German Academy Rome at Villa Massimo


A fascinating arts residence in the heart of Quartiere Nomentano

Philanthropist Eduard Arnhold purchased Villa Massimo in 1910 and commissioned a creative haven for artists comprised of a central villa with several ateliers nestled among cypress trees, Roman vases, sarcophagi and classical statues.

The Academy’s founder: between arts and social commitment

Not only was Arnhold one of the most successful entrepreneurs under the Republic of Weimar but, also a social benefactor and major art collector. Although Arnhold himself never received a formal education, his commitment to youth empowerment through learning was extraordinary. One of his most visionary projects – at least for his epoch – was the construction of a girls’ orphanage, “ge, “Johannaheim”, which included a school.


Italy as an inspirational oasis

Arnhold was fascinated by the Italian sense of aesthetics and set up his artistic home in Villa Bellagio in Fiesole (Florence) before deciding to build an official residence in Rome.

Even before finalizing the construction works, Arnhold donated the Villa to the Prussian Government: he hoped to create a place for writers, musicians, architects, and visual artists to study and work. For himself, he reserved the right to occasionally reside in the mansion and to participate in the selection and awarding of three scholars. Unfortunately, he would never be able to appreciate the villa’s treasures because the institute will be returned to the German State only in 1929, four years after his death.

villa massimo festa estate

Today, the German Academy awards a prestigious fellowship to 10 promising German talents who receive a studio, living space, and access to the main Roman institutions. In addition, the Academy offers a wide range of exhibitions, concerts, readings, as well as outdoor activities that are open to the public.

In June, Villa Massimo holds its annual Festa dell’Estate, while in November, the Academia presents the end of the year scholarship exhibition. Throughout the year, the Academy hosts various studio openings, concerts and lectures.

Villa Serpentaria

Villa Massimo isn’t the only property owned by the German Academy. Located about 50 km south of Rome, Villa Serpentaria – whose name seems to refer to the tangled trees that populate the local woods –is a residence full of history.

It is here, in Olevano Romano, following the Romanticism’s artistic flow, away from the Capital’s bustle, that artists from all over Europe would meet, connect and exchange precious knowledge.

Inspired by the prosperous vegetation and the mild climate, since 1873, painters, architects and sculptors have come and gone from these hills, preserving the community’s spirit of learning, enriching their artistic journey. Still today, Villa Serpentaria hosts the Academy’s guests and scholars, providing a creative space in a pristine natural setting.


Largo di Villa Massimo, 1-2

Discover Foreign Academies and Institutes in Rome

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest news, events, and insights from Rome

By subscribing you agree with our privacy policy.

Tags from the story
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *