A Renaissance Villa that was gorgeously frescoed by Raphael
Between the idyllic neighbourhood of Trastevere and the enchanting Botanical Garden yet another forbidden love story is waiting to be discovered. It is here in the Villa Farnesina that the young artist Raphael painted the famous frescoes of Amor and Psyche in his workshop in the early years of the sixteenth century. Surrounded by festive garlands of fruit and flowers that enhance the effect of unity between the palazzo and the garden, you can admire the scenes of the handsome god of love and his beautiful but mortal wife. Suggestions have been made that Psyche here portrays Imperia, the gorgeous courtesan with whom the commissioner of the work, the rich banker Agostino Chigi, had an affair. This patron and fanatic art lover also commissioned the wonderful frescoes in the other rooms and so wandering through the villa gives you a good hint of how advantageous it could be to be loaded and well-read in the Rome of 500 years ago.
You can immerse yourself in the wondrous world of the sea nymph Galatea, become part of the heroic works of the semi-god Hercules and witness the matrimony of Alexander the Great and his beloved Roxanne. The light-hearted interior of the quintessential Renaissance palazzo can provide a perfect counterbalance to a day normally full of spotting crucified martyrs and weeping Virgin Mary’s. Moreover, the sensuous nudity of the pagan gods gives evidence of what was at that time an unprecedented lasciviousness. No time to waste allora.
Via della Lungara, 230 (Trastevere)
Mon-Sat 9am-2pm – Closed Sunday Guided tours on Monday, Friday and Saturday at 12.30 Guided tours in English on Saturday at 10am
Entry fee €6 (included the exhibition “Verdi e Roma” at Palazzo Corsini, Via della Lungara 10)