinthian,
painted on the stucco surface of the house. This painting of
architectural ornament is very characteristic of Genoese architecture,
and was done with such skill that, at a little distance, it is often
impossible to distinguish a projecting architectural member from its
frescoed counterfeit.

In front of the villa is a long narrow formal garden, supported on three
sides by a lofty retaining-wall. Down the middle of this garden, on an
axis with the central doorway of the façade, runs a canal terminated by
reclining figures of river-gods and marble dolphins spouting water. An
ilex-walk flanks it on each side, and at the farther end a balustrade
encloses this upper garden, and two flights of steps, with the usual
central niche, lead to the next level. Here there is a much greater
extent of ground, and the old formal lines have been broken up into the
winding paths and shrubberies of a _jardin anglais_. Even here, however,
traces of the original plan may be discovered, and statues and fountains
are scattered with charming effect among the irregular plantations,
while paths between clipped walls of green lead to beautiful distant
views of the sea and mountains. Specially interesting is the treatment
of the lateral retaining-walls of the upper garden. In these immense
ramparts of masonry have been cut tunnels decorated with shell-work and
stucco ornament, which lead up by a succession of wide steps to the
ground on a level with the house. One of these tunnels contains a series
of pools of water, which finally pour into a stream winding through a
romantic _boschetto_ on a lower level. Here, as at the Villa Scassi, all
the garden-architecture is pure and dignified in style, and there is
great beauty in the broad and simple treatment of the upper terrace,
with its canal and ilex-walks.

From the terraces of the Villa Durazzo one looks forth over the hillside
of San Francesco d’Albaro, the suburb which balances Sampierdarena on
the east. Happily this charming district is still a fashionable
villeggiatura, and the houses which Alessi built on its slopes stand
above an almost unaltered landscape of garden and vineyard. A fine road
crosses the Bisagno and leads up between high walls and beautiful
hanging gardens, passing at every turn some charming villa-façade in its
setting of cypresses and camellias. Among these, one should not overlook
the exquisite little Paradisino, a pale-green toy villa with Ionic
pilasters and classic pediment, perched above a high terrace on the left
of the ascent.

Just above stands the Paradiso (or Villa Cambiaso), another masterpiece
of Alessi’s,[5] to which it is almost impossible to obtain admission.
Unfortunately, the house stands far back from the road, above
intervening terraces and groves, and one can obtain only an imperfect
glimpse of its beautiful façade, which is as ornate and imposing as that
of the Villa Scassi, and of garden-walks lined with clipped hedges and

Footnote 5:

  In his “Baukunst der Renaissance in Italien” (Part II, Vol. V) Dr.
  Josef Durm, without citing his authority, says that the Villa Paradiso
  was built in 1600 by Andrea Ceresola, called Vanove.

At Alessi’s other Villa Cambiaso, higher up the hill of San Francesco
d’Albaro, a more hospitable welcome awaits the sight-seer. Here
admission is easily obtained, and it is possible to study and photograph
at leisure. This villa is remarkable for the beauty of the central
loggia on the ground floor of the façade: a grand Doric arcade, leading
into a two-storied atrium designed in the severest classical spirit. So
suggestive is this of the great loggia of the Villa Bombicci, near
Florence, that one understands why Alessi was called the pupil of
Michelangelo. At the back of the house there is (as at the Villa
Bombicci) a fine upper loggia, and the wide spacing of the windows on
the ground floor, and the massiveness and simplicity of all the
architectural details, inevitably recall the Tuscan style. Little is
left of the old gardens save a _tapis vert_ flanked by clipped hedges,
which descends to an iron grille on a lower road; but the broad grassy
space about the house has a boundary-wall with a continuous marble
bench, like that at the Villa Pia in the Vatican gardens.

In the valley between San Francesco d’Albaro and the Bisagno lies the
dismal suburb of San Fruttuoso. Here one must seek, through a waste of
dusty streets lined with half-finished tenements, for what must once
have been the most beautiful of Genoese pleasure-houses—the Villa
Imperiali, probably built by Fra Montorsoli. It stands high above broad
terraced grounds of unusual extent, backed by a hanging wood; but all
the old gardens have been destroyed, save the beautiful upper terrace,
and even the house has suffered some injury, though not enough to
detract greatly from its general effect. Here at last one finds that
union of lightness and majesty which characterizes the Villa Medici and
other Roman houses of its kind. The long elevation, with wings set back,
has a rusticated basement, surmounted by two stories and an attic above
the cornice. There is no order, but the whole façade is richly frescoed
in a severe architectural style, with niches, statues in grisaille, and
other ornaments, all executed by a skilful hand. The windows on the
first floor have broken pediments with a shell-like movement, and those
above show the same treatment, alternating with the usual triangular
pediment. But the crowning distinction of the house consists in the two
exquisite loggias which form the angles of the second story. These tall
arcades, resting on slender columns, give a wonderful effect of
spreading lightness to the façade, and break up its great bulk without
disturbing the general impression of strength and dignity. As a skilful
distribution of masses the elevation of the Villa Imperiali deserves the
most careful study, and it is to be regretted that it can no longer be
seen in combination with the wide-spread terraces which once formed a
part of its composition.

                             LOMBARD VILLAS



                             LOMBARD VILLAS

On the walls of the muniment-room of the old Borromeo palace in Milan,
Michelino, a little-known painter of the fifteenth century, has depicted
the sports and diversions of that noble family. Here may be seen ladies
in peaked hennins and long drooping sleeves, with their shock-headed
gallants in fur-edged tunics and pointed shoes, engaged in curious games
and dances, against the background of Lake Maggiore and the Borromean

It takes the modern traveller an effort of mental readjustment to
recognize in this “clump of peakèd isles”—bare Leonardesque rocks
thrusting themselves splinter-wise above the lake—the smiling groves and
terraces of the Isola Bella and the Isola Madre. For in those days the
Borromei had not converted their rocky islands into the hanging gardens
which to later travellers became one of the most important sights of the
“grand tour”; and one may learn from this curious fresco with what
seemingly hopeless problems the Italian garden-art dealt, and how, while
audaciously remodelling nature, it contrived to keep in harmony with the
surroundings amid which it worked.

The Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean group, was the first to be
built on and planted. The plain Renaissance palace still looks down on a
series of walled gardens and a grove of cypress, laurel and pine; but
the greater part of the island has been turned into an English park of
no special interest save to the horticulturist, who may study here the
immense variety of exotic plants which flourish in the mild climate of
the lakes. The Isola Bella, that pyramid of flower-laden terraces rising
opposite Stresa, in a lovely bend of the lake, began to take its present
shape about 1632, when Count Carlo III built a _casino di delizie_ on
the rocky pinnacle. His son, Count Vitaliano IV, continued and completed
the work. He levelled the pointed rocks, filled their interstices with
countless loads of soil from the mainland, and summoned Carlo Fontana
and a group of Milanese architects to raise the palace and
garden-pavilions above terraces created by Castelli and Crivelli, while
the waterworks were entrusted to Mora of Rome, the statuary and other
ornamental sculpture to Vismara. The work was completed in 1671, and the
island, which had been created a baronial fief, was renamed Isola
Isabella, after the count’s mother—a name which euphony, and the general
admiration the place excited, soon combined to contract to Isola Bella.

The island is built up in ten terraces, narrowing successively toward
the top, the lowest resting on great vaulted arcades which project into
the lake and are used as a winter shelter for the lemon-trees of the
upper gardens. Each terrace is enclosed in a marble balustrade, richly
ornamented with vases, statues and obelisks, and planted with a
profusion of roses, camellias, jasmine, myrtle and pomegranate, among
which groups of cypresses lift their dark shafts. Against the
retaining-walls oranges and lemons are espaliered, and flowers border
every path and wreathe every balustrade and stairway. It seems probable,
from the old descriptions of the Isola Bella, that it was originally
planted much as it now appears; in fact, the gardens of the Italian
lakes are probably the only old pleasure-grounds of Italy where flowers
have always been used in profusion. In the equable lake climate, neither
cold in winter, like the Lombard plains, nor parched in summer, like the
South, the passion for horticulture seems to have developed early, and
the landscape-architect was accustomed to mingle bright colours with his
architectural masses, instead of relying on a setting of uniform

The topmost terrace of the Isola Bella is crowned by a mount, against
which is built a water-theatre of excessively baroque design. This
architectural composition faces the southern front of the palace, a
large and not very interesting building standing to the north of the
gardens; while the southern extremity of the island terminates in a
beautiful garden-pavilion, hexagonal in shape, with rusticated coigns
and a crowning balustrade beset with statues. Even the narrow reef
projecting into the lake below this pavilion has been converted into
another series of terraces, with connecting flights of steps, which
carry down to the water’s edge the exuberant verdure of the upper

The palace is more remarkable for what it contains in the way of
furniture and decoration than for any architectural value. Its great
bulk and heavy outline are quite disproportionate to the airy elegance
of the gardens it overlooks, and house and grounds seem in this case to
have been designed without any regard to each other. The palace has,
however, one feature of peculiar interest to the student of
villa-architecture, namely, the beautiful series of rooms in the south
basement, opening on the gardens, and decorated with the most exquisite
ornamentation of pebble-work and seashells, mingled with delicately
tinted stucco. These low vaulted rooms, with marble floors, grotto-like
walls, and fountains dripping into fluted conchs, are like a poet’s
notion of some twilight refuge from summer heats, where the languid
green air has the coolness of water; even the fantastic consoles, tables
and benches, in which cool-glimmering mosaics are combined with carved
wood and stucco painted in faint greens and rose-tints, might have been
made of mother-of-pearl, coral and seaweed for the adornment of some
submarine palace. As examples of the decoration of a garden-house in a
hot climate, these rooms are unmatched in Italy, and their treatment
offers appropriate suggestions to the modern garden-architect in search
of effects of coolness.

To show how little the gardens of the Isola Bella have been changed
since they were first laid out, it is worth while to quote the
description of Bishop Burnet, that delightful artist in orthography and
punctuation, who descended into Italy in the year 1685, with his
“port-mangles” laden upon “mullets.”

“From _Lugane_,” the bishop’s breathless periods begin, “I went to the
_Lago Maggiore_, which is a great and noble Lake, it is six and fifty
Miles long, and in most places six Miles broad, and a hundred Fathoms
deep about the middle of it, it makes a great Bay to the Westward, and
there lies here two Islands called the _Borromean_ Islands, that are
certainly the loveliest spots of ground in the World, there is nothing
in all Italy that can be compared to them, they have the full view of
the Lake, and the ground rises so sweetly in them that nothing can be
imagined like the Terraces here, they belong to two Counts of the
_Borromean_ family. I was only in one of them, which belongs to the head
of the Family, who is Nephew to the famous Cardinal known by the name of
St _Carlo_.... The whole Island is a garden ... and because the figure
of the Island was not made regular by Nature, they have built great
Vaults and Portica’s along the Rock, which are all made Grotesque, and
so they have brought it into a regular form by laying earth over those
Vaults. There is first a Garden to the East that rises up from the Lake
by five rows of Terrasses, on the three sides of the Garden that are
watered by the Lake, the Stairs are noble, the Walls are all covered
with Oranges and Citrons, and a more beautiful spot of a Garden cannot
be seen: There are two buildings in the two corners of this Garden, the
one is only a Mill for fetching up the Water, and the other is a noble
Summer-House [the hexagonal pavilion] all Wainscotted, if I may speak
so, with Alabaster and Marble of a fine colour inclining to red, from
this Garden one goes in a level to all the rest of the Alleys and
Parterres, Herb-Gardens and Flower-Gardens, in all which there are
Varieties of Fountains and Arbors, but the great Parterre is a
surprizing thing, for as it is well furnished with Statues and
Fountains, and is of a vast extent, and justly situated to the Palace,
so at the further-end of it there is a great Mount, that face of it that
looks to the Parterre is made like a Theatre all full of Fountains and
Statues, the height rising up in five several rows ... and round this
Mount, answering to the five rows into which the Theatre is divided,
there goes as Many Terrasses of noble Walks, the Walls are all as close
covered with Oranges and Citrons as any of our Walls in _England_ are
with Laurel: the top of the Mount is seventy foot long and forty broad,
and here is a vast Cistern into which the Mill plays up the water that
must furnish all the Fountains.... The freshness of the Air, it being
both in a Lake and near the Mountains, the fragrant smell, the beautiful
Prospect, and the delighting Variety that is here makes it such a
habitation for Summer that perhaps the whole World hath nothing like


Seventeenth-century travellers were unanimous in extolling the Isola
Bella, though, as might have been expected, their praise was chiefly for
those elaborations and ingenuities of planning and engineering which
give least pleasure in the present day. Toward the middle of the
eighteenth century a critical reaction set in. Tourists, enamoured of
the new “English garden,” and of Rousseau’s descriptions of the “bosquet
de Julie,” could see nothing to admire in the ordered architecture of
the Borromean Islands. The sentimental sight-seer, sighing for sham
Gothic ruins, for glades planted “after Poussin,” and for all the
laboured naturalism of Repton and Capability Brown, shuddered at the
frank artifice of the old Italian garden-architecture. The quarrel then
begun still goes on, and sympathies are divided between the
artificial-natural and the frankly conventional. The time has come,
however, when it is recognized that both these manners _are_ manners,
the one as artificial as the other, and each to be judged, not by any
ethical standard of “sincerity,” but on its own æsthetic merits. This
has enabled modern critics to take a fairer view of such avowedly
conventional compositions as the Isola Bella, a garden in comparison
with which the grounds of the great Roman villas are as naturalistic as
the age of Rousseau could have desired.

Thus impartially judged, the Isola Bella still seems to many too
complete a negation of nature; nor can it appear otherwise to those who
judge of it only from pictures and photographs, who have not seen it in
its environment. For the landscape surrounding the Borromean Islands has
precisely that quality of artificiality, of exquisitely skilful
arrangement and manipulation, which seems to justify, in the
garden-architect, almost any excesses of the fancy. The Roman landscape,
grandiose and ample, seems an unaltered part of nature; so do the subtly
modelled hills and valleys of central Italy: all these scenes have the
deficiencies, the repetitions, the meannesses and profusions, with which
nature throws her great masses on the canvas of the world; but the lake
scenery appears to have been designed by a lingering and fastidious
hand, bent on eliminating every crudeness and harshness, and on blending
all natural forms, from the bare mountain-peak to the melting curve of
the shore, in one harmony of ever-varying and ever-beautiful lines.

The effect produced is undoubtedly one of artificiality, of a chosen
exclusion of certain natural qualities, such as gloom, barrenness, and
the frank ugliness into which nature sometimes lapses. There is an
almost forced gaiety about the landscape of the lakes, a fixed smile of
perennial loveliness. And it is as a complement to this attitude that
the Borromean gardens justify themselves. Are they real? No; but neither
is the landscape about them. Are they like any other gardens on earth?
No; but neither are the mountains and shores about them like earthly
shores and mountains. They are Armida’s gardens anchored in a lake of
dreams, and they should be compared, not with this or that actual piece
of planted ground, but with a page of Ariosto or Boiardo.

From the garden-student’s point of view, there is nothing in Lombardy as
important as the Isola Bella. In these rich Northern provinces, as in
the environs of Florence, the old gardens have suffered from the
affluence of their owners, and scarcely any have been allowed to retain
their original outline. The enthusiasm for the English garden swept over
Lombardy like a tidal wave, obliterating terraces and grottoes,
substituting winding paths for pleached alleys, and transforming level
box-parterres into rolling lawns which turn as brown as door-mats under
the scorching Lombard sun.

On the lakes, where the garden-architect was often restricted to a
narrow ledge of ground between mountains and water, these
transformations were less easy, for the new style required a
considerable expanse of ground for its development. Along the shores of
Como especially, where the ground rises so abruptly from the lake,
landscape effects were difficult to produce, nor was it easy to discover
a naturalistic substitute for the marble terraces built above the water.
Even here, however, the narrow gardens have been as much modified as
space permitted, the straight paths have been made to wind, and spotty
flower-beds in grass have replaced the ordered box-gardens with their
gravelled walks and their lemon-trees in earthen vases.

The only old garden on Como which keeps more than a fragment of its
original architecture is that of the Villa d’Este at Cernobbio, a mile
or two from the town of Como, at the southern end of the lake. The
villa, built in 1527 by Cardinal Gallio (who was born a fisher-lad of
Cernobbio), has passed through numerous transformations. In 1816 it was
bought by Caroline of Brunswick, who gave it the name of Este, and
turned it into a great structure of the Empire style. Here for several
years the Princess of Wales held the fantastic court of which Bergami,
the courier, was High Chamberlain if not Prince Consort; and, whatever
disadvantages may have accrued to herself from this establishment, her
residence at the Villa d’Este was a benefit to the village, for she
built the road connecting Cernobbio with Moltrasio, which was the first
carriage-drive along the lake, and spent large sums on improvements in
the neighbourhood of her estate.

Since then the villa has suffered a farther change into a large and
fashionable hotel; but though Queen Caroline anglicized a part of the
grounds, the main lines of the old Renaissance garden still exist.


Behind the Villa d’Este the mountains are sufficiently withdrawn to
leave a gentle acclivity, which was once laid out in a series of
elaborate gardens. Adjoining the villa is a piece of level ground just
above the lake, which evidently formed the “secret garden” with its
parterres and fountains. This has been replaced by a lawn and
flower-beds, but still keeps its boundary-wall at the back, with a
baroque grotto and fountain of pebbles and shell-work. Above this rises
a _tapis vert_ shaded by cypresses, and leading to the usual Hercules in
a temple. The peculiar feature of this ascent is that it is bordered on
each side with narrow steps of channelled stone, down which the water
rushes under overlapping ferns and roses to the fish-pool below the
grotto in the lower garden. Beyond the formal gardens is the _bosco_, a
bit of fine natural woodland climbing the cliff-side, with winding paths
which lead to various summer-houses and sylvan temples. The rich leafage
of walnut, acacia and cypress, the glimpses of the blue lake far below,
the rush of a mountain torrent through a deep glen spanned by a romantic
ivy-clad bridge, make this _bosco_ of the Villa d’Este one of the most
enchanting bits of sylvan gardening in Italy. Scarcely less enchanting
is the grove of old plane-trees by the water-gate on the lake, where, in
a solemn twilight of over-roofing branches, woodland gods keep watch
above the broad marble steps descending to the water. In the gardens of
the Villa d’Este there is much of the Roman spirit—the breadth of
design, the unforced inclusion of natural features, and that
sensitiveness to the quality of the surrounding landscape which
characterizes the great gardens of the Campagna.

Just across the lake, in the deep shade of the wooded cliffs beneath the
Pizzo di Torno, lies another villa still more steeped in the Italian
garden-magic. This is the Villa Pliniana, built in 1570 by the Count
Anguissola of Piacenza, and now the property of the Trotti family of
Milan. The place takes its name from an intermittent spring in the
court, which is supposed to be the one described by Pliny in one of his
letters; and it is farther celebrated as being the coolest villa on
Como. It lies on a small bay on the east side of the lake, and faces due
north, so that, while the villas of Cernobbio are bathed in sunlight, a
deep green shade envelops it. The house stands on a narrow ledge, its
foundations projecting into the lake, and its back built against the
almost vertical wooded cliff which protects it from the southern sun.
Down this cliff pours a foaming mountain torrent from the Val di Calore,
just beneath the peak of Torno; and this torrent the architect of the
Villa Pliniana has captured in its descent to the lake and carried
through the central apartment of the villa.

The effect produced is unlike anything else, even in the wonderland of
Italian gardens. The two wings of the house, a plain and somewhat
melancholy-looking structure, are joined by an open arcaded room,
against the back wall of which the torrent pours down, over stonework
tremulous with moss and ferns, gushing out again beneath the balustrade
of the loggia, where it makes a great semicircle of glittering whiteness
in the dark-green waters of the lake. The old house is saturated with
the freshness and drenched with the flying spray of the caged torrent.
The bare vaulted rooms reverberate with it, the stone floors are green
with its dampness, the air quivers with its cool incessant rush. The
contrast of this dusky dripping loggia, on its perpetually shaded bay,
with the blazing blue waters of the lake and their sun-steeped western
shores, is one of the most wonderful effects in _sensation_ that the
Italian villa-art has ever devised.

The architect, not satisfied with diverting a part of the torrent to
cool his house, has led the rest in a fall down the cliff immediately
adjoining the villa, and has designed winding paths through the woods
from which one may look down on the bright rush of the waters. On the
other side of the house lies a long balustraded terrace, between the
lake and the hanging woods, and here, on the only bit of open and level
ground near the house, are the old formal gardens, now much neglected,
but still full of a melancholy charm.

After the Villa Pliniana, the other gardens of Como seem almost
commonplace. All along both shores are villas which, amid many
alterations, have preserved traces of their old garden-architecture,
such as the Bishop of Como’s villa, south of Leno, with its baroque
saints and prophets perched along the garden-balustrade, and the more
famous Villa Carlotta at Cadenabbia, where the fine gateways and the
architectural treatment of the terraces bear witness to the former
beauty of the grounds. But almost everywhere the old garden-magic has
been driven out by a fury of modern horticulture. The pleached alleys
have made way for lawns dotted with palms and bananas, the box-parterres
have been replaced by star-shaped beds of begonias and cinerarias, and
the groves of laurel and myrtle by thickets of pampas-grass and bamboo.
This description applies to all the principal gardens between Como and
Bellagio. Here and there, indeed, in almost all of them, some
undisturbed corner remains—a flight of steps wreathed in Banksian roses
and descending to a shady water-gate; a fern-lined grotto with a stucco
Pan or Syrinx; a clipped laurel-walk set with marble benches, or a
classic summer-house above the lake—but these old bits are so scattered
and submerged under the new order of gardening that it requires an
effort of the imagination to reconstruct from them an image of what the
old lake-gardens must have been before every rich proprietor tried to
convert his marble terraces into an English park.


Almost to be included among lake-villas is the beautiful Villa Cicogna
at Bisuschio. This charming old place lies in the lovely but
little-known hill-country between the Lake of Varese and the southern
end of Lugano. The house, of which the history appears to be unknown to
the present owners, is an early Renaissance building of great beauty,
with a touch of Tuscan austerity in its design. The plain front, with
deep projecting eaves and widely spaced windows, might stand on some
village square above the Arno; and the interior court, with its
two-storied arcade, recalls, in purity and lightness of design, the
inheritors of Brunelleschi’s tradition. So few country houses of the
early sixteenth century are to be found in the Milanese that it would be
instructive to learn whether the Villa Cicogna is in fact due to a
Tuscan hand, or whether this mid-Italian style was at that time also
prevalent in Lombardy.

The villa is built against a hillside, and the interior court forms an
oblong, enclosed on three sides by the house, and continued on the
fourth by a beautiful sunken garden, above which runs a balustraded walk
on a level with the upper story. On the other side of the house is
another garden, consisting of a long terrace bounded by a high
retaining-wall, which is tunnelled down its whole length to form a shady
arcaded walk lined with ferns and dripping with runnels of water. At the
back of the house the ground continues to rise, and a _château d’eau_ is
built against the hillside; while beyond the terrace-garden already
described, a gate leads to a hanging woodland, with shady walks from
which, at every turn, there are enchanting views across the southern bay
of Lake Lugano.

The house itself is as interesting as the garden. The walls of the court
are frescoed in charming cinque-cento designs, and the vaulted ceiling
of the loggia is painted in delicate trellis-work, somewhat in the
manner of the semicircular arcade at the Villa di Papa Giulio. Several
of the rooms also preserve their wall-frescoes and much of their
Renaissance furniture, while a series of smaller apartments on the
ground floor are exquisitely decorated with stucco ornament in the light
style of the eighteenth century; so that the Villa Cicogna still gives a
vivid idea of what an old Italian country house must have been in its
original state.

From the hill-villas of the lakes to the country places of the Milanese
rice-fields the descent is somewhat abrupt; but the student of
garden-architecture may mitigate the transition by carrying on his
researches from the southern end of Como through the smiling landscape
of the Brianza. Here there are many old villas, in a lovely setting of
vineyard and woodland, with distant views of the Alps and of the sunny
Lombard plain; but of old gardens few are to be found. There is one of
great beauty, belonging to the Villa Crivelli, near the village of
Inverigo; but as it is inaccessible to visitors, only tantalizing
glimpses may be obtained of its statues and terraces, its cypress-walks
and towering “Gigante.” Not far from Inverigo is the Rotonda Cagnola,
now the property of the Marchese d’Adda, and built in 1813 by the
Marchese Luigi Cagnola in imitation of the Propylæa of the Acropolis.
The house is beautifully placed on a hilltop, with glorious views over
the Alps and Apennines, and is curious to the student as an example of
the neo-classicism of the Empire; but it has of course no gardens in the
old sense of the term.

The flat environs of Milan were once dotted with country houses, but
with the growth of the city and the increased facilities of travel,
these have been for the most part abandoned for villas in the hills or
on the lakes, and to form an idea of their former splendour one must
turn to the pages of Alberto del Rè’s rare volumes. Here one may see in
all its detail that elaborate style of gardening which the French
landscape-gardeners developed from the “grand manner” acquired by Le
Nôtre in his study of the great Roman country-seats. This style, adapted
to the flat French landscape, and complicated by the mannerisms and
elaborations of the eighteenth century, came back to Italy with the
French fashions which Piedmont and Lombardy were so fond of importing.
The time had passed when Europe modelled itself on Italy: France was now
the glass of fashion, and, in northern Italy especially, French
architecture and gardening were eagerly reproduced.

In Lombardy the natural conditions were so similar that the French
geometrical gardens did not seem out of place; yet even here a
difference is felt, both in the architecture and the gardens. Italy, in
spite of Palladio and the Palladian tradition, never freed herself from
the baroque. Her artistic tendencies were all toward freedom,
improvisation, individual expression, while France was fundamentally
classical and instinctively temperate. Just as the French cabinet-makers
and bronze-chisellers and modellers in stucco produced more delicate and
finished, but less personal, work than the Italian craftsmen, so the
French architects designed with greater precision and restraint, and
less play of personal invention. To establish a rough distinction, it
might be said that French art has always been intellectual and Italian
art emotional; and this distinction is felt even in the treatment of the
pleasure-house and its garden. In Italy the architectural detail
remained baroque till the end of the eighteenth century, and the
architect permitted himself far greater license in the choice of forms
and the combination of materials. The old villas of the Milanese have a
very strong individuality, and it is to be regretted that so few remain
intact to show what a personal style they preserved even under the most
obvious French influences.


The Naviglio, the canal which flows through Milan and sends various
branches to the Ticino and the Adda, was formerly lined for miles beyond
the city with suburban villas. Few remain unaltered, and even of these
few the old gardens have disappeared. One of the most interesting houses
in Del Rè’s collection, the Villa Alario (now Visconti di Saliceto), on
the Naviglio near Cernusco, is still in perfect preservation without and
within; and though its old gardens were replaced by an English park
early in the nineteenth century, their general outline is still
discoverable. The villa, a stately pile built by Ruggieri in 1736, looks
on a court divided from the highway by a fine wall and beautiful iron
gates. Low wings containing the chapel and offices, and running at right
angles to the main building, connect the latter with the courtyard
walls; and arched passages through the centre of the wings lead to
outlying courts surrounded by stables and other dependencies. The house,
toward the forecourt, has a central open loggia or atrium, and the upper
windows are framed in baroque architraves and surmounted by square attic
lights. The garden elevation is more elaborate. Here there is a central
projection, three windows wide, flanked by two-storied open loggias, and
crowned by an attic with ornamental pilasters and urns. This central bay
is adorned with beautiful wrought-iron balconies, which are repeated in
the wings at each end of the building. All the wrought-iron of the Villa
Visconti is remarkable for its elegance and originality, and as used on
the terraces, and in the balustrade of the state staircase, in
combination with heavy baroque stone balusters, it is an interesting
example of a peculiarly Lombard style of decoration.

Between the house and the Naviglio there once lay an elaborate _parterre
de broderie_, terminated above the canal by a balustraded retaining-wall
adorned with statues, and flanked on each side by pleached walks,
arbours, trellis-work and fish-ponds. Of this complicated pleasance
little remains save the long terraces extending from each end of the
house, the old flower-garden below one of these, and some bits of
decorative sculpture incorporated in the boundary-walls. The long tank
or canal shown in Del Rè’s print has been turned into an irregular pond
with grass-banks, and the _parterre de broderie_ is now a lawn; even the
balustrade has been removed from the wall along the Naviglio. Still, the
architectural details of the forecourt and the terraces are worthy of
careful study, and the unusual beauty of the old villa, with its
undisturbed group of dependencies, partly atones for the loss of its
original surroundings.


Many eighteenth-century country houses in the style of the Villa
Visconti are scattered through the Milanese, though few have retained so
unaltered an outline, or even such faint traces of their formal gardens.
The huge villa of the Duke of Modena at Varese—now the Municipio—is a
good example of the same architecture, and has a beautiful
stone-and-iron balustrade and many wrought-iron balconies in the same
style as those at Cernusco; and its gardens, ascending the hillside
behind the house, and now used as a public park, must once have been
very fine. The Grand Hôtel of Varese is also an old villa, and its
architectural screen and projecting wings form an unusually
characteristic façade of the same period. Here, again, little remains of
the old garden but a charming upper terrace; but the interior
decorations of many of the rooms are undisturbed, and are exceptionally
interesting examples of the more delicate Italian baroque.

Another famous country house, Castellazzo d’Arconate, at Bollate, is
even more palatial than the Duke of Modena’s villa at Varese, and, while
rather heavy in general outline, has an interesting interior façade,
with a long arcade resting on coupled columns, and looking out over a
stately courtyard with statues. This villa is said to have preserved a
part of its old gardens, but it is difficult of access, and could not be
visited at the time when the material for these chapters was collected.


                           VILLAS OF VENETIA



                           VILLAS OF VENETIA

Writers on Italian architecture have hitherto paid little attention to
the villa-architecture of Venetia. It is only within the last few years
that English and American critics have deigned to recognize any
architectural school in Italy later than that of Vignola and Palladio,
and even these two great masters of the sixteenth century have been held
up as examples of degeneracy to a generation bred in the Ruskinian code
of art ethics. In France, though the influence of Viollet-le-Duc was
nearly as hostile as Ruskin’s to any true understanding of Italian art,
the Latin instinct for form has asserted itself in a revived study of
the classic tradition; but French writers on architecture have hitherto
confined themselves chiefly to the investigation of their national

It is only in Germany that Italian architecture from Palladio to Juvara
has received careful and sympathetic study. Burckhardt pointed the way
in his “Cicerone” and in “The Architecture of the Renaissance in Italy”;
Herr Gustav Ebe followed with an interesting book on the late
Renaissance throughout Europe; and Herr Gurlitt has produced the most
masterly work yet written on the subject, his “History of the Baroque
Style in Italy.” These authors, however, having to work in a new and
extensive field, have necessarily been obliged to restrict themselves to
its most important divisions. Burckhardt’s invaluable “Renaissance
Architecture,” though full of critical insight, is rather a collection
of memoranda than a history of the subject; and even Herr Gurlitt,
though he goes into much greater detail, cannot forsake the highroad for
the by-paths, and has consequently had to pass by many minor
ramifications of his subject. This is especially to be regretted in
regard to the villa-architecture of Venetia, the interest and
individuality of which he fully appreciates. He points out that the
later Venetian styles spring from two sources, the schools of Palladio
and of Sansovino. The former, greatly as his work was extolled, never
had the full sympathy of the Venetians. His art was too pure and severe
for a race whose taste had been formed on the fantastic mingling of
Gothic and Byzantine and on the glowing decorations of the greatest
school of colourists the world has known. It was from the warm and
picturesque art of Sansovino and Longhena that the Italian baroque
naturally developed; and though the authority of Palladio made itself
felt in the official architecture of Venetia, its minor constructions,
especially the villas and small private houses, seldom show any trace of
his influence save in the grouping of their windows. So little is known
of the Venetian villa-builders that this word as to their general
tendencies must replace the exact information which still remains to be

Many delightful examples of the Venetian _maison de plaisance_ are still
to be found in the neighbourhood of Padua and Treviso, along the Brenta,
and in the country between the Euganeans and the Monti Berici.
Unfortunately, in not more than one or two instances have the old
gardens of these houses been preserved in their characteristic form;
and, by a singular perversity of fate, it happens that the villas which
have kept their gardens are not typical of the Venetian style. One of
them, the castle of Cattajo, at Battaglia in the Euganean Hills, stands
in fact quite apart from any contemporary style. This extraordinary
edifice, built for the Obizzi of Venice about 1550, is said to have been
copied from the plans of a castle in Tartary brought home by Marco Polo.
It shows, at any rate, a deliberate reversion, in mid-cinque-cento, to a
kind of Gothicism which had become obsolete in northern Italy three
hundred years earlier; and the mingling of this rude style with classic
detail and Renaissance sculpture has produced an effect picturesque
enough to justify so quaint a tradition.

Cattajo stands on the edge of the smiling Euganean country, its great
fortress-like bulk built up against a wooded knoll with a little river
at its base. Crossing the river by a bridge flanked by huge piers
surmounted with statues, one reaches a portcullis in a massive
gatehouse, also adorned with statues. The portcullis opens on a long
narrow court planted with a hedge of clipped euonymus; and at one end a
splendid balustraded stairway _à cordon_ leads up to a flagged terrace
with yew-trees growing between the flags. To the left of this terrace is
a huge artificial grotto, with a stucco Silenus lolling on an elephant,
and other life-size animals and figures, a composition recalling the
zoölogical wonders of the grotto at Castello. This Italian reversion to
the grotesque, at a time when it was losing its fascination for the
Northern races, might form the subject of an interesting study of race
æsthetics. When the coarse and sombre fancy of mediæval Europe found
expression in grinning gargoyles and baleful or buffoonish images,
Italian art held serenely to the beautiful, and wove the most tragic
themes into a labyrinth of lovely lines; but in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, when the classical graces had taken possession of
northern Europe, the chimerical animals, the gnomes and goblins, the
gargoyles and broomstick-riders, fled south of the Alps, and reappeared
in the queer fauna of Italian grottoes and in the leering dwarfs and
satyrs of the garden-walk.


From the yew-tree terrace at Cattajo an arcaded loggia gives access to
the interior of the castle, which is a bewilderment of low-storied
passageways and long flights of steps hewn in the rock against which the
castle is built. From a vaulted tunnel of stone one passes abruptly into
a suite of lofty apartments decorated with seventeenth-century frescoes
and opening on a balustraded terrace guarded by marble divinities; or,
taking another turn, one finds one’s self in a sham Gothic chapel or in
a mediæval _chemin de ronde_ on the crenelated walls. This fantastic
medley of styles, in conjunction with the unusual site of the castle,
has produced several picturesque bits of garden, wedged between the
walls and the hillside, or on the terraces overhanging the river; but
from the architectural point of view, the most interesting thing about
Cattajo is the original treatment of the great stairway in the court.

Six or seven miles from Battaglia, in a narrow and fertile valley of the
Euganeans, lies one of the most beautiful pleasure-grounds in Italy.
This is the garden of the villa at Val San Zibio. On approaching it, one
sees, across a grassy common, a stately and ornate arch of triumph with
a rusticated façade and a broken pediment enriched with statues. This
arch, which looks as though it were the principal entrance-gate, appears
to have been placed in the high boundary-wall merely in order to afford
from the highway a vista of the _château d’eau_ which is the chief
feature of the gardens. The practice of breaking the wall to give a view
of some special point in the park or garden was very common in France,
but is seldom seen in Italy, though there is a fine instance of it in
the open grille below the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati.

The house at Val San Zibio is built with its back to the highroad, and
is an unpretentious structure of the seventeenth century, not unlike the
Villa de’ Gori at Siena, though the Palladian grouping of its central
windows shows the nearness of Venice. It looks on a terrace enclosed by
a balustrade, whence a broad flight of steps descends to the gently
sloping gardens. They are remarkable for their long pleached alleys of
beech, their wide _tapis verts_, fountains, marble benches and statues
charmingly placed in niches of clipped verdure. In one direction is a
little lake, in another a “mount” crowned by a statue, while a long
alley leads to a well-preserved maze with a raised platform in its
centre. These labyrinths are now rarely found in Italian gardens, and
were probably never as popular south of the Alps as in Holland and
England. The long _château d’eau_, with its couchant Nereids and
conch-blowing Tritons, descends a gentle slope instead of a steep hill,
and on each side high beech-hedges enclose tall groves of deciduous
trees. These hedges are characteristic of the north Italian gardens,
where the plane, beech and elm replace the “perennial greens” of the
south; and there is one specially charming point at Val San Zibio, where
four grass-alleys walled with clipped beeches converge on a stone basin
sunk in the turf, with four marble putti seated on the curb, dangling
their feet in the water. An added touch of quaintness is given to the
gardens by the fact that the old waterworks are still in action, so that
the unwary visitor, assailed by fierce jets of spray darting up at him
from the terrace steps, the cracks in the flagstones, and all manner of
unexpected ambushes, may form some idea of the aquatic surprises which
afforded his ancestors such inexhaustible amusement.


There are few gardens in Italy comparable with Val San Zibio; but in
Padua there is one of another sort which has kept something of the same
ancient savor. This is the famous Botanic Garden, founded in 1545, and
said to be the oldest in Italy. The accompanying plan, though roughly
sketched from memory, will give some idea of its arrangement. Outside is
a grove of exotic trees, which surrounds a large circular space enclosed
in a beautiful old brick wall surmounted by a marble balustrade and
adorned alternately with busts and statues. The wall is broken by four
gateways, one forming the principal entrance from the grove, the other
three opening on semicircles in which statues are set against a
background of foliage. In the garden itself the beds for “simples” are
enclosed in low iron railings, within which they are again subdivided by
stone edgings, each subdivision containing a different species of plant.

Padua, in spite of its flat surroundings, is one of the most picturesque
cities of upper Italy; and the seeker after gardens will find many
charming bits along the narrow canals, or by the sluggish river skirting
the city walls. Indeed, one might almost include in a study of gardens
the beautiful Prato della Valle, the public square before the church of
Santa Giustina, with its encircling canal crossed by marble bridges, its
range of baroque statues of “worthies,” and its central expanse of turf
and trees. There is no other example in Italy of a square laid out in
this park-like way, and the Prato della Valle would form an admirable
model for the treatment of open spaces in a modern city.


A few miles from Padua, at Ponte di Brenta, begins the long line of
villas which follows the course of the river to its outlet at Fusina.
Dante speaks in the “Inferno” of the villas and castles on the Brenta,
and it continued the favourite villeggiatura of the Venetian nobility
till the middle of the nineteenth century. There dwelt the Signor
Pococurante, whom Candide visited on his travels; and of flesh-and-blood
celebrities many might be cited, from the famous Procuratore Pisani to
Byron, who in 1819 carried off the Guiccioli to his villa at La Mira on
the Brenta.

The houses still remain almost line for line as they were drawn in
Gianfrancesco Costa’s admirable etchings, “Le Delizie del Fiume Brenta,”
published in 1750; but unfortunately almost all the old gardens have
disappeared. One, however, has been preserved, and as it is the one most
often celebrated by travellers and poets of the eighteenth century, it
may be regarded as a good example of a stately Venetian garden. This is
the great villa built at Strà, in 1736, for Alvise Pisani, procurator of
St. Mark’s, by the architects Prati and Frigimelica. In size and
elegance it far surpasses any other house on the Brenta. The prevailing
note of the other villas is one of simplicity and amenity. They stand
near each other, either on the roadside or divided from it by a low wall
bordered with statues and a short strip of garden, also thickly peopled
with nymphs, satyrs, shepherdesses, and the grotesque and comic figures
of the Commedia dell’ Arte; unassuming _villini_ for the most part,
suggesting a life of suburban neighbourliness and sociability. But the
Villa Pisani is a palace. Its majestic façade, with pillared central
_corps de bâtiment_ and far-reaching wings, stands on the highway
bordering the Brenta; behind are the remains of the old formal gardens,
and on each side, the park extends along the road, from which it is
divided by a high wall and several imposing gateways. The palace is
built about two inner courts, and its innumerable rooms are frescoed by
the principal Italian decorative painters of the day, while the great
central saloon has one of Tiepolo’s most riotously splendid ceilings.
Fortunately for the preservation of these treasures, Strà, after being
the property of Eugène Beauharnais, was acquired by the Italian
government, and is now a “villa nazionale,” well kept up and open to the


In the etching of Costa, an elaborate formal garden with _parterres de
broderie_ is seen to extend from the back of the villa to the
beautifully composed stables which face it. This garden has
unfortunately been replaced by a level meadow, flanked on both sides by
_boschi_, with long straight walks piercing the dense green leafage of
elm, beech and lime. Here and there fragments of garden-architecture
have survived the evident attempt to convert the grounds into a _jardin
anglais_ of the sentimental type. There is still a maze, with a fanciful
little central tower ascended by winding stairs; there is a little
wooded “mount,” with a moat about it, and a crowning temple; and there
are various charming garden-pavilions, orangeries, gardeners’ houses,
and similar small constructions, all built in the airy and romantic
style of which the Italian villa-architect had not yet lost the secret.
Architecturally, however, the stables are perhaps the most interesting
buildings at Strà. Their classical central façade is flanked by two
curving wings, forming charmingly proportioned lemon-houses, and in the
stables themselves the stalls are sumptuously divided by columns of red
marble, each surmounted by the gilded effigy of a horse.

From Strà to Fusina the shores of the Brenta are lined with charming
pleasure-houses, varying in size from the dignified villa to the little
garden-pavilion, and all full of interest and instruction to the student
of villa-architecture; but unhappily no traces of their old gardens
remain, save the statues which once peopled the parterres and surmounted
the walls. Several of the villas are attributed to Palladio, but only
one is really typical of his style: the melancholy Malcontenta, built by
the Foscari, and now standing ruinous and deserted in a marshy field
beside the river.

The Malcontenta has all the chief characteristics of Palladio’s manner:
the high basement, the projecting pillared portico, the general air of
classical correctness, which seems a little cold beside the bright and
graceful villa-architecture of Venetia. Burckhardt, with his usual
discernment, remarks in this connection that it was a fault of
Palladio’s to substitute for the recessed loggia of the Roman villa a
projecting portico, thus sacrificing one of the most characteristic and
original features of the Italian country house to a not particularly
appropriate adaptation of the Greek temple porch.

But Palladio was a great artist, and if he was great in his civic
architecture rather than in his country houses, if his stately genius
lent itself rather to the grouping of large masses than to the
construction of pretty toys, yet his most famous villa is a distinct and
original contribution to the chief examples of the Italian
pleasure-house. The Villa Capra, better known as the Rotonda, which
stands on a hill above Vicenza, has been criticized for having four
fronts instead of one front, two sides and a back. It is, in fact, a
square building with a projecting Ionic portico on each face—a plan open
to the charge of monotony, but partly justified in this case by the fact
that the house is built on the summit of a knoll from which there are
four views, all equally pleasing, and each as it were entitled to the
distinction of having a loggia to itself. Still, it is certain that
neither in the Rotonda nor in his other villas did Palladio hit on a
style half as appropriate or pleasing as the typical manner of the Roman
villa-architects, with its happy mingling of freedom and classicalism,
its wonderful adaptation to climate and habits of life, its capricious
grace of detail, and its harmony with the garden-architecture which was
designed to surround it.


The Villa Capra has not preserved its old gardens, and at the Villa
Giacomelli, at Maser, Palladio’s other famous country house, the grounds
have been so modernized and stripped of all their characteristic
features that it is difficult to judge of their original design; but one
feels that all Palladio’s rural architecture lacked that touch of fancy
and freedom which, in the Roman school, facilitated the transition of
manner from the house to the garden-pavilion, and from the pavilion to
the half-rustic grotto and the woodland temple.

The Villa Valmarana, also at Vicenza, on the Monte Berico, not far from
the Rotonda, has something of the intimate charm lacking in the latter.
The low and simply designed house is notable only for the charming
frescoes with which Tiepolo adorned its rooms; but the beautiful loggia
in the garden is attributed to Palladio, and this, together with the old
beech-alleys, the charming frescoed fountain, the garden-wall crowned by
Venetian grotesques, forms a composition of exceptional picturesqueness.

The beautiful country-side between Vicenza and Verona is strewn with old
villas, many of which would doubtless repay study; but there are no
gardens of note in this part of Veneto, except the famous Giusti gardens
at Verona, probably better known to sightseers than any others in
northern Italy. In spite of all their charm, however, the dusky massing
of their old cypresses, and their winding walks along the cliff-side,
the Giusti gardens preserve few traces of their original design, and are
therefore not especially important to the student of Italian
garden-architecture. More interesting in this connection is the Villa
Cuzzano, about seven miles from Verona, a beautiful old house standing
above a terrace-garden planted with an elaborate _parterre de broderie_.
Behind the villa is a spacious court bounded by a line of low buildings
with a central chapel. The interior of the house has been little
changed, and is an interesting example of north Italian villa planning
and decoration. The passion of the Italian architects for composition
and continuity of design is seen in the careful placing of the chapel,
which is exactly on an axis with the central saloon of the villa, so
that, standing in the chapel, one looks across the court, through this
lofty saloon, and out on the beautiful hilly landscape beyond. It was by
such means that the villa-architects obtained, with simple materials and
in a limited space, impressions of distance, and sensations of the
unexpected, for which one looks in vain in the haphazard and slipshod
designs of the present day.

                        LIST OF BOOKS MENTIONED


 Gianfrancesco Costa     _Le Delizie del Fiume Brenta._ 1750.

 Giovanni Falda          _Giardini di Roma._ N. d.

 Peter Paul Rubens       _Palazzi di Genova._ 1622.

 Rafaello Soprani        _Vite de’ Pittori, Scultori ed Architetti
                           Genovesi._ (Second edition, revised, enlarged
                           and supplied with notes by C. G. Ratti.

 Giuseppe Zocchi         _Vedute delle Ville e d’altri luoghi della
                           Toscana._ 1744.


 Le Président de Brosses _Lettres Familières écrites d’Italie en 1739 et

 L. Dussieux             _Artistes Français a l’Etranger._

 Michel de Montaigne     _Journal du Voyage en Italie par la Suisse et
                           l’Allemagne en 1580 et 1581._

 Percier et Fontaine     _Choix des plus célèbres Maisons de Plaisance
                           de Rome et de ses Environs._ 1809.

 Marc Antonio del Rè     _Maisons de Plaisance de l’Etat de Milan.
                           Milan._ 1743.

 Georges Riat            _L’Art des Jardins._ N. d.

 Eugène Emmanuel         _Dictionnaire Raisonné de l’Architecture
   Viollet-le-Duc          Française._ 1858.


 Jacob Burckhardt        _Der Cicerone._ 1901.

 Jacob Burckhardt        _Geschichte der Renaissance in Italien._ 1891.

 Josef Durm              _Die Baustile: Die Baukunst der Renaissance in
                           Italien._ 1903.

 Gustav Ebe              _Die Spätrenaissance._ 1886.

 Cornelius Gurlitt       _Geschichte des Barockstils in Italien._ 1887.

 W. C. Tuckermann        _Die Gartenkunst der Italienischen
                           Renaissance-Zeit._ 1884.


 Michael Bryan           _Dictionary of Painters and Engravers,
                           biographical and critical._ Revised and
                           enlarged by Robert Edmund Graves, B.A., 1886.

 G. Burnet, D.D., Bishop Some Letters, containing an Account of what
   of Salisbury.           seemed most remarkable in Switzerland, Italy,
                           etc. 1686.

 John Evelyn             Diary, 1644.


                           ALESSI (GALEAZZO)

Though Alessi was a native of Perugia his best-known buildings were
erected in Genoa. Among them are the Villa Pallavicini alle Peschiere,
the Villa Imperiali (now Scassi), the Villa Giustiniani (now Cambiaso),
the Palazzo Parodi, the public granaries, and the church of the Madonna
di Carignano. He also laid out the Strada Nuova in Genoa. His chief
works in other places are: the Palazzo Marin (now the Municipio) in
Milan; the Palazzo Antinori, and the front of the church of S. Maria del
Popolo at Perugia; and the church of the Madonna degli Angeli near

                          ALGARDI (ALESSANDRO)

Algardi, a Bolognese architect, was also distinguished as an engraver
and sculptor, and was noted for his figures of children. He built the
Villa Belrespiro or Pamphily on the Janiculan, and the Villa Sauli, both
in Rome.

                         AMMANATI (BARTOLOMMEO)

Ammanati, the pupil of Bandinelli and Sansovino, was one of the most
distinguished Florentine architects of the sixteenth century, and was
also noted for his garden-sculpture. In Florence some of his best work
is seen in the Boboli garden and in the court of the Palazzo Pitti,
while the bridge of the S. Trinità is considered his masterpiece. In
Rome he built the fine façades of the Palazzo Ruspoli and of the
Collegio Romano. The rusticated loggia of the Villa Fonte all’ Erta is
ascribed to him.

                       BERNINI (GIOVANNI LORENZO)

Bernini, a Neapolitan by birth, was the greatest Italian architect and
sculptor of the seventeenth century. One of his masterpieces in
architecture is the church of S. Andrea al Noviziato on the Quirinal,
and among his other works in Rome are: the piazza and colonnade of St.
Peter’s, the Scala Regia in the Vatican, the Palazzo di Monte Citorio,
and the fountains of Trevi and the Tritone; at Pistoja the Villa
Rospigliosi, at Terni the cathedral, and at Ravenna the Porta Nuova.

                         BORROMINI (FRANCESCO)

Borromini, a pupil of Maderna, was, next to Bernini, the most original
and brilliant exponent of _baroque_ architecture in Italy. He was born
in Lombardy, but worked principally in Rome. Among his best-known
buildings are the church of St. Agnes on the Piazza Navona, that of San
Carlo alle quattro fontane, and the College of the Propaganda Fide. In
conjunction with Bernini and Maderna, he built the Palazzo Barberini in
Rome. Some of his best work is seen in the Villa Falconieri at Frascati.

                           BRAMANTE (DONATO)

Bramante was born at Urbino, but executed all his early work in Milan,
producing the church of S. Maria delle Grazie, the Ospedale Maggiore,
and the sacristy of San Satiro, which he not only built, but decorated
internally. In Lombardy the early Renaissance of building is called the
Bramantesque style. Bramante’s works in Rome are: the Tempietto of San
Pietro in Montorio, the palace of the Cancelleria, a part of the
Vatican, and a part of the Palazzo di San Biagio.

                            BROWN (LANCELOT)

Lancelot Brown, known as “Capability Brown,” a native of Northumberland,
began his career in a kitchen-garden, but, though without artistic
training and unable to draw, he became for a time a popular designer of
landscape-gardens. He was appointed Royal Gardener at Hampton Court, and
laid out the lake at Blenheim. He was considered to excel in


Buontalenti, one of the leading Florentine architects of the sixteenth
century, was also distinguished as a sculptor and painter. He built the
villa of Pratolino and carried on the planning of the Boboli garden. His
other works in Florence are: the façades of the Palazzi Strozzi and
Riccardi, the Palazzo Acciajuoli (now Corsini), the corridor leading
from the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace, and the casino behind San Marco. At
Siena, Buontalenti built the Palazzo Reale, and at Pisa, the Loggia de’

                           CAMPORESI (PIETRO)
                             B. ——, d. 1781

Camporesi, a Roman architect, is mentioned as working with “Moore of
Rome” on the grounds of the Villa Borghese.


Several brothers of this name lived in Genoa between 1550 and 1650. They
were known as sculptors, painters and gilders, and workers in stucco.
The beautiful ceiling of the church of the Santissima Annunziata in
Genoa is known to be by one of the Carloni.

                            CASTELLI (CARLO)
                              XVII Century

Castelli, who completed the façade of Santa Maria alla Porta, in Milan,
was an architect of the school of Maderna. With Crivelli he laid out the
gardens of the Isola Bella, near Como.

                      CASTELLO (GIOVANNI BATTISTA)
                          CALLED IL BERGAMASCO

Giovanni Castello of Bergamo was a pupil of Alessi’s and distinguished
himself in fresco-painting and sculpture. In Genoa he remodelled the
Palazzo Pallavicini (now Cataldi) and built the Palazzo Imperiali.
Soprani (“Vite de’ Pittori, Scultori ed Architetti Genovesi”) says that
Il Bergamasco was court-architect to Philip II of Spain and worked on
the Escorial. Bryan, in his Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, states
that Il Bergamasco was employed on the Prado by Charles V, while his son
worked for Philip II.

                              XVII Century

This landscape-gardener worked with Carlo Castelli on the grounds of the
Isola Bella, near Como.

                            FERRI (ANTONIO)
                              XVII Century

Ferri, a Florentine architect, built the Villa Corsini near Florence,
and remodelled the Palazzo Corsini on the Lungarno.

                            FONTANA (CARLO)

Fontana, one of the most versatile and accomplished architects of his
day, was born at Bruciato, near Milan. He was called to Rome as
architect of St. Peter’s, and collaborated with Bernini on several
occasions. In Rome he built the palace of Monte Citorio, the façade of
San Marcello, and the Palazzo Torlonia. As a villa-architect his most
famous creation is the Garden Palace of Prince Liechtenstein in Vienna.
He built the palace on the Isola Bella, and the Villa Chigi, at
Cetinale, near Siena, is also attributed to him. He was the author of
works on the Vatican and on the antiquities of Rome.

                           FONTANA (GIOVANNI)

Giovanni Fontana, of Melide, near Lugano, excelled in everything
relating to hydraulic work. At the Villa Borghese in Rome, and in the
principal villas at Frascati (Aldobrandini, Taverna, Mondragone), he
introduced original designs for the waterworks. In Rome he built the
Palazzi Giustiniani and de’ Gori, and made the design for the Fontana
dell’ Acqua Paola, though he did not live to carry it out.

                      FRIGIMELICA (COUNT GIROLAMO)
                             XVIII Century

Count Frigimelica, an accomplished Venetian nobleman, built the church
of S. Gaetano at Vicenza, and collaborated with Prati in the
construction of the Villa Pisani at Strà.

                            JUVARA (FILIPPO)

Juvara, the most original and interesting Italian architect of the
eighteenth century, was a pupil of Carlo Fontana’s. His most important
work is the church of the Superga near Turin, and his principal
buildings are found in or near Turin: among them being the hunting-lodge
of Stupinigi and the churches of Santa Cristina and Santa Maria in
Carmine. The church of San Filippo in Turin was rebuilt by Juvara, and
the royal villa at Rivoli, as well as other villas in the environs of
Turin, show his hand. He remodelled the Palazzo Madama in Rome; at Lucca
he finished the Palazzo Reale; at Mantua the dome on the church of S.
Andrea is by him, and in Lisbon and Madrid, respectively, he built the
royal palaces.

                            LE NÔTRE (ANDRÉ)

Le Nôtre, the greatest of French landscape-gardeners, first studied
painting under Simon Vouet, together with Mignard, Lebrun and Lesueur,
then succeeded his father as superintendent of the royal gardens. Among
his great works are the gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte, at Sceaux, at
Chantilly, and the cascades and park at Saint-Cloud. The park of
Versailles, the gardens of the Trianon, of Clagny and of Marly, are
considered his masterpieces. When he visited Italy he remodelled the
grounds of the Villa Ludovisi. He was frequently consulted by the
Elector of Brandenburg and other notable foreigners.

                            LIGORIO (PIRRO)

Ligorio, the Neapolitan architect, was also distinguished as antiquary,
sculptor and engineer; he worked much in _sgraffiti_. He built the
beautiful Villa Pia in the Vatican gardens, and the Villa d’Este at
Tivoli, and made additions to the Vatican. The Library in Turin
possesses his numerous manuscripts, some of which have been published.
His best-known works are “An Attempt to Restore Ancient Rome” and “The
Restoration of Hadrian’s Villa,” the plates for which were engraved on
copper by Francesco Contini in 1751.

                            LIPPI (ANNIBALE)
                             B. ——, d. 1581

Lippi is generally said to have been the son of Nanni di Baccio Bigio,
the architect and sculptor, though some biographers declare them to have
been the same person. Assuming Lippi to have had a separate identity,
only two of his works are known: the church of S. Maria di Loreto, near
Spoleto, and the Villa Medici in Rome. His fame rests on the latter,
which became the model of the Roman _maison de plaisance_.

                         LONGHENA (BALDASSARE)

Longhena, the most distinguished architect of the late Renaissance in
Venetia, gave all his time and work to his native city. Among the
buildings he erected there are: S. Maria della Salute, S. Maria al
Scalzi, the Ospedaletto, the cloister and staircase in San Giorgio
Maggiore, the Palazzo Pesaro, and the Palazzo Rezzonico (now Zelinsky).

                              XVI Century

Lunghi, born at Viggiù in the Milanese, in the second half of the
sixteenth century, built the Villa Mondragone at Frascati, in 1567, for
Cardinal Marco d’Altemps. The villa was enlarged by Gregory VII, and
later by Paul V and his nephew, Cardinal Scipione Borghese.

                           MARCHIONNE (CARLO)

Marchionne was the architect of the Villa Albani near Rome, built in


The great architect, sculptor and painter, was born in Florence, where
he built the Laurentian Library and the chapel of S. Lorenzo, with the
cupola of the sacristy. In Rome he built the Palazzo de’ Conservatorii
on the Capitoline hill, the cornice of the Palazzo Farnese, the Porta
del Popolo and the Porta Pia. His model for the dome of St. Peter’s was
carried out except as to the lantern. Tradition assigns to him the Villa
ai Collazzi (now Bombicci) near Florence.


Fra Giovanni Montorsoli, a Florentine monk of the Servite Order, was a
sculptor, and studied under Michelangelo. He was early called to Genoa,
where he decorated the church of San Matteo (the church of the Doria
family) and built the famous villa in the harbour for the Admiral Andrea
Doria. The Villa Imperiali, at San Fruttuoso, near Genoa, is also
attributed to Montorsoli. One of his best works is the high altar in the
church of the Servi at Bologna.

                             MOORE (JACOB)

Moore, a Scotch landscape-painter—known as “Moore of Rome”—was
patronized by Prince Borghese, and remodelled the grounds of the Villa
Borghese in the style of the _jardin anglais_.

                              XVII Century

A Roman engineer of the name built some of the waterworks on the Isola
Bella, near Como, in the seventeenth century.

                            NOLLI (ANTONIO)
                             XVIII Century

Nolli laid out the grounds of the Villa Albani near Rome, in 1746.

                             NOLLI (PIETRO)
                             XVIII Century

Pietro Nolli is also mentioned as one of the landscape-gardeners who
laid out the Villa Albani.

                      OLIVIERI (ORAZIO) OF TIVOLI
                              XVI Century

Olivieri was employed as an engineer of the waterworks at the Villa
d’Este at Tivoli and the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati.

                           PALLADIO (ANDREA)

Palladio, the great Venetian architect, was born at Vicenza. He turned
the development of Italian Renaissance architecture in the direction of
pure classicalism, and was a master of proportion in building. At
Vicenza he rebuilt the Sala della Ragione, and built the Palazzi Tiene
and Valmarana and the Teatro Olimpico; while the Villa Capra or Rotonda,
near Vicenza, is his work, and also the Villa Giacomelli at Maser. In
Venice he erected the churches of San Giorgio Maggiore and Il Redentore,
also the Villa Malcontenta near Fusina on the Brenta. Palladio published
a “Treatise on Architecture” and “The Antiquities of Rome.”

                            PARIGI (GIULIO)
                             B. ——, d. 1635

Parigi was a Florentine architect, engineer and designer. As far as is
known, he worked entirely in Florence and its environs. He is the
architect of the court and arcade of Poggio Imperiale, the cloister of
S. Agostino, the Palazzo Marucelli (now Fenci), the Palazzo Scarlatti,
and a part of the Uffizi.

                          PERUZZI (BALDASSARE)

Peruzzi, who was both architect and painter, divided his time between
Rome and Siena, where he was born. He built the Villa Vicobello near
Siena, as well as that of Belcaro. The well-known Palazzo Massimi alle
Colonne in Rome is his work, also the Villa Trivulzio near Rome.

                      PIRANESI (GIOVANNI BATTISTA)

Piranesi, the famous Venetian etcher and engraver, was specially noted
for his etchings of famous buildings, and has been called “The Rembrandt
of Architecture.” He was also an architect, and worked on the church of
S. Maria del Popolo in Rome. While there he also remodelled the chapel
of the Priory of the Knights of Malta, and probably laid out the
grounds. Piranesi published over twenty folio volumes of engravings and

                           PONZIO (FLAMINIO)

Ponzio, a Lombard architect, built the loggia of the Villa Mondragone at
Frascati, and the Palazzo Sciarra, and finished the Borghese Chapel in
the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome.

                         PORTA (GIACOMO DELLA)

Della Porta, a Milanese architect, was a pupil of Vignola’s. His great
work was the finishing of the dome of St. Peter’s in Rome, in doing
which he followed Michelangelo’s plan, but improved the curve. His other
works in Rome were: the churches of Il Gesù, S. Luigi de’ Francesi, S.
Catarina de’ Funari, the Palazzo Paluzzi, the façade of the Palazzo
Chigi, the famous fountains in the Piazza d’Araceli and the Piazza
Navona (for which Bernini supplied the sculpture), and the Fontana delle
Tartarughe. In Genoa he finished the church of the S. S. Annunziata, and
he was employed on the Villa d’Este at Tivoli and the Villa Aldobrandini
at Frascati.

                             XVIII Century

Prati collaborated with Count Frigimelica in building the Villa Pisani,
at Strà near Venice, in the eighteenth century.

                          RAINALDI (GIROLAMO)

Rainaldi was a Roman and his principal works are in Rome. He planned the
church of S. Agnese; built the façade of S. Andrea della Valle, the
façade of S. Maria in Campitelli, and the Palazzo Pamphily on the Piazza
Navona. He added two pavilions to the Farnesina, and designed the
grounds of the Villa Borghese and the gardens of the Villa Mondragone at
Frascati. In Bologna he built the church of S. Lucia.

                             RAPHAEL SANZIO

Raphael succeeded Bramante as chief architect of St. Peter’s. His most
important villa is the famous Villa Madama near Rome. The Farnesina in
Rome was built by him, and he laid out the gardens of the Vatican. His
other works in Rome are the Palazzo Caffarelli (now Stoppani) and the
Capella Chigi. In Florence he designed the façades of the church of San
Lorenzo and of the Palazzo Pandolfini (now Nencini).

                           REPTON (HUMPHREY)

Repton, who was born at Bury St. Edmunds, began life as a merchant, but
having failed in his business, became a landscape-gardener. He published
“Observations on Landscape Gardening” (1803), and is the best-known
successor of “Capability Brown” in the naturalistic style of gardening.


As Raphael’s pupil, Giulio Romano painted the architectural backgrounds
of Raphael’s frescoes in the Vatican, and this led to his studying
architecture. His masterpiece is the Palazzo del Tè at Mantua, where he
also built a part of the Palazzo Ducale. He carried out Raphael’s
decorations in the Villa Madama.

                        RUGGIERI (ANTONIO MARIA)
                             XVIII Century

Ruggieri built the Villa Alario (now Visconti di Saliceto) on the
Naviglio near Milan, and the façade of the church of S. Firenze in
Florence. He also remodelled the interior of Santa Felicità in Florence,
and in Milan he built the Palazzo Cusani.


Antonio da Sangallo was a brother of Giuliano, and famous as a carver of
crucifixes. He altered Hadrian’s tomb in Rome into the Castle of St.
Angelo, and laid out a part of the Vatican gardens. The church of the
Madonna di S. Biagio in Montepulciano and the fortress of Cività
Castellana were built by him.


This Sangallo was a nephew of the other Antonio, and a pupil of
Bramante’s. After Raphael’s death he became the leading architect of St.
Peter’s. The fortress at Cività Vecchia is his work. In Rome he planned
the outer gardens of the Vatican and built the right-hand chapel in S.
Giacomo degli Spagnuoli, the beautiful Palazzo Marchionne Baldassini,
the Palazzo Sacchetti, and the greater part of the Palazzo Farnese.


Giuliano da Sangallo, the Florentine architect, was also noted as an
engineer and a carver in wood. His great work is the villa at Poggio a
Caiano near Florence, with a hall having the widest ceiling then known.
He also built the Villa Petraia at Castello, near Florence, and in or
near Florence the sacristy and cloister of San Spirito, the cloister for
the Frati Eremitani di S. Agostino, and the villa of Poggio Imperiale.
Among his other works are: the Palazzo Rovere near San Pietro in
Vincoli, in Rome, and the Palazzo Rovere at Savona. Sangallo also
constructed many fortresses. After Bramante’s death he worked with
Raphael on St. Peter’s.

                        SANSOVINO (JACOPO TATTI)

Sansovino, though a Florentine by birth, worked principally in Venice.
He was equally distinguished as sculptor and architect. In the latter
capacity he built in Venice the Zecca or Mint, the Loggietta, the
Palazzo Cornaro, the Palazzo Corner della Cá Grande, the Scala d’Oro in
the Doge’s palace, the churches of San Martino and San Fantino, and his
masterpiece, the Library of San Marco. In Rome the Palazzo Gaddi (now
Nicolini) was built by him.

                           SAVINO (DOMENICO)
                             XVIII Century

Savino is mentioned among the landscape-gardeners who remodelled the
grounds of the Villa Borghese.

                      TITO (SANTI DI) OF FLORENCE

Santi di Tito of Florence was known as an historical painter, and also
as a builder of villas at Casciano and Monte Oliveto. An octagonal villa
at Peretola was built by him, and he did some decorative work in the
Villa Pia. In Florence he built the Palazzo Dardinelli.

                     IL TRIBOLO (NICCOLÓ PERICOLI)

Il Tribolo, the Florentine sculptor, studied under Sansovino. He became
known for his beautiful designs in tile-work, of which the Villa
Castello near Florence shows many examples. He collaborated with
Ammanati in laying out the Boboli garden, and the great grotto at
Castello is his work.

                          UDINE (GIOVANNI DA)

Giovanni da Udine, born, as his name indicates, in the chief city of the
province of Friuli, was one of the most celebrated decorative artists of
his day. He studied under Giorgione and Raphael, and became noted for
his stained glass and for the invention of a stucco as durable as that
of the Romans. His stucco-work in the Villa Madama and in the loggias of
the Vatican is famous, and part of the decoration of the Borgia rooms in
the Vatican is his work. Michelangelo’s chapel of the Medici in Florence
was painted and decorated in stucco by Udine, and he carried out, in
painting, some of Raphael’s designs for the great hall of the Farnesina.
The Palazzo Grimani in Venice and the Palazzo Massimi alle Colonne in
Rome were partly decorated by him.

                           VAGA (PIERIN DEL)

Del Vaga, whose real name was Pietro Buonaccorsi, was born near
Florence. He was a pupil of Raphael’s, and after the latter’s death was
employed in finishing a part of his work in the Vatican. Almost all del
Vaga’s work was done in Genoa, where he painted the state apartments in
the Villa Doria. The charming plaster decorations in the Palazzo
Pallavicini (now Cataldi) are by him, and also the Hercules cycle in the
Palazzo Odero (now Mari).

                          VASANZIO (GIOVANNI)
                             B. ——, d. 1622

Vasanzio, known also as Il Fiammingo, but whose real name was John of
Xanten, was a Flemish architect who came to Italy and had considerable
success in Rome. He built the Villa Borghese in Rome and designed the
fountains of the inner court of the Villa Pia. He also worked on the
Villa Mondragone at Frascati and succeeded Flaminio Ponzio as architect
of the Palazzo Rospigliosi in Rome.

                            VASARI (GIORGIO)

Vasari, who was born at Arezzo, was a pupil of Michelangelo and Andrea
del Sarto. Though he considered himself a better painter than architect,
it is chiefly as the latter that he interests the modern student. He
built the court of the Uffizi in Florence and planned the Villa di Papa
Giulio in Rome; painted the ceiling of the great hall of the Palazzo
Vecchio in Florence, and carved the figure of Architecture on the tomb
of Michelangelo in Santa Croce. He is, however, chiefly famous for his
lives of the Italian painters and architects.

                      VIGNOLA (GIACOMO BAROZZI DA)

Vignola, one of the greatest architects of the sixteenth century, born
at Vignola, in the province of Modena, followed Michelangelo as the
architect of St. Peter’s. The Villa Lante at Bagnaia, near Viterbo, is
attributed to him. In Rome he built the celebrated Villa di Papa Giulio,
though the plan was Vasari’s; also the garden-architecture of the Orti
Farnesiani on the Palatine. His masterpiece is the palace at Caprarola,
near Viterbo. He also built the great Palazzo Farnese at Piacenza,
various buildings at Bologna, and the loggia of the Villa Mondragone at
Frascati. His church of the Gesù in Rome greatly influenced other
architects. His text-book on the Orders of Architecture is one of the
best-known works on the subject.


 Acqua Sola, gardens of, 42, 53

 Albani, Cardinal, 113

 Albani, Villa, Pietro Nolli’s work on, 110;
   Antonio Nolli’s work on, 113

 d’Albaro, San Francesco, villas at, 188

 Alessi, Galeazzo: Strada Nuova, 176;
   Villa Imperiali (Scassi), 179;
   Villa Paradiso, 189;
   Villa Cambiaso, 189

 Algardi, Alessandro, 109

 Ammanati, Bartolommeo, Boboli garden, 25;
   Villa di Papa Giulio, 84

 Anguissola, Count, 212

 Arethusa, grotto of, at Villa d’Este, 147

 Battaglia, castle of Cattajo at, 233

 Bernini, 185

 Bisuschio: _see_ Villa Cicogna

 Boboli garden, 25;
   Isola Bella in, 29

 Bologna, Giovanni da, 37;
   figure of the Apennines, 57

 Bombicci, Villa, 53

 Borghese, Cardinal Scipione, 148

 Borghese, Villa, 107

 Borromean Islands, 197

 Borromeo, Cardinal Charles, 201

 Borromeo, Count Vitaliano IV, 198

 Borromini, 163

 Botanic Garden at Padua, 239

 Bramante: Vatican gardens, 81;
   double staircase in the Vatican, 97

 Brenta, the, 233, 243

 Brown, “Capability,” 205

 Brunswick, Caroline of, 184

 Buonaccorsi: _see_ Vaga

 Buontalenti, 25

 Burnet, Bishop: description of Isola Bella,

 Cadenabbia, 214

 Cafaggiuolo, Villa, 30

 _Caffè_ at the Villa Albani, 114

 Cagnola, Villa, 219

 Cambiaso, Villa, 189

 Cambiaso, Villa: _see_ Paradiso

 Campi, Villa, 54

 Campiobbi, 48

 Camporesi, 108

 Canopus, Valley of, at Villa of Hadrian, 148

 Capra, Villa, at Vicenza, 246

 Caprarola, 97;
   Vignola’s casino, 131;
   _château d’eau_, 131

 Careggi, Villa, 30

 Carloni, the: statue of Neptune in Villa Doria, 175

 Carlotta, Villa, at Cadenabbia, 214

 Casino of the Aurora, 119

 Casino del Papa: _see_ Villa Pia

 Castelli: terraces on the Isola Bella, 198

 Castello, Giovanni Battista, 173

 Castello, Villa, 30

 Cattajo, castle of, 233

 Cecchignola, hunting-lodge of, 119

 Celimontana, Villa, 119

 Cetinale, Villa, 64;
   hermitage at, 66

 _Châteaux d’eau_ at the Villa Aldobrandini, 152;
   Villa Borghese, 107;
   Caprarola, 131;
   Villa Cicogna, 217;
   Palazzo Colonna, 119;
   Villa Conti, 155;
   Villa d’Este at Tivoli, 144;
   Villa Lante, 136;
   Lancellotti, 164;
   Mondragone, 151;
   Val San Zibio, 237

 Chigi, Flavio, 65

 Chigi, Villa, 117

 Cicogna, Villa, 214;
   _château d’eau_, 217

 Clement VII: _see_ Medici, Giuliano de’

 Colonna, Cardinal, 83

 Colonna, Palazzo, 118;
   _château d’eau_, 119

 Como, villa of Bishop of, 213

 Conti, Villa: _see_ Torlonia

 Cordova, Cardinal Bishop of, 140

 Corsini, Villa, 48

 Crivelli, Villa, near Inverigo, 218

 Crivelli: work on the Isola Bella, 198

 Cuzzano, Villa, 250

 Danti, Villa, 48, 57

 De’ Gori, Villa: _see_ Palazzina, La

 Durazzo-Grapollo, Villa, 186

 Dussieux, 110

 Este, Cardinal Ippolito d’, 140

 Este, Villa d’, at Cernobbio, 208

 Este, Villa d’, at Tivoli, 139;
   grotesque garden-architecture, 29;
   Ligorio’s work, 140;
   frescoes of the Zuccheri, 143

 Evelyn, description of Villa Medici, 89;
   of Villa Doria, 175

 Falconieri, Villa, 160

 Farnese, Cardinal Alexander, 127

 Farnese gardens, 97

 Ferrara, Alfonso I of, 140

 Ferri, Antonio, 48

 Fontana, Carlo: Cetinale, 65;
   palace and garden-pavilions on the Isola Bella, 198

 Fontana, Giovanni: Villa Borghese, 107;
   _théâtre d’eau_ at Mondragone, 151;
   waterworks at the Villa Aldobrandini, 152

 Fonte all’ Erta, 51

 Frascati, _jeux d’eaux_ in villas, 107;
   characteristic features of villas, 139

 Gallio, Cardinal, 184

 Gambara, Cardinal, 132

 Gamberaia, Villa, 45

 Garden, Botanic, at Padua, 239

 Garden-house at Caprarola, 131

 Garden-house at Strà, 244

   Acqua Sola, 185
   Boboli, 25
   Farnese, 97
   Florentine, English influence on, 21
   Genoese, characteristics of, 178
   Giusti, 250
   Pigna, 82
   Vatican, 98

 Genoa, villas of, 173

 Giacomelli, Villa, 249

 Giulio, Villa di Papa, 84

 Giusti gardens, 250

 Giustiniani, Villa, 174

 Grotto at Villa Castello, 34;
   at Villa d’Este, 147;
   at Villa Gamberaia, 45

 Hermitage at Cetinale, 66

 Imperiali, Villa, at Sampierdarena: _see_ Villa Scassi

 Imperiali, Villa, at San Fruttuoso, 190

 Isola Bella, Lake of Como, 198;
   Bishop Burnet’s description of, 201

 Isola Bella in Boboli garden, 29

 Isola Madre, Lake of Como, 197

 Julius III, 84

 Juvara, 231

 Lancellotti, Villa, 164

 Lante, Villa, 132;
   _château d’eau_, 136;
   gardens, 97

 Le Nôtre, 110, 139

 Ligorio, Pirro, 98;
   Casino del Papa, 98;
   Villa d’Este at Tivoli, 140

 Lippi, Annibale, 90

 Lomellini, Villa, 174

 Longhena, 232

 Ludovisi, Villa, 119

 _Maison de plaisance_, the, 22

 Malcontenta, Villa della, 245

 Malta, Villa of the Knights of, 117

 Marchionne, Carlo, 113

 Mattei, Villa, 119

 Medici, Eleonora de’, 25

 Medici, Giuliano de’ (Clement VII), 82

 Medici, Villa, 89

 Michelangelo: Villa Bombicci, 53;
   Villa di Papa Giulio, 84

 Modena, Villa of Duke of, at Varese, 224

 Mondragone, 97;
   work by Flaminio Ponzio, 148;
   Vignola’s loggia, 151;
   Giovanni Fontana’s _théâtre d’eau_, 151

 Montaigne: description of Castello, 33

 Montalto, Cardinal, 132

 Montorsoli, Fra., 174

 Moore, Jacob, 108

 Mora, 198

 Muti, Villa, 159

 Naples, King of, 83

 Negroni, Villa, 119

 Nolli, Antonio, 113

 Nolli, Pietro, 110

 Olivieri, Orazio, 147

 Padua, Botanic Garden, 239;
   Prato della Valle, 240

 Palazzina, La, 71;
   theatre at, 72

 Palladio, 180, 232

 Pallavicini, Villa, at Pegli, 185

 Pallavicini alle Peschiere, Villa, 185, 180

 Palmieri, Villa, 57

 Pamphily, Villa, 109; _théâtre d’eau_, 110

 Papa, Casino del: _see_ Villa Pia

 Papa Giulio, Villa di, 84

 Paradisino, Villa, 189

 Paradiso, Villa, 189

 Parigi, Giulio, 38

 Parma, Duchess of, 83

 Parodi, Palazzo, 177

 Peruzzi, Baldassare, at Belcaro, 63;
   at Vicobello, 69

 Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 38

 Petraia, Villa, 30;
   fountain at, 37

 Pia, Villa, 140

 Pigna, Giardino della, 82

 Piranesi, 117

 Pisani, Alvise, 243

 Pisani, Villa, at Strà, 244

 Pius IV, 98

 Pliniana, Villa, 212

 Poggio a Caiano, 30

 Poggio Imperiale, 38

 Ponzio, Flaminio, 148

 Porta, Giacomo della, 144;
   Villa Aldobrandini, 151

 Prati, 243

 Pratolino, Villa, 30, 57

 Priorato, Il: _see_ Villa of the Knights of

 Pulci, Castel, 57

 Rainaldi, Girolamo, 107

 Raphael, 82

 Repton, Humphrey, 205

 Riario, Cardinal, 132

 Ridolfi, Cardinal, 132

 Romano, Giulio, 82

 Rotonda Cagnola: _see_ Cagnola

 Rotonda Capra: _see_ Capra

 Rubens, 176

 Ruffini, Cardinal, 163

 Ruggieri, 223

 Sacchetti, Villa, 119

 Sampierdarena, 33

 Sangallo, Antonio da, 82;
   A. da Sangallo the Younger, 104

 Sangallo, Giuliano da, 38, 82

 Sansovino, 232

 Savino, 107

 Scassi, Villa, 179

 Sixtus V, 132

 Strà, Villa Pisani at, 244

 Strada Nuova in Genoa, 176

 Tiepolo: Villa Pisani, 244;
   Villa Valmarana, 249

 Tito, Santi di, 53

 Torlonia, Villa, 155

 Tribolo, Il: Boboli garden, 25;
   fountain at Castello, 33;
   at Petraia, 37

 Udine, Giovanni da, 83

 Vaga, Pierin del, 173

 Valmarana, Villa, 249

 Val San Zibio, Villa of, 237

 Vasanzio, Giovanni (Il Fiammingo), 107

 Vasari, 84

 Vatican, gardens of, 81

 Venetia, villa-architecture of, 232

 Vigna del Papa: _see_ Villa di Papa Giulio

 Vignola: Villa di Papa Giulio, 84;
   Farnese gardens, 97;
   Caprarola, 131;
   loggia at Mondragone, 151

   Ai Collazzi: _see_ Bombicci
   Alario: _see_ Visconti di Saliceto
   Albani, 110, 113
   Aldobrandini, 151
   Belcaro, 63
   Belrespiro: _see_ Pamphily
   Bombicci, 53
   Borghese, 107
   Cafaggiuolo, 30
   Cagnola, 219
   Cambiaso (Paradiso), 189
   Cambiaso, by Alessi, 189
   Campi, 54
   Capponi at Arcetri, 48
   Capra, 246
   Caprarola, 97
   Careggi, 30
   Carlotta, 214
   Castel Pulci, 57
   Celimontana, 119
   Cetinale, 64
   Chigi, 117
   Cicogna, 214
   Conti: _see_ Torlonia
   Corsini, 48
   Crivelli, 218
   Cuzzano, 250
   Danti, 48, 57
   De’ Gori: _see_ Palazzina, La
   Doria in Genoa, 175
   Durazzo-Grapollo, 186
   d’Este at Cernobbio, 184
   d’Este at Tivoli, 139
   Falconieri, 160
   Fonte all’ Erta, 51
   Gamberaia, 41
   Giacomelli, 249
   Giustiniani, 174
   Imperiali at San Fruttuoso, 190
   Imperiali: _see_ Scassi
   Isola Bella, 198
   Lancellotti, 164
   Lante, 97
   Lappeggi, 57
   Lomellini, 174
   Ludovisi, 119
   Madama, 82
   Malcontenta, 245
   Malta, of the Knights of, 117
   Medici, 89
   Mondragone, 97
   Muti, 159
   Negroni, 119
   Palazzina, La, 71
   Pallavicini at Pegli, 185
   Pallavicini alle Peschiere, 185
   Palmieri, 57
   Pamphily, 109
   di Papa Giulio, 84
   Paradisino, 189
   Paradiso: _see_ Cambiaso
   Petraia, 30
   Pia, 140
   Pisani, 244
   Pliniana, 212
   Poggio a Caiano, 30
   Poggio Imperiale, 30
   Pratolino, 57
   Priorato, del: _see_ Malta
   Rotonda: _see_ Cagnola and Capra
   Sacchetti, 119
   Scassi, 179
   Torlonia, 155
   Valmarana, 249
   Val San Zibio, 237
   Vicobello, 69
   Visconti di Saliceto, 220

 _Villa suburbana_, the, 22

 Villas of the Brenta, 240;
   of the Brianza, 218;
   Florentine, 19;
   Genoese, 173;
   Milanese, 197;
   Roman, 81;
   Sienese, 63;
   Venetian, 231

 Vismara, 198

 Xanten, John of: _see_ Vasanzio

 Zocchi, etchings by, 33

 Zuccheri, the, 85, 143


Transcriber’s note:

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors.

 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.

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