The Villa della Farnesina alla Lungara, in the heart of Rione Trastevere, is one of the noblest and harmonious creations of the Italian Renaissance.
The wealthy Sienese-born banker Agostino Chigi built it as his residence, in the most splendid period of his life, away from the troubles and the gloomy townhouse in Via dei Banchi. The project, developed between 1505 and 1520, was by Baldassarre Peruzzi.
In 1511, the villa, whose viridarium was watered by the Tiber, was already there and partly decorated. Agostino Chigi, called The Magnificent, lived his splendid life as a patron of the Renaissance amid riches and honors. The banker was also the protector of artists and a friend of princes and cardinals, whom he loved to receive in his home.
The residence, frescoed according to an iconographic program of extraordinary richness, aimed at celebrating the client. The most celebrated artists of the period, including Peruzzi himself, worked at it. Among them, Sebastiano del Piombo, Sodoma, and Raffaello Sanzio, who with his school created the splendid Loggia di Amore and Psiche and the fresco of the nymph Galatea.
Memorable were the banquets organized by Agostino Chigi, who welcomed the most distinguished personalities of his time, including poets, princes, cardinals, and the pontiff himself. The chroniclers of the time recall, for example, that in 1518, on the occasion of his eldest son Lorenzo Leone's baptism, the gold and silver furnishings used for the banquet were thrown into the Tiber as a sign of magnificence. Even if it seems that the clever banker had secretly spread nets in the river, thus recovering the precious pottery. Among the most sumptuous lunches, we can recall the one set up in the splendidly decorated stables of the villa, as if to demonstrate that the stables of the Chigi family were more luxurious than the halls of the Palazzo Riario under construction right in front.
After all that splendor during Agostino's life, in the villa bivouacked the Lanzichenecchi during the sack of Rome. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese The Younger purchased it in 1590. From his family name comes the title of Farnesina to distinguish it from Palazzo Farnese, on the other side of the river. Michelangelo's project was to build a bridge over the Tiber that should have connected the two properties of the Farnese family.
In 1735, the villa passed with the inheritance of Elisabetta Farnese to Charles IV Bourbon, until Francis II granted it in emphyteusis for 99 years to the Spanish ambassador in Naples, Salvador Bermudez de Castro, Duke of Ripalta.
In 1927, the Italian State purchased Villa Farnesina as the seat of the Accademia d'Italia.
Since 1944, it has been the representative office of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, located in Palazzo Corsini.
The entrance is from the rear facade - the main façade is the one with two side projections. The villa construction and decoration are strictly linked to the garden and the villa itself, each representing the ideal continuation of the other.
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