Villa Giulia


The Villa Giulia is a villa in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , fo ...

Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of delimited by the and surrounding it, whose territory largely coincides with the . Italy is located in the centre of th ...

. It was built by
Pope Julius III The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as supreme pontiff ( or ), Roman pontiff () or sovereign pontiff, is the bishop of Rome, head of the worldwide Catholic Church The Catholic Church, ...

Pope Julius III
in 1551–1553 on what was then the edge of the city. Today it is publicly owned, and houses the Museo Nazionale Etrusco, a collection of
Etruscan__NOTOC__ Etruscan may refer to: Ancient civilisation *The Etruscan language, an extinct language in ancient Italy *Something derived from or related to the Etruscan civilization **Etruscan architecture **Etruscan art **Etruscan cities **Etruscan ...
art and artifacts.



The villa was built in an area of Rome known as the 'Vigna Vecchia' (which was once against the
city walls A defensive wall is a fortification A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically officially authorize ...
), lying on the slopes of ''Monte Parioli'', as a 'Villa Suburbana' and a place of repose.


The pope, a highly literate connoisseur of the arts, assigned the initial design of the building to
Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola 250px, The five orders, engraving from Vignola's ''Regola delli cinque ordini d'architettura''. Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola ( , , ; 1 October 15077 July 1573), often simply called Vignola, was one of the great Italian architects of 16th century ...
in 1551–1553. The nymphaeum and other garden structures, however, were designed by Bartolomeo Ammanati, all under the supervision of Giorgio Vasari. Michelangelo also worked there. Pope Julius took a direct interest in the villa's design and decor and spent vast amounts of money on enhancing its beauties. Villa Giulia became one of the most delicate examples of Mannerist architecture. Only a small part of the original property has survived intact, comprising three vineyards which extended down to the Tiber, and to which the pope traveled often by boat. The villa, as was customary, had an urban entrance (on the Roman Via Flaminia) and a formal but rural garden entrance. The villa itself was on the threshold between two worlds, that of the city and that of the country, an essentially Roman concept. A medal struck in 1935 shows the villa as substantially complete, but with a pair of cupolas which were never executed. Vignola's urban front of the building is a somber two-story facade with each story being given equal value. It has at its centre the triple rhythm of a richly detailed Rustication (architecture), rusticated triumphal arch flanked by symmetrical wings of two bays only. The facade is terminated at each end by Doric order, Doric pilasters. In this facade of the Villa Giulia is the genesis of the seven-bay 18th century Georgian architecture, Georgian villa, which was reproduced as far away as the Tidewater region of Virginia. The rear of the building has Vignola's large hemispherical loggia overlooking the first of three courtyards, laid out as a simple parterre. At its rear the visitor passes through the ''Casina (architecture), casina'', which again has a hemispherical rear facade, enclosing paired flights of re-entrant marble steps that give access to the heart of the villa complex: a two-story Nympheum for alfresco dining during the heat of the summer. This three-levelled structure of covered loggias, decorated with marble statuary, reclining river gods in niches, and balustrading, is constructed around a central fountain. Here in this cool environment, sheltered from the blazing sun, day-long picnics would be held. The central fountain, ''Fontana dell'Acqua Vergine'', was designed and sculpted by Vasari and Ammannati: it depicts river gods and caryatids. The fountain's source, the Acqua Vergine, also supplies the Trevi Fountain in Rome. The ''Casino della Vigna'' ("little house in the vineyard"), as it was sometimes known, and its gardens were set in the midst of vineyards, which could be viewed from shaded arcades on the outsides of the garden walls. Papal parties embarked on boats at the gates of Apostolic Palace, the Vatican and were transported up the Tiber to the villa's long-gone private landing stage.

Later history

Following Pope Julius' death, his successor Pope Paul IV confiscated all the properties he had assembled; the villa was divided, and the main building and part of the gardens became the property of the Camera apostolica. The Villa was reserved for the use of the new pope's House of Borromeo, Borromeo nephews. It was restored in 1769 on the initiative of Pope Clement XIV, confiscated by the new state of Kingdom of Italy, Italy in 1870, and given over to the National Etruscan Museum in the early 20th century.


Villa Giulia modified.jpg, Villa Giulia façade, Giorgio Vasari Villa giulia, primo cortile, 01.jpg, Villa Giulia court, Giorgio Vasari Villa giulia, primo cortile, emiciclo 03.jpg, Semicircular portico at the rear of the Casino, Vignola Villa giulia, portici con affreschi di pietro venale e altri, 01.jpg, Semicircular portico at the rear of the Casino, Vignola File:Villa giulia, secondo cortile, ninfeo 17.jpg, Nymphaeum loggia, detail, Bartolomeo Ammanati Villa giulia, secondo cortile, ninfeo 01.jpg , Nymphaeum loggia, Bartolomeo Ammanati

See also

*Valle Giulia *The Sol Wurtzel House in Bel Air, Los Angeles, designed by Wallace Neff and modelled on the Villa Giulia


*Coolidge, John. (1943) ''Art Bulletin'' 25. *David R. Coffin. (1979) ''The Villa in the Life of Renaissance Rome''

External links

Official website

{{Coord, 41, 55, 06, N, 12, 28, 40, E, region:IT-RM_type:landmark, display=title Mannerist architecture in Italy Villas in Rome, Giulia National Etruscan Museum Rome Q. III Pinciano Houses completed in 1553