There are plenty of beautiful villas in Rome but Villa Medici – with its enviable position overlooking the entire city, exquisite 18 acres of gardens filled with fountains and sculptures, acclaimed artists in residence and sophistication and cultural heritage owing to its two-thousand-year history – is veramente a Roman experience you will not forget. I say experience because the villa, which is also the head of the French Academy, and its gardens are open to the public for guided tours (from Tuesday to Sunday, available in Italian, Engish and French). You’ll be taken on an architectural, cultural and artistic journey that will leave you feeling as though you were in an Italian fairytale.
The villa was acquired by Fernando de’ Medici in 1576 and in 1666 Louis XIV established the French Academy and decided to send the best artists and sculptors of France to live and be inspired in Rome while studying the classics. We’re talking serious beauty here – Villa Medici has hosted artists from all over the world, including once upon a time, Boucher, Fragonard, Houdon and Jacques-Louis David.
After the tour you may find yourself chatting with one of the current artists in residence in the caffetteria, where you can have lunch or grab a coffee with a view out over the rooftops of Rome.
The French Academy at Villa Medici provides exhibitions and festivals throughout the year. Every thursday, a major figure from the art world is invited at Villa Medici to share with its public the main topics that shape his work (see I giovedì della Villa – Questions d’art).
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Viale Trinità dei Monti, 1
Tuesday to Sunday, 9.30 am-5.30pm (6:30 if there is an exhibition)
Villa Medici:’s Guided Tours: €12 (€6 reduced). The ticket includes the guided tour of the Villa, the gardens and the temporary exhibition.
Entry fee to exhibition only: €6