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The Seduction of the Renaissance
Join us on one of our most fascinating private Rome tours, in a beautiful villa where you can almost breathe the air of the Renaissance. Villa Farnesina, with its richly decorated rooms and spacious garden, evokes the climate of enthusiasm and freedom of the time period. The Renaissance was characterized, even before it was known for the rediscovery of Classical art, by the re-evaluation of the human experience - what we perceive, what we see and what compels us. It's no coincidence that Renaissance art rediscovers the naturalistic representation of reality, centers on human figures, and often depicts man and woman in their spontaneous nudity and innate beauty. The vibrant scenes of a dashing Cupid and a beautiful Psyche frescoed on the immense ceiling of the entrance hall of Villa Farnesina certainly grab any visitor's attention.
On your exclusive Villa Farnesina Tour you will explore an elegant Renaissance home with a knowledgeable private guide. Despite its central location in the middle of Trastevere, just a short walk from the Vatican, the Villa Farnesina is overlooked by most visitors to Rome. It remains one of the Eternal City’s hidden gems, a tranquil private home that attracts discerning art lovers, and those looking for a unique private tour of Rome.
The Villa's Owner: Agostino Chigi
Agostino Chigi, the Sienese banker who undertook the construction of the villa in 1506, lived in Rome in the golden years of the Renaissance. In these years dozens of great artists, led by Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo, were in the city and worked mainly for the greater glory of popes and cardinals, and to satisfy a wider thirst for beautiful art.
Agostino Chigi was no different; despite not being a man of pronounced culture, he was a great lover of art.He had amassed an immense fortune, mostly thanks to the exclusive access to the alum (a mineral salt used in fabric dying) mines of Tolfa 50 kilometers from Rome given to him by Pope Alexander VI Borgia at the end of the fifteenth century. The exponential increase in the production of luxury products during the Renaissance gave Agostino enormous sums of money, which were further augmented by the profits of his bank. Chigi’s bank lent money to the popes themselves, from the aforementioned Alexander VI to Julius II and Leo X Medici, all of whom were engaged in the great building activity of the Vatican.
Chigi had a particularly close friendship with Pope Julius II, who was one of the first visitors to Villa Farnesina, Chigi’s new home, in the summer of 1511. Agostino, at that time over 50 years old, had lost his first wife in 1508 and had been entwined for years in a relationship with Imperia, one of the most famous and cultured courtesans of the time. In 1511, he met a beautiful girl of humble origins, Francesca Ordeaschi, who he fell in love with and lived with for years. At the end of August 1519, he married her in a solemn ceremony followed by a wedding banquet that became legendary, its opulence and abundance noted by many contemporary sources. Most of the Villa's great frescoes, celebrating love, its labors and its passions, were conceived for this occasion.
Our tour of Villa Farnesina
Our private Rome tour covers the various halls of the Villa Farnesina, such as the Loggia di Galatea, the Loggia of Cupid and Psyche, the Hall of the Perspectives and the Wedding Hall, which open a window onto the intimate life of the rich and powerful of the time. The Loggia of Galatea, besides having a cycle of frescoes on the vaulting linked to the horoscope of Agostino Chigi, preserves the splendid Galatea of Raphael, a triumph of the beauty of the nymph Galatea, shown supported by a shell floating on the water in a festive procession of mythical figures that Raphael depicts with lightness and refined sensuality.
The Hall of the Perspectives, frescoed with rural and urban landscapes that create the illusion of an immense portico, was the place where Agostino Chigi held his never-ending, extravagant wedding banquet in 1519. In addition to the sixteenth century panelled ceiling, the Wedding Hall also has outstanding frescoes of the wedding of Alexander the Great and the beautiful Roxana, drawing a clear parallel with the wedding of the banker and his bride.
The Hall of Cupid and Psyche transports the visitor to a mythical world of exuberant beauty and festivity. The innumerable vicissitudes of the beautiful Psyche and her tormented affair with the no-less-beautiful and divine Cupid are suspended on the immense ceiling among gigantic depictions of garlands of flowers and fruits; the effect is truly spellbinding. The narration culminates in the central scene of the wedding banquet celebrated by Cupid and Psyche, in the presence of all the gods of Olympus, under a shower of flowers and perfume. Divine celebration for the greatest love story of all time...
Join us on this luxury Rome tour to discover the myriad splendors of the Renaissance.
In front of the entrance to the Villa Farnesina
This is a walking tour through a museum, we recommend comfortable shoes and a bottle of water
Sep 24, 2019
Claudia Van den Brande
Oct 26, 2018
Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for Rome's inspiring cultural heritage. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!