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Copyright, 1903, 1904, by 
The Century Co. 

Published November, igo4 

















I Caprarola and Lante 127 

II Villa d'Este 139 

III Frascati 148 








Villa Campi, near Florence Frontispiece 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

The Reservoir, Villa Falconieri, Frascati 4 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

The Cascade, Villa Torlonia, Frascati 9 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Fountain of Venus, Villa Petraja, Florence 18 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Gamberaia at Settignano, near F"lorence 20 

Drawn by C. A. Vanderhoof, from a Photograph. 

Boboli Garden, Florence 24 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Entrance to Upper Garden, Boboli Garden, Florence .... 27 

From a Photograph. 

Cypress Alley, Boboli Garden, Florence 31 

From a Photograph. 

Ilex-walk, Boboli Garden, Florence ... 36 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Gamberaia, near Florence 39 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

View of Amphitheatre, Boboli Garden, Florence 44 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Corsini, Florence 49 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Vicobello, Siena 62 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 




La Palazzina (Villa Gori), Siena 67 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrisli. 

The Theatre at La Palazzina, Siena 73 

Drawn by MaxfieUl Parrish. 

The Dome of St. Peter's, from the Vatican Gardens .... 80 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Entrance to Forecourt, Villa Borghese, Rome 87 

From a Photograph. 

Grotto, Villa di Papa Giulio, Rome 91 

From a Photograph. 

Temple of .^Esculapius, Villa Borghese, Rome 96 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Medici, Rome 100 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Courtyard Gate of the Villa Pia, Vatican Gardens 102 

Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph. 

Villa Pia — In the Gardens of the Vatican 105 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Gateway of the Villa Borghese 108 

Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph. 

Villa Chigi, Rome in 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Parterres on Terrace, Villa Belrespiro (Pamphily-Doria), Rome . 116 

From a Photograph. 

View from Lower Garden, Villa Belrespiro (Pamphily-Doria), 

Rome 121 

From a Photograph. 

Villa d'Este, Tivoli 126 

Draw-n by Maxfield Parrish. 

Villa Caprarola 129 

From a retouched Photograph. 

The Casino, Villa Farnese, Caprarola 133 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Lante, Bagnaia 138 

From a Photograph. 




The Pool, Villa d'Este, Tivoli 141 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Villa Lante, Bagnaia 145 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Cascade and Rotunda, Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati .... 149 

From a Pliotograph. 

Garden of Villa Lancellotti, Frascati 153 

From a Pliotograph. 

Casino, Villa Falconieri, Frascati 157 

From a Photograph. 

The Entrance, Villa Falconieri, Frascati 161 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Lancellotti, Frascati i5r 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Scassi, Genoa 172 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

A Garden-niche, Villa Scassi, Genoa ........ 181 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Villa Cicogna, Bisuschio jg5 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Villa Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore 20^ 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

In the Gardens of Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore 210 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Villa Cicogna, from the Terrace above the House 216 

From a Photograph. 

Villa Pliniana, Lake Como 221 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Iron Gates of the Villa Alario (now Visconti di Saliceto) . . . 224 

Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph. 

Railing of the Villa Alario 225 

Drawn by Malcolm Fraser, from a Photograph. 

Gateway of the Botanic Garden, Padua 230 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 




View at Val San Zibio, near Battaglia 235 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Plan of the Botanic Garden, Padua 239 

Drawn by E. Denison, from Sketch by the Author. 

Val San Zibio, near Battaglia 241 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 

Gateway, Villa Pisani, Stra 244 

Drawn by E. Denison, from a Photograph. 

Villa Valmarana, Vicenza 247 

Drawn by Maxfield Parrish. 







THOUGH it is an exaggeration to say that there 
are no flowers in ItaHan gardens, yetto enjoy and 
appreciate the ItaHan garden-craft one must 
always bear in mind that it is independent gf floriculture. 
The Italian garden does not exist for its flowers ; 
its flowers exist for it: they are a late and infrequent 
adjunct to its beauties, a parenthetical grace counting 
only as one more touch in the general effect of en- 
chantment. This is no doubt partly explained by the 
difficulty of cultivating any but spring flowers in so hot 
and dry a climate, and the result has been a wonderful 
development of the more permanent effects to be ob- 
tained from the three other factors in garden-composi- 
tion — marble, water and perennial verdure — and the 
achievement, by their skilful blending, of a charm inde- 
pendent of the seasons. 

It is hard to explain to the modern garden-lover, 



whose whole conception of the charm of gardens is formed 
of successive pictures of flower-lovehness, how this effect 
of enchantment can be produced by anything so dull 
and monotonous as a mere combination of clipped green 
and stone-work. 

The traveller returning from Italy, with his eyes and 
imagination full of the ineffable Italian garden-magic, 
knows vaguely that the enchantment exists ; that he has 
been under its spell, and that it is more potent, more 
enduring, more intoxicating to every sense than the 
most elaborate and glowing effects of modern horticul- 
ture ; but he may not have found the key to the mys- 
tery. Is it because the sky is bluer, because the vege- 
tation is more luxuriant? Our midsummer skies are 
almost as deep, our foliage is as rich, and perhaps more 
varied ; there are, indeed, not a few resemblances be- 
tween the North American summer climate and that of 
Italy in spring and autumn. 

Some of those who have fallen under the spell are 
inclined to ascribe the Italian garden-magic to the effect 
of time ; but, wonder-working as this undoubtedly is, it 
leaves many beauties unaccounted for. To seek the 
answer one must go deeper : the garden must be studied 
in relation to the house, and both in relation to the land- 
scape. The garden of the Middle Ages, the garden one 
sees in old missal illuminations and in early woodcuts, 
was a mere patch of ground within the castle precincts, 
where "simples" were grown around a central well- 



head and fruit was espaliered against the walls. But 
in the rapid flowering of Italian civilization the castle 
walls were soon thrown down, and the garden expanded, 
taking in the fish-pond, the bowling-green, the rose- 
arbour and the clipped walk. The Italian country house, 
especially in the centre and the south of Italy, was 
almost always built on a hillside, and one day the 
architect looked forth from the terrace of his villa, and 
saw that, in his survey of the garden, the enclosing 
landscape was naturally included : the two formed a 
part of the same composition. 

The recognition of this fact was the first step in the 
development of the great garden-art of the Renaissance: 
the next was the architect's discovery of the means by 
which nature and art might be fused in his picture. He 
had now three problems to deal with : his garden must be 
adapted to the architectural lines of the house it adjoined; 
it must be adapted to the requirements of the inmates of 
the house, in the sense of providing shady walks, sunny 
bowling-greens, parterres and orchards, all conveniently 
accessible ; and lastly it must be adapted to the land- 
scape around it. At no time and in no country has this 
triple problem been so successfully dealt with as in the 
treatment of the Italian country house from the begin- 
ning of the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth cen- 
tury ; and in the blending of different elements, the 
subtle transition from the fixed and formal lines of art 
to the shifting and irregular lines of nature, and lastly 



in the essential convenience and livableness of the gar- 
den, lies the fundamental secret of the old garden-magic. 

However much other factors may contribute to the 
total impression of charm, yet by eliminating them one 
after another, by thinking away the flowers, the sunlight, 
the rich tinting of time, one finds that, underlying all 
these, there is the deeper harmony of design which is 
independent of any adventitious effects. This does not 
imply that a plan of an Italian garden is as beautiful as 
the garden itself. The more permanent materials of 
which the latter is made — the stonework, the evergreen 
foliage, the effects of rushing or motionless water, above 
all the lines of the natural scenery — all form a part of 
the artist's design. But these things are as beautiful at 
one season as at another ; and even these are but the 
accessories of the fundamental plan. The inherent 
beauty of the garden lies in the grouping of its parts — 
in the converging lines of its long ilex-walks, the alter- 
nation of sunny open spaces with cool woodland shade, 
the proportion between terrace and bowling-green, or 
between the height of a wall and the width of a path. 
None of these details was negligible to the landscape- 
architect of the Renaissance : he considered the distri- 
bution of shade and sunlight, of straight lines of masonry 
and rippled lines of foliage, as carefully as he weighed 
the relation of his whole composition to the scene 
about it. 

Then, again, any one who studies the old Italian 




gardens will be struck with the way in which the archi- 
tect broadened and simplified his plan if it faced a 
grandiose landscape. Intricacy of detail, complicated 
groupings of terraces, fountains, labyrinths and porti- 
coes, are found in sites where there is no great sweep 
of landscape attuning the eye to larger impressions. 
The farther north one goes, the less grand the land- 
scape becomes and the more elaborate the garden. The 
great pleasure-grounds overlooking the Roman Cam- 
pagna are laid out on severe and majestic lines : the 
parts are few ; the total effect is one of breadth and 

It is because, in the modern revival of gardening, so 
little attention has been paid to these first principles of 
the art that the garden-lover should not content himself 
with a vague enjoyment of old Italian gardens, but 
should try to extract from them principles which may 
be applied at home. He should observe, for instance, 
that the old Italian garden was meant to be lived in — 
a use to which, at least in America, the modern garden 
is seldom put. He should note that, to this end, the 
grounds were as carefully and conveniently planned as 
the house, with broad paths (in which two or more 
could go abreast) leading from one division to another ; 
with shade easily accessible from the house, as well as 
a sunny sheltered walk for winter ; and with effective 
transitions from the dusk of wooded alleys to open 
flowery spaces or to the level sward of the bowling- 

I 1 


green. He should remember that the terraces and 
formal gardens adjoined the house, that the ilex or 
laurel walks beyond were clipped into shape to effect a 
transition between the straight lines of masonry and the 
untrimmed growth of the woodland to which they led, 
and that each step away from architecture was a nearer 
approach to nature. 

The cult of the Italian garden has spread from Eng- 
land to America, and there is a general feeling that, by 
placing a marble bench here and a sun-dial there, Italian 
" effects " may be achieved. The results produced, 
even where much money and thought have been ex- 
pended, are not altogether satisfactory ; and some critics 
have thence inferred that the Italian garden is, so to 
speak, tintranslatable, that it cannot be adequately ren- 
dered in another landscape and another age. 

Certain effects, those which depend on architectural 
grandeur as well as those due to colouring and age, are 
no doubt unattainable ; but there is, none the less, much 
to be learned from the old Italian gardens, and the first 
lesson is that, if they are to be a real inspiration, they 
must be copied, not in the letter but in the spirit. That 
is, a marble sarcophagus and a dozen twisted columns 
wull not make an Italian garden ; but a piece of ground 
laid out and planted on the principles of the old garden- 
craft will be, not indeed an Italian garden in the literal 
sense, but, what is far better, a garden as well adapted 
to its siirroimdings as were the models which inspired if. 



This is the secret to be learned from the villas of 
Italy ; and no one who has looked at them with this 
object in view will be content to relapse into vague ad- 
miration of their loveliness. As Brownmg, in passing 
Cape St. Vincent and Trafalgar Bay, cried out : 

" Here and here did England help me : how can I help 
England ? " — say, 

SO the garden-lover, who longs to transfer something 
of the old garden-magic to his own patch of ground at 
home, will ask himself, in wandering under the umbrella- 
pines of the Villa Borghese, or through the box-par- 
terres of the Villa Lante : What can I bring away from 
here ? And the more he studies and compares, the 
more inevitably will the answer be : " Not this or that 
amputated statue, or broken bas-relief, or fragmentary 
effect of any sort, but a sense of the informing spirit — 
an understanding of the gardener's purpose, and of the 
uses to which he meant his garden to be put." 





FOR centuries Florence has been celebrated for 
her villa-clad hills. According to an old chron- 
icler, the country houses were more splendid 
than those in the town, and stood so close-set among 
their olive-orchards and vineyards that the traveller 
"thought himself in Florence three leagues before 
reaching the city." 

Many of these houses still survive, strongly planted 
on their broad terraces, from the fifteenth-century farm- 
house-villa, with its projecting eaves and square tower, 
to the many-windowed maison de plaisance in which 
the luxurious nobles of the seventeenth century spent 
the gambling and chocolate-drinking weeks of the vin- 
tage season. It is characteristic of Florentine thrift and 
conservatism that the greater number of these later and 
more pretentious villas are merely additions to the plain 
old buildings, while, even in the rare cases where the 
whole structure is new, the baroque exuberance which 
became fashionable in the seventeenth century is tem- 
pered by a restraint and severity peculiarly Tuscan. 
So numerous and well preserved are the buildings 



of this order about Florence that the student who should 
attempt to give an account of them would have before 
him a long and laborious undertaking; but where the 
villa is to be considered in relation to its garden, the 
task is reduced to narrow limits. There is perhaps no 
region of Italy so rich in old villas and so lacking in old 

"^1 ■ '-..irWft.T-' 


gardens as the neighbourhood of Florence. Various 
causes have brought about this result. The environs 
of Florence have always been frequented by the wealthy 
classes, not only Italian but foreign. The Tuscan 
nobility have usually been rich enough to alter their 
gardens in accordance with the varying horticultural 



fashions imported from England and France ; and the 
Hnghsh who have colonized in such numbers the slopes 
above the Arno have contributed not a little to the 
destruction of the old gardens by introducing into their 
horticultural plans two features entirely alien to the 
Tuscan climate and soil, namely, lawns and deciduous 

Many indeed are the parterres and terraces which 
have disappeared before the Britannic craving for a 
lawn, many the olive-orchards and vineyards which 
must have given way to the thinly dotted " specimen 
trees " so dear to the English landscape-gardener, who 
is still, with rare exceptions, the slave of his famous 
eighteenth-century predecessors, Repton and " Capa- 
bility Brown," as the English architect is still the de- 
scendant of Pugin and the Gothic revival. This 
Anglicization of the Tuscan garden did not, of course, 
come only from direct English influence. The jardin 
anglais was fashionable in France when Marie Antoi- 
nette laid out the Petit Trianon, and Herr Tuckermann, 
in his book on Italian gardens, propounds a theory, for 
which he gives no very clear reasons, to the effect that 
the naturalistic school of gardening actually originated 
in Italy, in the Borghese gardens in Rome, which he 
supposes to have been laid out more or less in their 
present form by Giovanni Fontana, as early as the first 
quarter of the seventeenth century. 

It is certain, at any rate, that the Florentines adopted 



the new fashion early in the nineteenth century, as is 
shown — to give but one instance — in the vast Torri- 
giani gardens, near the Porta Romana, laid out by the 
Marchese Torrigiani about 1830 in the most approved 
"landscape" style, with an almost complete neglect of 
the characteristic Tuscan vegetation and a correspond- 
ing disregard of Italian climate and habits. The large 
English colony has, however, undoubtedly done much 
to encourage, even in the present day, the alteration of 
the old gardens and the introduction of alien vegetation 
in those which have been partly preserved. It is, for 
instance, typical of the old Tuscan villa that the farm, 
ox pod ere, should come up to the edge of the terrace on 
which the house stands ; but in most cases where old 
villas have been bought by foreigners, the vineyards 
and olive-orchards near the house have been turned 
into lawns dotted with plantations of exotic trees. 
Under these circumstances it is not surprising that but 
few unaltered gardens are to be found near Florence. 
To learn what the old Tuscan garden was, one must 
search the environs of the smaller towns, and there are 
more interesting examples about Siena than in the whole 
circuit of the Florentine hills. 

The old Italian architects distinguished two classes 
of country houses : the villa suburbana, or iiiaison de 
plaisance (literally the pleasure-house), standing within 
or just without the city walls, surrounded by pleasure- 
grounds and built for a few weeks' residence ; and the 




country house, which is an expansion of the old farm, 
and stands generally farther out of town, among its 
fields and vineyards — the seat of the country gentleman 
living on his estates. The Italian pleasure-garden did 
not reach its full development till the middle of the six- 
teenth century, and doubtless many of the old Floren- 
tine villas, the semi-castle and the quasi-farm of the 
fourteenth century, stood as they do now, on a bare 
terrace among the vines, with a small walled enclosure 
for the cultivation of herbs and vegetables. But of the 
period in which the garden began to be a studied archi- 
tectural extension of the house, few examples are to be 
found near Florence. 

The most important, if not the most pleasing, of 
Tuscan pleasure-gardens lies, however, within the city 
walls. This is the Boboli garden, laid out on the steep 
hillside behind the Pitti Palace. The plan of the Boboli 
garden is not only magnificent in itself, but interesting 
as one of the rare examples, in Tuscany, of a Renais- 
sance garden still undisturbed in its main outlines. 
Eleonora de' Medici, who purchased the Pitti Palace in 
1549, soon afterward acquired the neighbouring ground, 
and the garden was laid out by II Tribolo, continued by 
Buontalenti, and completed by Bartolommeo Ammanati, 
to whom is also due the garden facade of the palace. 
The scheme of the garden is worthy of careful study, 
though in many respects the effect it now produces is 
far less impressive than its designers intended. Prob- 



ably no grounds of equal grandeur and extent have less 
of that peculiar magic which one associates with the old 
Italian garden — a fact doubtless due less to defects of 
composition than to later changes in the details of plant- 
ing and decoration. Still, the main outline remains and 
is full of instruction to the garden-lover. 

The palace is built against the steep hillside, which 
is dug out to receive it, a high retaining-wall being built 
far enough back from the central body of the house to 
allow the latter to stand free. The ground floor of the 
palace is so far below ground that its windows look 
across a paved court at the face of the retaining-wall, 
which Ammanati decorated with an architectural com- 
position representing a grotto, from which water was 
meant to gush as though issuing from the hillside. This 
grotto he surmounted with a magnificent fountain, stand- 
ing on a level with the first-floor windows of the palace 
and with the surrounding gardens. The arrangement 
shows ingenuity in overcoming a technical difficulty, 
and the effect, from the garden, is very successful, 
though the well-like court makes an unfortunate gap 
between the house and its grounds. 

Behind the fountain, and in a line with it, a horseshoe- 
shaped amphitheatre has been cut out of the hillside, 
surrounded by tiers of stone seats adorned with statues 
in niches and backed by clipped laurel hedges, behind 
which rise the ilex-clad slopes of the upper gardens. 
This amphitheatre is one of the triumphs of Italian 




garden-architecture. In general design and detail it 
belongs to the pure Renaissance, without trace of the 
heavy and fantastic barrochismo which, half a century 
later, began to disfigure such compositions in the villas 
near Rome. Indeed, comparison with the grotesque 
garden-architecture of the Villa d'Este at Tivoli, which 
is but little later in date, shows how long the Tuscan 
sense of proportion and refinement of taste resisted the 
ever-growing desire to astonish instead of charming the 

On each side of the amphitheatre, clipped ilex-walks 
climb the hill, coming out some distance above on a 
plateau containing the toy lake with its little island, the 
Isola Bella, which was once the pride of the Boboli 
garden. This portion of the grounds has been so 
stripped of its architectural adornments and of its sur- 
rounding vegetation that it is now merely forlorn ; and 
the same may be said of the little upper garden, reached 
by an imposing flight of steps and commanding a wide 
view over Florence. One must revert to the architect's 
plan to see how admirably adapted it was to the difficul- 
ties of the site he had to deal with, and how skilfully he 
harmonized the dense shade of his ilex-groves with the 
great open spaces and pompous architectural effects 
necessary in a garden which was to form a worthy set- 
ting for the pageants of a Renaissance court. It is 
interesting to note in this connection that the flower- 
garden, or gianiino segrefo, which in Renaissance gar- 



dens almost invariably adjoins the house, has here been 
relegated to the hilltop, doubtless because the only level 
space near the palace was required for state ceremonials 
and theatrical entertainments rather than for private 

It is pardy because the Boboli is a court-garden, and 
not designed for private use, that it is less interesting 
and instructive than many others of less importance. 
Yet the other Medicean villas near Florence, though 
designed on much simpler lines, have the same lack of 
personal charm. It is perhaps owing to the fact that 
Florence was so long under the dominion of one all- 
powerful family that there is so litde variety in her 
pleasure-houses. Pratolino, Poggio a Caiano, Cafag- 
giuolo, Careggi, Castello and Petraia, one and all, 
whatever their origin, soon passed into the possessor- 
ship of the Medici, and thence into that of the Austrian 
grand dukes who succeeded them ; and of the three 
whose gardens have been partly preserved, Castello, 
Petraia and Poggio Imperiale, it may be said that they 
have the same impersonal official look as the Boboli. 

Castello and Petraia, situated a mile apart beyond the 
village of Quarto, were both built by Buontalenti, that 
brilliant pupil of Ammanati's who had a share in the 
planning of the gardens behind the Pitti. Castello 
stands on level ground, and its severely plain fagade, 
with windows on consoles and rusticated doorway, faces 
what is now a highway, though, according to the print 




of Zocchi, the eighteenth-century engraver, a semicir- 
cular space enclosed in a low wall once extended be- 
tween the house and the road, as at the neighbouring 
Villa Corsini and at Poggio Imperiale. It was an ad- 
mirable rule of the old Italian architects, where the 
garden-space was small and where the site permitted, 
to build their villas facing the road, so that the full ex- 
tent of the grounds was secured to the private use of 
the inmates, instead of being laid open by a public ap- 
proach to the house. This rule is still followed by 
French villa-architects, and it is exceptional in France 
to see a villa entered from its grounds when it may be 
approached directly from the highroad. 

Behind Castello the ground rises in terraces, enclosed 
in lateral walls, to a high retaining-wall at the back, 
surmounted by a wood of ilexes which contains a pool 
with an island. Montaigne, who describes but (ew 
gardens in his Italian diary, mentions that the terraces 
of Castello are en pante (sic) ; that is, they incline gradu- 
ally toward the house, with the slope of the ground. 
This bold and unusual adaptation of formal gardening 
to the natural exigencies of the site is also seen in the 
terraced gardens of the beautiful Villa Imperiali (now 
Scassi) at Sampierdarena, near Genoa. The plan of 
the garden at Castello is admirable, but in detail it has 
been modernized at the cost of all its charm. Wide 
steps lead up to the first terrace, where II Tribolo's 
stately fountain of bronze and marble stands surrounded 


by marble benches and statues on fine rusticated ped- 
estals. Unhappily, fountain and statues have lately 
been scrubbed to preternatural whiteness, and the same 
spirit of improvement has turned the old parterres into 
sunburnt turf, and dotted it with copper beeches and 
pampas-grass. Montaigne alludes to the berceanx, or 
pleached walks, and to the close-set cypresses which 
made a delicious coolness in this garden ; and as one 
looks across its sun-scorched expanse one perceives that 
its lack of charm is explained by lack of shade. 

As is usual in Italian gardens built against a hillside, 
the retaining-wall at the back serves for the great dec- 
orative motive at Castello. It is reached by wide 
marble steps, and flanked at the sides by symmetrical 
lemon-houses. On the central axis of the garden, the 
w^all has a wide opening between columns, and on each 
side an arched recess, equidistant between the lemon- 
houses and the central opening. Within the latter is 
one of those huge grottoes' which for two centuries or 
more were the delight of Italian garden-architects. 
The roof is decorated with masks and arabesques in 
coloured shell-work, and in the niches of the tufa of 
which the background is formed are strange groups of 
life-sized animals, a camel, a monkey, a stag with real 
antlers, a wild boar with real tusks, and various small 
animals and birds, some made of coloured marbles which 
correspond with their natural tints ; while beneath these 

■ This grotto and its sculptures are the work of U Tribolo, who also built 
the aqueduct bringing thither the waters of the Arno and the Mugnone. 




groups are basins of pink-and-white marble, carved 
with sea-creatures and resting on dolphins. Humour is 
the quality which soonest loses its savour, and it is often 
difficult to understand the grotesque side of the old gar- 
den-architecture ; but the curious delight in the repre- 
sentations of animals, real or fantastic, probably arose 
from the general interest in those strange wild beasts 
of which the travellers of the Renaissance brought home 
such fabulous descriptions. As to the general use of 
the grotto in Italian gardens, it is a natural develop- 
ment of the need for shade and coolness, and when the 
long-disused waterworks were playing, and cool streams 
gushed over quivering beds of fern into the marble 
tanks, these retreats must have formed a delicious con- 
trast to the outer glare of the garden. 

At Petraia the gardens are less elaborate in plan than 
at Castello, and are, in fact, noted chiefly for a fountain 
brought from that villa. This fountain, the most beau- 
tiful of II Tribolo's works, is surmounted by the famous 
Venus-like figure of a woman wringing out her hair, 
now generally attributed to Giovanni da Bologna. Like 
the other Florentine villas of this quarter, where water 
is more abundant, Petraia has a great oblong vasca, or 
tank, beneath its upper terrace ; while the house itself, 
a simple structure of the old-fashioned Tuscan type, 
built about an inner quadrangle, is remarkable for its very 
beautiful tower, which, as Herr Gurlitt' suggests, was 
doubtless inspired by the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio. 

'" Geschichte des Barockstils in Italien." 



According to Zocchi's charming etching, the ducal 
villa of Poggio Imperiale, on a hillside to the south of 
Florence, still preserved, in the eighteenth century, its 
simple and characteristic Tuscan fagade. This was 
concealed by the Grand Duke Peter Leopold behind a 
heavy pillared front, to which the rusticated porticoes 
were added later ; and externally nothing remains as it 
was save the ilex and cypress avenue, now a public 
highway, which ascends to the villa from the Porta 
Romana, and the semicircular entrance -court with its 
guardian statues on mighty pedestals. 

Poggio Imperiale was for too long the favourite resi- 
dence of the grand-ducal Medici, and of their successors 
of Lorraine, not to suffer many changes, and to lose, 
one by one, all its most typical features. Within there 
is a fine court surrounded by an open arcade, probably 
due to Giulio Parigi, who, at the end of the sixteenth 
century, completed the alterations of the villa according 
to the plans of Giuliano da Sangallo ; and the vast suites 
of rooms are interesting to the student of decoration, 
since they are adorned, probably by French artists, with 
exquisite carvings and shiccJii of the Louis XX'' and 
Louis XVI periods. But the grounds have kept little 
besides their general plan. At the back, the villa opens 
directly on a large level pleasure-garden, with enclosing 
walls and a central basin surrounded by statues ; but 
the geometrical parterres have been turned into a lawn. 
To the right of this level space, a few steps lead down 




to a long terrace planted with ilexes, whence there is a 
fine view over Florence — an unusual arrangement, as 
the bosco was generally above, not below, the flower- 

If, owing to circumstances, the more famous pleasure- 
grounds of Florence have lost much of their antique 
charm, she has happily preserved a garden of another 
sort which possesses to an unusual degree the flavour of 
the past. This is the villa of the Gamberaia at Setti- 
gnano. Till its recent purchase, the Gamberaia had for 
many years been let out in lodgings for the summer, 
and it doubtless owes to this obscure fate the complete 
preservation of its garden-plan. Before the recent alter- 
ations made in its gardens, it w^as doubly interesting 
from its unchanged condition, and from the fact that, 
even in Italy, where small and irregular pieces of ground 
were so often utilized with marvellous skill, it was prob- 
ably the most perfect example of the art of producing a 
great effect on a small scale. 

The villa stands nobly on a ridge overlooking the 
village of Settignano and the wide-spread valley of the 
Arno. The house is small yet impressive. Though 
presumably built as late as 1610, it shows few conces- 
sions to the baroque style already prevalent in other 
parts of Italy, and is yet equally removed from the 
classic or Palladian manner which held its own so long 
in the Venetian country. The Gamberaia is distinctly 
Tuscan, and its projecting eaves, heavily coigned angles 



and windows set far apart on massive consoles, show its 
direct descent from the severe and sober school of six- 
teenth-century architects who produced such noble 
examples of the great Tuscan villa as I Collazzi and 
Fonte air Erta. Nevertheless, so well proportioned is 
its elevation that there is no sense of heaviness, and the 
solidity of the main building is relieved by a kind of 
flying arcade at each end, one of which connects the 
house with its chapel, while the other, by means of a 
spiral stairway in a pier of the arcade, leads from the 
first floor to what was once the old fish-pond and herb- 
garden. This garden, an oblong piece of ground, a 
few years ago had in its centre a round fish-pond, sur- 
rounded by symmetrical plots planted with roses and 
vegetables, and in general design had probably been 
little changed since the construction of the villa. It has 
now been remodelled on an elaborate plan, w^hich has the 
disadvantage of being unrelated in style to its surround- 
ings ; but fortunately no other change has been made in 
the plan and planting of the grounds. 

Before the fagade of the house a grassy terrace 
bounded by a low wall, set alternately with stone vases 
and solemn-looking stone dogs, overhangs the vine- 
yards and fields, which, as in all unaltered Tuscan 
country places, come up close to the house. Behind 
the villa, and running parallel with it, is a long grass 
alley or bowling-green, flanked for part of its length by 
a lofty retaining-wall set with statues, and for the 




remainder by high hedges which divide it on one side 
from the fish-pond garden and on the other from the 
farm. The green is closed at one end by a grotto of 
coloured pebbles and shells, with nymphs and shepherds 
in niches about a fountain. This grotto is overhung by 
the grove of ancient cypresses for which the Gamberaia 
is noted. At its opposite end the bowling-green termi- 
nates in a balustrade whence one looks down on the 
Arno and across to the hills on the southern side of the 

The retaining-wall which runs parallel with the back 
of the house sustains a terrace planted with cypress and 
ilex. This terraced wood above the house is very 
typical of Italian gardens : good examples may be seen 
at Castello and at the Villa Medici in Rome. These 
patches of shade, however small, are planted irregularly, 
like a wild wood, with stone seats under the dense ilex 
boughs, and a statue placed here and there in a deep 
niche of foliage. Just opposite the central doorway of 
the house the retaining-wall is broken, and an iron gate 
leads to a slit of a garden, hardly more than twenty feet 
wide, on a level with the bowling-green. This narrow 
strip ends also in a grotto-like fountain with statues, 
and on each side balustraded flights of steps lead to the 
upper level ori which the ilex-grove is planted. This 
grove, however, occupies only one portion of the terrace. 
On the other side of the cleft formed by the little grotto- 
garden, the corresponding terrace, formerly laid out as 



a vegetable-garden, is backed by the low facade of the 
lemon-house, or stanzone, which is an adjunct of every 
Italian villa. Here the lemon and orange trees, the 
camellias and other semi-tender shrubs, are stored in 
winter, to be set out in May in their red earthen jars on 
the stone slabs which border the walks of all old Italian 

The plan of the Gamberaia has been described thus 
in detail because it combines in an astonishingly small 
space, yet without the least sense of overcrowding, 
almost every typical excellence of the old Italian garden: 
free circulation of sunlight and air about the house ; 
abundance of water ; easy access to dense shade ; shel- 
tered walks with different points of view ; variety of 
effect produced by the skilful use of different levels ; 
and, finally, breadth and simplicity of composition. 

Here, also, may be noted in its fullest expression that 
principle of old gardening which the modern " land- 
scapist " has most completely unlearned, namely, the 
value of subdivision of spaces. Whereas the modern 
gardener's one idea of producing an effect of space is to 
annihilate his boundaries, and not only to merge into 
one another the necessary divisions of the garden, but 
also to blend this vague whole with the landscape, the 
old garden-architect proceeded on the opposite principle, 
arguing that, as the garden is but the prolongation of 
the house, and as a house containinor a sinQle husfe 
room would be less interesting and less serviceable than 



one divided according to the varied requirements of its 
inmates, so a garden which is merely one huge outdoor 
room is also less interesting and less serviceable than 
one which has its logical divisions. Utility was doubt- 
less not the only consideration which produced this 
careful portioning off of the garden. Esthetic im- 
pressions were considered, and the effect of passing 
from the sunny fruit- garden to the dense grove, thence 
to the wide-reaching view, and again to the sheltered 
privacy of the pleached walk or the mossy coolness of 
the grotto — all this was taken into account by a race of 
artists who studied the contrast of aesthetic emotions as 
keenly as they did the juxtaposition of dark cypress and 
pale lemon-tree, of deep shade and level sunlight. But 
the real value of the old Italian garden-plan is that logic 
and beauty meet in it, as they should in all sound 
architectural work. Each quarter of the garden was 
placed where convenience required, and w^as made 
accessible from all the others by the most direct and 
rational means ; and from this intelligent method of 
planning the most varying effects of unexpectedness 
and beauty were obtained. 

It was said above that lawns are unsuited to the 
Italian soil and climate, but it must not be thought that 
the Italian gardeners did not appreciate the value of 
turf They used it, but sparingly, knowing that it re- 
quired great care and was not a characteristic of the 
soil. The bowling-green of the Gamberaia shows how 



well the beauty of a long stretch of greensward was 
understood ; and at the Villa Capponi, at Arcetri, on 
the other side of Florence, there is a fine oblong of old 
turf adjoining the house, said to be the only surviving 
fragment of the original garden. These bits of sward 
were always used near the house, where their full value 
could be enjoyed, and were set like jewels in clipped 
hedges or statue-crowned walls. Though doubtless 
intended chiefly for games, they were certainly valued 
for their aesthetic effect, for in many Italian gardens 
steep grass alleys flanked by walls of beech or ilex are 
seen ascending a hillside to the temple or statue which 
forms the crowning ornament of the grounds. In 
Florence a good example of this tapis vert, of which 
Le Notre afterward made such admirable use in the 
moist climate of France, is seen at the Villa Danti, on 
the Arno near Campiobbi. 

Close to the ducal villas of Castello lies a country- 
seat possessing much of the intimate charm which they 
lack. This is Prince Corsini's villa, the finest example 
of a baroque country house near Florence. The old 
villa, of which the typical Tuscan elevation may still be 
seen at the back, was remodelled during the latter half 
of the seventeenth century, probably by Antonio Ferri, 
who built the state saloon and staircase of the Palazzo 
Corsini on the Lungarno. The Villa Corsini lies in the 
plain, like Castello, and has before it the usual walled 
semicircle. The front of the villa is frankly baroque, a 




two-storied elevation with windows divided by a meagre 
order, and a stately central gable flanked by balustrades 
surmounted by vases. The whole treatment is inter- 
esting, as showing the manner in which the seventeenth- 
century architect overlaid a plain Tuscan structure with 
florid ornament ; and the effect, if open to criticism, is 
at once gay and stately. 

The house is built about a quadrangle enclosed in an 
open arcade on columns. Opposite the porte-cochere 
is a doorway opening on a broad space bounded by a 
balustrade with statues. An ilex avenue extends be- 
yond this space, on the axis of the doorway. At one 
end of the house is the oblong walled garden, with its 
box-edged flower-beds grouped in an intricate geomet- 
rical pattern about a central fountain. Corresponding 
,. with this garden, at the opposite end of the house, is a 
dense ilex-grove with an alley leading down the centre 
to a beautiful fountain, a tank surmounted by a kind of 
voluted pediment, into which the water falls from a 
large ilex-shaded tank on a higher level. Here again 
the vineyards and olive-orchards come up close to the 
formal grounds, the ilex-grove being divided from the 
podere by a line of cypresses instead of a wall. 

Not far from the Gamberaia, on the hillside of San 
Gervasio, stands another country house which preserves 
only faint traces of its old gardens, but which, architec- 
turally, is too interesting to be overlooked. This is the 
villa of Fonte all' Erta. Originally a long building of 



the villa-farmhouse order, with chapel, offices and out- 
houses connected with the main house, it was trans- 
formed in the sixteenth century, probably by Ammanati, 
into one of the stateliest country houses near Florence. 
A splendid rusticated loggia, approached by a double 
flight of steps, forms an angle of the main house, and 
either then or later the spacious open court, around 
three sides of which the villa is built, was roofed over 
and turned into a great central saloon like those of the 
Venetian and Milanese villas. This two-storied saloon 
is the finest and most appropriate feature of the interior 
planning of Italian villas, but it seems never to have 
been as popular in Tuscany as it was farther north or 
south. The Tuscan villas, for the most part, are smaller 
and less pretentious in style than those erected in other 
parts of Italy, and only in exceptional instances did the 
architect free himself from the traditional plan of the old 
farmhouse-villa around its open court. A fine example 
of this arcaded court may be seen at Petraia, the Medi- 
cean villa near Castello. At Fonte all' Erta the former 
court faced toward what was once an old flower-garden, 
raised a few feet above the grass terrace which runs 
the length of the facade. Behind this garden, and 
adjoining the back of the villa, is the old evergreen 
grove ; but the formal surroundings of the house have 

The most splendid and stately villa in the neighbour- 
hood of Florence stands among the hills a few miles 



beyond the Certosa of Val d'Ema, and looks from its 
lofty ridge across the plain toward Pistoia and the 
Apennines. This villa, called Ai Collazzi (now Bom- 
bicci), from the wooded hills which surround it, was 
built for the Dini family in the sixteenth century, and, 
as tradition avers, by no less a hand than Michelangelo's. 
He is known to have been a close friend of the Dini, 
and is likely to have worked for them ; and if, as some 
experts think, certain details of the design, as well as the 
actual construction of the villa, are due to Santi di Tito, 
it is impossible not to feel that its general conception 
must have originated with a greater artist. 

The Villa Bombicci has in fact the Michelangelesque 
quality : the austerity, the breadth, the peculiar majesty 
which he imparted to his slightest creations. The house 
is built about three sides of a raised stone-flagged ter- 
race, the enclosing elevation consisting of a two-storied 
open arcade roofed by widely projecting eaves. The 
wings are solid, with the exception of the sides toward 
the arcade, and the windows, with their heavy pedi- 
ments and consoles, are set far apart in true Tuscan 
fashion. A majestic double flight of steps, flanked by 
shield-bearing lions, leads up to the terrace about which 
the house is built. Within is a high central saloon 
opening at the back on a stone perron, with another 
double flight of steps which descend in a curve to the 
garden. On this side of the house there is, on the upper 
floor, an open loggia of great beauty, consisting of three 



arches divided by slender coupled shafts. Very fine, 
also, is the arched and rusticated doorway surmounted 
by a stone escutcheon. 

The villa is approached by a cypress avenue which 
leads straight to the open space before the house. The 
ridge on which the latter is built is so narrow, and the 
land falls away so rapidly, that there could never have 
been much opportunity for the development of garden- 
architecture ; but though all is now Anglicized, it is easy 
to trace the original plan : in front, the open space sup- 
ported by a high retaining-wall, on one side of the house 
the grove of cypress and ilex, and at the back, where 
there was complete privacy, the small giardino segreto, 
or hedged garden, with its parterres, benches and 

The purpose of this book is to describe the Italian 
villa in relation to its grounds, and many villas which 
have lost their old surroundings must therefore be 
omitted ; but near Florence there is one old garden 
which has always lacked its villa, yet which cannot be 
overlooked in a study of Italian garden-craft. Even 
those most familiar with the fascinations of Italian gar- 
dens will associate a peculiar thrill with their first sight 
of the Villa' Campi. Laid out by one of the Pucci 
family, probably toward the end of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, it lies beyond Lastra-Signa, above the Arno, about 

'Villa, in Italian, signifies not the house alone, but the house and 



ten miles from F"lorence. It is not easy to reach, for 
so long is it since any one has lived in the melancholy 
villino of Villa Campi that even in the streets of Lastra, 
the little walled town by the Arno, a guide is hard to 
find. But at last one is told to follow a steep country 
road among vines and olives, past two or three charm- 
ing houses buried in ilex-groves, till the way ends in a 
lane which leads up to a gateway surmounted by statues. 
Ascending thence by a long avenue of cypresses, one 
reaches the level hilltop on which the house should have 
stood. Two pavilions connected by a high wall face 
the broad open terrace, whence there is a far-spreading 
view over the Arno valley: doubtless the main building 
was to have been placed between them. But now the 
place lies enveloped in a mysterious silence. The foot 
falls noiselessly on the grass carpeting of the alleys, the 
water is hushed in pools and fountains, and broken 
statues peer out startlingly from their niches of undipped 
foliage. From the open space in front of the pavilions, 
long avenues radiate, descending and encircling the 
hillside, walled with cypress and ilex, and leading to 
rond-points set with groups of statuary, and to balus- 
traded terraces overhanging the valley. The plan is 
vast and complicated, and appears to have embraced the 
whole hillside, which, contrary to the usual frugal Tuscan 
plan, was to have been converted into a formal park with 
vistas, quincunxes and fountains. 

Entering a gate in the wall between the pavilions, 



one comes on the terraced flower-gardens, and here the 
same grandeur of conception is seen. The upper ter- 
race preserves traces of its formal parterres and box- 
hedges. Thence flights of steps lead down to a long 
bowling-green between hedges, like that at the Gambe- 
raia. A farther descent reveals another terrace-garden, 
with clipped hedges, statues and fountains ; and thence 
sloping alleys radiate down to stone-edged pools with 
reclining river-gods in the mysterious shade of the ilex- 
groves. Statues are everywhere: in the upper gardens, 
nymphs, satyrs, shepherds, and the cheerful fauna of 
the open pleasance ; at the end of the shadowy glades, 
solemn figures of Titanic gods, couched above their pools 
or reared aloft on mighty pedestals. Even the opposite 
hillside must have been included in the original scheme 
of this vast garden, for it still shows, on the central axis 
between the pavilions, a tapis vevt between cypresses, 
doubtless intended to lead up to some great stone Her- 
cules under a crowning arch. 

But it is not the size of the Campi gardens which 
makes them so remarkable ; it is the subtle beauty of 
their planning, to which time and neglect have added the 
requisite touch of poetry. Never perhaps have natural 
advantages been utilized with so little perceptible strain- 
ing after effect, yet with so complete a sense of the 
needful adjustment between landscape and architecture. 
One feels that these long avenues and statued terraces 
were meant to lead up to a "stately pleasure-house"; 



yet so little are they out of harmony with the surround- 
ing scene that nature has gradually taken them back to 
herself, has turned them into a haunted grove in which 
the statues seem like sylvan gods fallen asleep in their 
native shade. 

There are other Florentine villas which preserve traces 
of their old gardens. The beautiful Villa Palmieri has 
kept its terrace-architecture, Lappeggi its fine double 
stairway, the Villa Danti its grass-walk leading to a 
giant on the hilltop, and Castel Pulci its stately facade 
with a sky-line of statues and the long cypress avenue 
shown in Zocchi's print; even Pratolino, so cruelly 
devastated, still preserves Giovanni da Bologna s colossal 
figure of the Apennines. But where so much of greater 
value remains to be described, space fails to linger over 
these fragments which, romantic and charming as they 
are, can but faintly suggest, amid their altered surround- 
ings, the vanished garden-plans of which they formed a 








N the order of age, the first country-seat near Siena 
which claims attention is the fortress-villa of Bel- 


Frequent mention is made of the castle of Belcaro in 
early chronicles and documents, and it seems to have 
been a place of some importance as far back as the 
eleventh century. It stands on a hilltop clothed with 
oak and ilex in the beautiful wooded country to the 
west of Siena, and from its ancient walls one looks forth 
over the plain to the hill-set city and its distant circle of 
mountains. It was perhaps for the sake of this enchant- 
ing prospect that Baldassare Peruzzi, to whom the trans- 
formation of Belcaro is ascribed, left these crenellated 
walls untouched, and contented himself with adorning 
the inner court of the castle with a delicate mask of 
Renaissance architecture. A large bare villa of no 
architectural pretensions was added to the mediaeval 
buildings, and Peruzzi worked within the enclosed quad- 
rangle thus formed. 

A handsome architectural screen of brick and marble 
with a central gateway leads from a stone-paved court 




to a garden of about the same dimensions, at the back 
of which is an arcaded loggia, also of brick and marble, 
exquisitely light and graceful in proportion, and fres- 
coed in the Raphaelesque manner with medallions and 
arabesques, fruit-garlands and brightly plumed birds. 
Adjoining this loggia is a small brick chapel, simple but 
elegant in design, with a frescoed interior also ascribed 
to Peruzzi, and still beautiful under its crude repainting. 
The garden itself is the real hortus inclusiis of the 
mediaeval chronicler : a small patch of ground enclosed 
in the fortress walls, with box-edged plots, a central 
well and clipped shrubs. It is interesting as a reminder 
of what the mediaeval garden within the castle must have 
been, and its setting of Renaissance architecture makes 
it look like one of those little marble-walled pleasances, 
full of fruit and flowers, in the backgrounds of Gozzoli 
or Lorenzo di Credi. 

Several miles beyond Belcaro, in a pleasant valley 
among oak-wooded hills, lies the Marchese Chigi's 
estate of Cetinale. A huge clipped ilex, one of the few 
examples of Dutch topiary work in Italy, stands at the 
angle of the road which leads to the gates. Across the 
highway, facing the courtyard entrance, is another gate, 
guarded by statues and leading to a long tapis vert 
which ascends between double rows of square-topped 
ilexes to a statue on the crest of the opposite slope. 
The villa looks out on this perspective, facing it across 
an oblong courtyard flanked by low outbuildings. The 



main house, said to have been built (or more probably 
rebuilt) in 1680 by Carlo Fontana for Flavio Chigi, 
nephew of Pope Alexander VII, is so small and modest 
of aspect that one is surprised to learn that it was one 
of the celebrated pleasure-houses of its day. It must 
be remembered, however, that with the exception of the 
great houses built near Rome by the Princes of the 
Church, and the country-seats of such reigning families 
as the Medici, the Italian villa was almost invariably a 
small and simple building, the noble proprietor having 
usually preferred to devote his wealth and time to the 
embellishment of his gardens. 

The house at Cetinale is so charming, with its stately 
double flight of steps leading up to the first floor, and 
its monumental doorway opening on a central salone, 
that it may well be ascribed to the architect of San 
Marcello in Rome, and of Prince Lichtenstein's "Garden 
Palace" in Vienna. The plan of using the low-studded 
ground floor for offices, wine-cellar and store-rooms, 
while the living-rooms are all above-stairs, shows the 
hand of an architect trained in the Roman school. All 
the Tuscan and mid-Italian villas open on a level with 
their gardens, while about Rome the country houses, at 
least on one side, have beneath the living-rooms aground 
floor generally used for the storage of wine and oil. 

But the glory of Cetinale is its park. Behind the 
villa a long grass-walk as wide as the house extends 
between high walls to a fantastic gateway, with statues 



in ivy-clad niches, and a curious crowning motive ter- 
minating in obelisks and balls. Beyond this the turf- 
walk continues again to a raised semicircular terrace, 
surrounded by a wall adorned with busts and enclosed 
in clipped ilexes. This terrace abuts on the ilex-clothed 
hillside which bounds the valley. A gateway leads 
directly into these wild romantic woods, and a steep 
irregular flight of stone steps is seen ascending the 
wooded slope to a tiny building on the crest of the hill. 
This ascent is called the Scala Santa, and the building 
to which it leads is a hermitage adorned with circular 
niches set in the form of a cross, each niche containing 
the bust of a saint. The hermitage being directly on 
the axis of the villa, one looks out from the latter down 
the admirable perspective of the tapis vert and up the 
Scala Santa to the little house at its summit. It is inter- 
esting to note that this effect of distance and grandeur 
is produced at small cost and in the simplest manner ; 
for the grass-walk with its semicircular end forms the 
whole extent of the Cetinale garden. The olive-orchards 
and corn-fields of the farm come up to the boundary 
walls of the walk, and the wood is left as nature planted 
it. Fontana, if it was indeed he who laid out this simple 
but admirable plan, was wise enough to profit by the 
natural advantage of the great forest of oak and ilex 
which clothes this part of the country, and to realize 
that only the broadest and simplest lines would be in 
harmony with so noble a background. 




As charming in its way, though less romantic and 
original, is the Marchese Chigi's other seat of Vicobello, 
a mile or two beyond the Porta Ovile, on the other side 
of Siena. Vicobello lies in an open villa-studded 
country in complete contrast to the wooded hills about 
Cetinale. The villa is placed on a long narrow ridge 
of land, falling away abruptly at the back and front. A 
straight entrance avenue runs parallel to the outer walls 
of the outbuildings, which form the boundary of the 
court, the latter being entered through a vaulted porte- 
cochere. Facing this entrance (as at Cetinale) is a 
handsome gateway guarded by statues and set in a 
semicircular wall. Passing through this gate, one de- 
scends to a series of terraces planted with straight rows 
of the square-topped ilexes so characteristic of the 
Sienese gardens. These densely shaded terraces de- 
scend to a level stretch of sward (perhaps an old bowl- 
ing-green) bordered by a wall of clipped ilexes, at the 
foot of the hill on which the villa stands. 

On entering the forecourt, one faces the villa, a dig- 
nified oblong building of simple Renaissance architec- 
ture, ascribed in the local guide-book to Baldassare 
Peruzzi, and certainly of earlier construction than the 
house at Cetinale. On the left, a gate in a high wall 
leads to a walled garden, bounded by a long lemon- 
house which continues the line of the outbuildings on 
the court. Opposite, a corresponding gateway opens 
into the bosco which is the indispensable adjunct of the 



Italian country house. On the other side of the villa 
are two long terraces, one beneath the other, corre- 
sponding in dimensions with the court, and flanked on 
each hand by walled terrace-gardens, descending on 
one side from the grove, on the other from the upper 
garden adjoining the court. The plan, which is as 
elaborate and minutely divided as that of Cetinale is 
spacious and simple, shows an equally sure appreciation 
of natural conditions, and of the distinction between a 
villa siibnrbana and a country estate. The walls of the 
upper garden are espaliered with fruit-trees, and the 
box-edged flower-plots are probably laid out much as 
they were in the eighteenth century. All the architec- 
tural details are beautiful, especially a well in the court, 
set in the wall between Ionic columns, and a charming 
garden-house at the end of the upper garden, in the 
form of an open archway faced with Doric pilasters, 
before a semicircular recess with a marble seat. The 
descending walled gardens, with their different levels, 
give opportunity for many charming architectural effects 
— busts in niches, curving steps, and well-placed vases 
and statues ; and the whole treatment of Vicobello is 
remarkable for the discretion and sureness of taste with 
which these ornamental touches are added. There is 
no excess of decoration, no crowding of effects, and the 
garden-plan is in perfect keeping with the simple state- 
liness of the house. 

About a mile from Vicobello, on an olive-clad hillside 



near the famous monastery of the Osservanza, Hes an- 
other villa of much more modest dimensions, with 
grounds which, though in some respects typically 
Sienese, are in one way unique in Italy. This is La 
Palazzina, the estate of the De' Gori family. The small 
seventeenth-century house, with its adjoining chapel 
and outbuildings, lies directly on the public road, and 
forms the boundary of its own grounds. The charm- 
ing garden-facade, with its voluted sky-line, and the 
two-storied open loggia forming the central motive 
of the elevation, faces on a terrace-like open space, 
bounded by a wall, and now irregularly planted d 
V Auglaise, but doubtless once the site of the old 
flower-garden. Before the house stands an old well 
with a beautiful wrought-iron railing, and on the axis 
of the central loggia a gate opens into one of the 
pleached ilex-alleys which are the glory of the Palaz- 
zina. This ancient tunnel of gnarled and interlocked 
trees, where a green twilight reigns in the hottest sum- 
mer noon, extends for several hundred feet along a 
ridge of ground ending in a sort of circular knoll or 
platform, surrounded by an impenetrable wall of square- 
clipped ilexes. The platform has in its centre a round 
clearing, from which four narrow paths radiate at right 
angles, one abutting on the pleached walk, the others 
on the outer ilex-wall. Between these paths are four 
small circular spaces planted with stunted ilexes and 
cypresses, which are cut down to the height of shrubs. 



In these dwarf trees blinded thrushes are tied as decoys 
to their wild kin, who are shot at from the circular 
clearing or the side paths. This elaborate plantation is 
a perfectly preserved specimen of a species of bird-trap 
once, alas ! very common in this part of Italy, and in 
which one may picture the young gallants of Folgore 
da San Gimignano's Sienese sonnets " Of the Months" 
taking their cruel pleasure on an autumn day. 

Another antique alley of pleached ilexes, as densely 
shaded but not quite as long, runs from the end of the 
terrace to a small open-air theatre which is the greatest 
curiosity of the Villa de' Gori. The pit of this theatre is 
a semicircular opening, bounded by a low wall or seat, 
which is backed by a high ilex-hedge. The parterre is 
laid out in an elaborate broderie of turf and gravel, above 
which the stage is raised about three feet. The pit and 
the stage are enclosed in a double hedge of ilex, so that 
the actors may reach the wings without being seen by 
the audience ; but the stage-setting consists of rows of 
clipped cypresses, each advancing a few feet beyond the 
one before it, so that they form a perspective running 
up to the back of the stage, and terminated by the tall 
shaft of a single cypress which towers high into the 
blue in the exact centre of the background. No mere 
description of its plan can convey the charm of this ex- 
quisite little theatre, approached through the mysterious 
dusk of the long pleached alley, and lying in sunshine 
and silence under its roof of blue sky, in its walls of 




unchanging verdure. Imagination must people the 
stage with the sylvan figures of the Aniinta or the 
Pastor Fido, and must place on the encircling seats a 
company of nobil donne in pearls and satin, with their 
cavaliers in the black Spanish habit and falling lace 
collar which Vandyke has immortalized in his Genoese 
portraits ; and the remembrance of this leafy stage will 
lend new life to the reading of the Italian pastorals, and 
throw a brighter sunlight over the woodland comedies 
of Shakspeare. 








IN studying the villas near the smaller Italian towns, 
it is difficult to learn much of their history. Now 
and then some information may be gleaned from 
a local guide-book, but the facts are usually meagre or 
inaccurate, and the name of the architect, the date of the 
building, the original plan of the garden, have often alike 
been forgotten. 

With regard to the villas in and about Rome, the case 
is different. Here the student is overwhelmed by a 
profusion of documents. Illustrious architects dispute 
the honour of having built the famous pleasure-houses 
on the seven hills, and historians of art, from Vasari 
downward, have recorded their annals. Falda engraved 
them in the seventeenth century, and Percier and Fon- 
taine at the beginning of the nineteenth ; and they have 
been visited and described, at various periods, by count- 
less travellers from different countries. 

One of the earliest Roman gardens of which a descrip- 
tion has been preserved is that which Bramante laid out 
within the Vatican in the last years of the fifteenth 
century. This terraced garden, with its monumental 



double flight of steps leading up by three levels to the 
Giardino della Pigna, was described in 1523 by the 
Venetian ambassador to Rome, who speaks of its grass 
parterres and fountains, its hedges of laurel and cypress, 
its plantations of mulberries and roses. One half of the 
garden (the court of the Belvedere) had brick-paved 
walks between rows of orange-trees ; in its centre were 
statues of the Nile and the Tiber above a fountain ; while 
the Apollo, the Laocoon and the Venus of the Vatican 
were placed about it in niches. This garden was long 
since sacrificed to the building of the Braccio Nuovo 
and the Vatican Library; but it is worth mentioning 
that Burckhardt, whose least word on Italian gardens is 
more illuminating than the treatises of other writers, 
thought that Bramante's terraced stairway first set the 
example of that architectural magnificence which marks 
the great Roman gardens of the Renaissance. 

Next in date comes the Villa Madama, Raphael's un- 
finished masterpiece on the slope of Monte Mario. This 
splendid pleasure-house, which was begun in 15 16 for 
Cardinal Giuliano de' Medici, afterward Pope Clement 
VII, was intended to be the model of the great villa 
subnybaiia, and no subsequent building of the sort is 
comparable to what it would have been had the original 
plans been carried out. But the villa was built under 
an evil star. Raphael died before the work was finished, 
and it was carried on with some alterations by Giulio 
Romano and Antonio da Sangallo. In 1527 the troops 



of Cardinal Colonna nearly destroyed it by fire ; and, 
without ever being completed, it passed successively into 
the possession of the Chapter of St. Eustace, of the 
Duchess of Parma (whence its name of Mac/a;>ia), and 
of the King of Naples, who suffered it to fall into com- 
plete neglect. 

The unfinished building, with its mighty loggia stuc- 
coed by Giovanni da Udine, and the semicircular arcade 
at the back, is too familiar to need detailed description; 
and the gardens are so dilapidated that they are of in- 
terest only to an eye experienced enough to reconstruct 
them from their skeleton. They consist of two long 
terraces, one above the other, cut in the side of the 
wooded slope overhanging the villa. The upper terrace 
is on a level with Raphael's splendid loggia, and seems 
but a roofless continuation of that airy hall. Against 
the hillside and at the end it is bounded by a retaining- 
wall once surmounted by a marble balustrade and set 
with niches for statuary, while on the other side it looks 
forth over the Tiber and the Campagna. Below this 
terrace is another of the same proportions, its retaining- 
wall broken at each end by a stairway descending from 
the upper level, and the greater part of its surface taken 
up by a large rectangular tank, into which water gushes 
from the niches in the lateral wall. It is evident from 
the breadth of treatment of these terraces that they are 
but a fragment of the projected whole. Percier and 
Fontaine, in their " Maisons de Plaisance de Rome" 



(1809), published an interesting " reconstitution " of the 
Villa Madama and its gardens, as they conceived it 
might have been carried to completion ; but their plan is 
merely the brilliant conjecture of two artists penetrated 
with the spirit of the Renaissance, for they had no 
documents to go by. The existing fragment is, how- 
ever, well worthy of study, for the purity of its archi- 
tecture and the broad simplicity of its plan are in marked 
contrast to the complicated design and overcharged 
details of some of the later Roman gardens. 

Third in date among the early Renaissance gardens 
comes another, of which few traces are left : that of the 
Vigna del Papa, or Villa di Papa Giulio, just beyond the 
Porta del Popolo. Here, however, the building itself, 
and the architectural composition which once united the 
house and grounds, are fortunately well preserved, and 
so exceptionally interesting that they deserved a careful 
description. The Villa di Papa Giulio was built by Pope 
Julius III, whose pontificate extends from 1550 to 1555. 
The villa therefore dates from the middle of the six- 
teenth century ; but so many architects were associated 
with it, and so much confusion exists as to their respec- 
tive contributions, that it can only be said that the Pope 
himself, Michelangelo, Vignola, Vasari and Amma- 
nati appear all to have had a hand in the work. The 
exterior elevation, though it has been criticized, is not 
as inharmonious as might have been expected, and on 
the garden side both plan and elevation have a charm 



and picturesqueness which disarm criticism. Above all, 
it is felt at once that the arrangement is perfectly suited 
to a warm climate. The villa forms a semicircle at the 
back, enclosing a paved court. The ground floor is an 
open vaulted arcade, adorned with Zucchero's celebrated 
frescoes of putti peeping through vine-wreathed trel- 
lises ; and the sides of the court, beyond this arcade, are 
bounded by two-storied lateral wings, with blind arcades 
and niches adorned with statues. Facing the villa, a 
colonnaded loggia terminates the court ; and thence one 
looks down into the beautiful lower court of the bath, 
which appears to have been designed by Vasari. From 
the loggia, steps descend to a semicircular court enclosed 
in walls, with a balustraded opening in its centre ; and 
this balustrade rests on a row of caryatids which encircle 
the lowest court and form a screen before the grotto-like 
bath under the arches of the upper terrace. The plan is 
too complicated, and the architectural motives are too 
varied, to admit of clear description : both must be seen 
to give an idea of the full beauty of the composition. 
Returning to the upper loggia above the bath, one looks 
across the latter to a corresponding loggia of three arches 
on the opposite side, on the axis of w'hich is a gateway 
leading to the actual gardens — gardens which, alas ! no 
longer exist. It will thus be seen that the flagged court, 
the two open loggias, and the bath are so many skilfully 
graduated steps in what Percier and Fontaine call the 
" artistic progression " linking the gardens to the house, 



while the whole is so planned that from the central hall 
of the villa (and in fact from its entrance-door) one may- 
look across the court and down the long vista of columns, 
into what were once the shady depths of the garden. 

In all Italian garden-architecture there is nothing 
quite comparable for charm and delicately reminiscent 
classicalism with this grotto-bath of Pope Julius's villa. 
Here we find the tradition of the old Roman villa-archi- 
tecture, as it had been lovingly studied in the letters 
of Pliny, transposed into Renaissance forms, with the 
sense of its continued fitness to unchanged conditions 
of climate and a conscious return to the splendour of 
the old patrician life. It is instructive to compare this 
natural reflowering of a national art with the frigid 
archaeological classicalism of Winckelmann and Canova. 
Here there is no literal transcription of uncompre- 
hended detail: the spirit is preserved, because it is still 
living, but it finds expression in subtly altered forms. 
Above all, the artist has drawn his inspiration from 
Roman art, the true source of modern architecture, and 
not from that of Greece, which, for all its beauty and far- 
reaching aesthetic influences, was not the starting-point 
of modern artistic conceptions, for the plain historical 
reason that it was utterly forgotten and unknown when 
the mediaeval world began to wake from its lethargy 
and gather up its scattered heritage of artistic tradi- 

When John Evelyn came to Rome in 1644 and 




alighted "at Monsieur Petit's in the Piazza Spagnola," 
many of the great Roman villas were still in the first 
freshness of their splendour, and the taste which called 
them forth had not yet wearied of them. Later trav- 
ellers, with altered ideas, were not sufficiently interested 
to examine in detail what already seemed antiquated 
and out of fashion; but to Evelyn, a passionate lover 
of architecture and garden-craft, the Italian villas were 
patterns of excellence, to be carefully studied and mi- 
nutely described for the benefit of those who sought 
to imitate them in England. It is doubtful if later 
generations will ever be diverted by the aquatic "sur- 
prises " and mechanical toys in which Evelyn took such 
simple pleasure; but the real beauties he discerned are 
once more receiving intelligent recognition after two 
centuries of contempt and indifference. It is worth 
noting in this connection that, at the very height of the 
reaction against Italian gardens, they were lovingly 
studied and truly understood by two men great enough 
to rise above the prejudices of their age: the French 
architects Percier and Fontaine, whose volume con- 
tains some of the most suggestive analyses ever written 
of the purpose and meaning of Renaissance garden- 

Probably one of the least changed among the villas 
visited by Evelyn is "the house of the Duke of Flor- 
ence upon the brow of Mons Pincius." The Villa 
Medici, on being sold by that family in 1801, had the 



good fortune to pass into the hands of the French gov- 
ernment, and its "facciata incrusted with antique and 
rare basso-rehevos and statues " still looks out over the 
statued arcade, the terrace " balustraded with white 
marble" and planted with "perennial greens," and the 
"mount planted with cypresses," which Evelyn so justly 

The villa, built in the middle of the sixteenth century 
by Annibale Lippi, was begun for one cardinal and 
completed for another. It stands in true Italian fashion 
against the hillside above the Spanish Steps, its airy 
upper stories planted on one of the mighty bastion-like 
basements so characteristic of the Roman villa. A 
villa above, a fortress below, it shows that, even in the 
polished cinque-cento, life in the Papal States needed 
the protection of stout walls and heavily barred win- 
dows. The garden-fa9ade, raised a story above the 
entrance, has all the smiling openness of the Renaissance 
pleasure-house, and is interesting as being probably the 
earliest example of the systematic use of fragments of 
antique sculpture in an architectural elevation. But this 
facade, with its charming central loggia, is sufficiently 
well known to make a detailed description superfluous, 
and it need be studied here only in relation to its sur- 

Falda's plan of the grounds, and that of Percier and 
Fontaine, made over a hundred and fifty years later, 
show how little succeeding fashions have been allowed 




to disturb the original design. The gardens are still 
approached by a long shady alley which ascends from 
the piazza before the entrance ; and they are still di- 
vided into a symmetrically planted grove, a flower-gar- 
den before the house, and an upper wild-wood with 
a straight path leading to the " mount planted with 

It is safe to say that no one enters the grounds of the 
Villa Medici without being soothed and charmed by that 
garden-magic which is the peculiar quality of some of 
the old Italian pleasances. It is not necessary to be a 
student of garden-architecture to feel the spell of quiet 
and serenity which falls on one at the very gateway ; 
but it is worth the student's while to try to analyze the 
elements of which the sensation is composed. Perhaps 
they will be found to resolve themselves into diversity, 
simplicity and fitness. The plan of the garden is simple, 
but its different parts are so contrasted as to produce, by 
the fewest means, a pleasant sense of variety without 
sacrifice of repose. The ilex-grove into which one first 
enters is traversed by hedged alleys which lead to rond- 
pomts with stone seats and marble Terms. At one point 
the enclosing wall of ilex is broken to admit a charming 
open loggia, whence one looks into the depths of green 
below. Emerging from the straight shady walks, with 
their effect of uniformity and repose, one comes on the 
flower-garden before the house, spreading to the sun- 
shine its box-edged parterres adorned with fountains 



and statues. Here garden and house-front are har- 
monized by a strong predominance of architectural Hues, 
and by the beautiful lateral loggia, with niches for 
statues, above which the upper ilex-wood rises. Tall 
hedges and trees there are none ; for from the villa one 
looks across the garden at the wide sweep of the Cam- 
pagna and the mountains ; indeed, this is probably one 
of the first of the gardens which Gurlitt defines as " gar- 
dens to look out from," in contradistinction to the earlier 
sort, the "gardens to look into." Mounting to the ter- 
race, one comes to the third division of the garden, the 
wild-wood with its irregular levels, through which a 
path leads to the mount, with a little temple on its sum- 
mit. This is a rare feature in Italian grounds: in hilly 
Italy there was small need of creating the artificial hill- 
ocks so much esteemed in the old English gardens. In 
this case, however, the mount justifies its existence, for 
it affords a wonderful view over the other side of Rome 
and the Campagna. 

Finally, the general impression of the Medici garden 
resolves itself into a sense of fitness, of perfect harmony 
between the material at hand and the use made of it. 
The architect has used his opportunities to the utmost ; 
but he has adapted nature without distorting it. In 
some of the great French gardens, at Vaux and Ver- 
sailles for example, one is conscious, under all the 
beauty, of the immense effort expended, of the vast up- 
heavals of earth, the forced creating of effects ; but it 




was the great gift of the ItaHan gardener to see the nat- 
ural advantages of his incomparable landscape, and to 
fit them into his scheme with an art which concealed 

While Annibale Lippi, an architect known by only- 
two buildings, was laying out the Medici garden, the 
Palatine Hill was being clothed with monumental ter- 
races by a master to whom the Italian Renaissance 
owed much of its stateliest architecture. Vignola, who 
transformed the slopes of the Palatine into the sumptu- 
ous Farnese gardens, was the architect of the mighty 
fortress-villa of Caprarola, and of the garden-portico of 
Mondragone ; and tradition ascribes to him also the in- 
comparable Lante gardens at Bagnaia. 

In the Farnese gardens he found full play for his gift 
of grouping masses and for the scenic sense which en- 
abled him to create such grandiose backgrounds for the 
magnificence of the great Roman prelates. The Pala- 
tine gardens have been gradually sacrificed to the exca- 
vations of the Palace of the Caesars, but their almost 
theatrical magnificence is shown in the prints of Falda 
and of Percier and Fontaine. In this prodigal develop- 
ment of terraces, niches, porticoes and ramps, one per- 
ceives the outcome of Bramante's double staircase in 
the inner gardens of the Vatican, and Burckhardt justly 
remarks that in the Farnese gardens "the period of 
unity of composition and effective grouping of masses " 
finally triumphs over the earlier style. 



No villa was ever built on this site, and there is 
consequently an air of heaviness and over-importance 
about the stately ascent which leads merely to two 
domed pavilions ; but the composition would have 
regained its true value had it been crowned by such a 
palace as the Roman cardinals were beginning to erect 
for themselves. It is especially interesting to note the 
contrast in style and plan between this garden and that 
of the contemporaneous Villa Medici. One was designed 
for display, the other for privacy, and the success with 
which the purpose of each is fulfilled shoAvs the origi- 
nality and independence of their creators. It is a com- 
mon error to think of the Italian gardens of the Renais- 
sance as repeating endlessly the same architectural 
effects : their peculiar charm lies chiefly in the versatility 
with which their designers adapted them to different 
sites and different requirements. 

As an example of this independence of meaningless 
conventions, let the student turn from the Villa Medici 
and the Orti Farnesiani to a third type of villa created 
at the same time — the Casino of Pope Pius IV in the 
Vatican gardens, built in 1560 by the Neapolitan archi- 
tect Pirro Ligorio. 

This exquisite little garden-house lies in a hollow of 
the outer Vatican gardens near the Via de' Fondamenti. 
A hillside once clothed with a grove rises abruptly 
behind it, and in this hillside a deep oblong cut has 
been made and faced with a retaining- wall. In the 




space thus cleared the villa is built, some ten or fifteen 
feet away from the wall, so that its ground floor is cool 
and shaded without bemg damp. The building, which 
is long and narrow, runs lengthwise into the cut, its 
long facades being treated as sides, while it presents 
a narrow end as its front elevation. The propriety of 
this plan will be seen when the restricted surroundings 
are noted. In such a small space a larger structure 
would have been disproportionate ; and Ligorio hit on 
the only means of giving to a house of considerable size 
the appearance of a mere garden-pavilion. 

Percier and Fontaine say that Ligorio built the Villa 
Pia "after the manner of the ancient houses, of which 
he had made a special study." The influence of the 
Roman fresco-architecture is in fact visible in this deli- 
cious little building, but so freely modified by the per- 
sonal taste of the architect that it has none of the rigidity 
of the "reconstitution," but seems rather the day-dream 
of an artist who has saturated his mind with the past. 

The fagade is a mere pretext for the display of the 
most exquisite and varied stucco ornamentation, in 
which motives borrowed from the Roman stucchi are 
harmonized with endless versatility. In spite of the 
wealth of detail, it is saved from heaviness and confu- 
sion by its delicacy of treatment and by a certain naivety 
which makes it more akin (fantastic as the comparison 
may seem) with the stuccoed facade of San Bernardino 
at Perugia than with similar compositions of its own 



period. The angels or genii in the oblong panels are 
curiously suggestive of Agostino da Duccio, and the 
pale-yellow tarnished surface of the stucco recalls the 
delicate hues of the Perugian chapel. 

The ground floor consists of an open loggia of three 
arches on columns, forming a kind of atrium curiously 

faced with an elaborate 
mosaic-work of tiny 
round pebbles, stained 
in various colours and 
set in arabesques and 
other antique patterns. 
The coigns of the fagade 
are formed of this same 
mosaic — a last touch of 
fancifulness where all is 
fantastic. The barrel- 
vault of the atrium is a 
marvel of delicate stiic- 
catitre, evidently inspired by the work of Giovanni da 
Udine at the Villa Madama ; and at each end stands a 
splendid marble basin resting on winged griffins. The 
fragile decorations of this exquisite loggia are open on 
three sides to the weather, and many windows of the 
upper rooms (which are decorated in the same style) are 
unshuttered and have broken panes, so that this unique 
example of cinque-cento decoration is gradually falling 
into ruin from mere exposure. The steps of the atrium, 




flanked by marble Cupids on dolphins, lead to an oval 
paved court with a central fountain in which the Cupid- 
motive is repeated. This court is enclosed by a low wall 
with a seat running around it and surmounted by marble 
vases of a beautiful tazza-like shape. Facing the loggia, 
the wall is broken (as at the Villa di Papa Giulio) by a 
small pavilion resting on an open arcade, with an attic 
adorned with stucco panels ; while at the sides, equidis- 
tant between the villa and the pavilion, are two vaulted 
porticoes, with facades like arches of triumph, by means 
of which access is obtained to curving ramps that lead 
to the lower level of the gardens. These porticoes are 
also richly adorned with stucco panels, and lined within 
with a mosaic-work of pebbles, forming niches for a row 
of busts. 

From the central pavilion one looks down on a tank 
at its base (the pavilion being a story lower on its outer 
or garden side). This tank is surmounted by a statue 
of Thetis on a rock-work throne, in a niche formed in 
the basement of the pavilion. The tank encloses the 
pavilion on three sides, like a moat, and the water, 
gushing from three niches, overflows the low stone curb 
and drips on a paved walk slightly hollowed to receive 
it — a device producing a wonderful effect of coolness 
and superabundance of water. 

The old gardens of the villa were on a level with the 
tank, and Falda's print shows the ingenuity of their 
planning. These gardens have now been almost entirely 



destroyed, and the bosco above the villa has been cut 
down and replaced by bare grass-banks dotted with 

The Villa Pia has been thus minutely described, first, 
because it is seldom accessible, and consequently little 
known; but chiefly because it is virtually not a dwelling- 
house, but a garden-house, and thus forms a part of the 
actual composition of the garden. As such it stands 
alone in Italian architecture, and Burckhardt, who notes 
how well its lavish ornament is suited to a little pleasure- 
pavilion in a garden, is right in describing it as the 
" most perfect retreat imaginable for a midsummer after- 

The outer gardens of the Vatican, in a corner of which 
the Villa Pia lies, were probably laid out by Antonio da 
Sangallo the Younger, who died in 1546; and though 
much disfigured, they still show traces of their original 
plan. The sunny sheltered terrace, espaliered with 
lemons, is a good example of the "walk for the cold 
season " for which Italian garden-architects always pro- 
vided ; and the large sunken flower-garden surrounded 
by hanging woods is one of the earliest instances of this 
effective treatment of the giardino segreto. In fact, the 
Vatican may have suggested many features of the later 
Renaissance garden, with its wide-spread plan which 
gradually came to include the park. 

The seventeenth century saw the development of this 
extended plan, but saw also the decline of the architec- 






tural restraint and purity of detail which mark the 
generation of Vignola and Sangallo. The Villa Bor- 
ghese, built in 1618 by the Flemish architect Giovanni 
Vasanzia (John of Xanten), shows a complete departure 
from the old tradition. Its elevation may indeed be 
traced to the influence of the garden-front of the Villa 
Medici, which was probably the prototype of the gay 
pleasure-house in which ornamental detail superseded 
architectural composition ; but the garden-architecture 
of the Villa Borghese, and the treatment of its extensive 
grounds, show the complete triumph of the baroque. 

The grounds of the Villa Borghese, which include a 
park of several hundred acres, were laid out by Dome- 
nico Savino and Girolamo Rainaldi, while its water- 
works are due to Giovanni Fontana, whose name is 
associated with the great jeux d'eatix of the villas at 
Frascati. Falda's plan shows that the grounds about 
the house have been little changed. At each end of the 
villa is the oblong secret garden, not sunken but walled ; 
in front an entrance-court, at the back an open space 
enclosed in a wall of clipped ilexes against which statues 
were set, and containing a central fountain. Beyond the 
left-hand walled garden are various dependencies, in- 
cluding an aviary. These little buildings, boldly baroque 
in style, surcharged with stucco ornament, and not with- 
out a certain Flemish heaviness of touch, have yet that 
gaiety, that impre'vii, which was becoming the distin- 
guishing note of Roman garden-architecture. On a 



larger scale they would be oppressive ; but as mere 
garden-houses, with their leafy background, and the 
picturesque adjuncts of high walls, wrought-iron gates, 
vases and statues, they have an undeniable charm. 

The plan of the Borghese park has been the subject 
of much discussion. Falda's print shows only the 

vicinity of the villa, and 
it has never been decid- 
ed when the outlying 
grounds were laid out 
and how much they have 
been modified. At pres- 
ent the park, with its 
romantic groves of um- 
brella-pine, its ilex ave- 
nues, lake and amphitheatre, its sham ruins and little 
buildings scattered on irregular grassy knolls, has the 
appearance of 2,jardin anglais\2\d out at the end of the 
eighteenth century. Herr Tuckermann, persuaded that 
this park is the work of Giovanni Fontana, sees in him 
the originator of the "sentimental" English and Ger- 
man landscape-gardens, with their hermitages, mauso- 
leums and temples of Friendship ; but Percier and Fon- 
taine, from whose plan of the park his inference is 
avowedly drawn, state that the grounds were much 
modified in 1789 by Jacob Moore, an English landscape- 
gardener, and by Pietro Camporesi of Rome. Herr 
Gurlitt, who seems to ha\x overlooked this statement, 




declares himself unable to pronounce on the date of this 
"creation already touched with the feeling of sentimen- 
tality"; but Burckhardt, who is always accurate, says 
that the hippodrome and the temple of .^sculapius are 
of late date, and that the park was remodelled in the 
style of Poussin's landscapes in 1849. 

About thirty years later than the Villa Borghese there 
arose its rival among the great Roman country-seats, the 
Villa Belrespiro or Pamphily, on the Janiculan. The 
Villa Pamphily, designed by Alessandro Algardi of 
Bologna, is probably the best known and most admired 
of Roman niaisons de plaisaiice, and its incomparable 
ilex avenues and pine-woods, its rolling meadows and 
wide views over the Campagna, have enchanted many 
to whom its architectural beauties would not appeal. 

The house, with its incrustations of antique bas-reliefs, 
cleverly adapted in the style of the Villa Medici, but 
with far greater richness and license of ornament, is a 
perfect example of the seventeenth-century villa, or 
rather casino ; for it was really intended, not for a resi- 
dence, but for a suburban lodge. It is flanked by lateral 
terraces, and the garden-front is a story lower than the 
other, so that the balcony of the first floor looks down 
on a great sunken garden, enclosed in the retaining-w^alls 
of the terraces, and richly adorned with statues in niches, 
fountains and parterres de broderie. Thence a double 
stairway descends to what was once the central portion 
of the gardens, a great amphitheatre bounded by ilex- 



woods, with a theatre d'eanx and stately flights of 
steps leading up to terraced ilex-groves ; but all this 
lower garden was turned into an English park in the 
first half of the nineteenth century. One of the finest 
of Roman gardens fell a sacrifice to this senseless change; 
for in beauty of site, in grandeur of scale, and in the 
wealth of its Roman sculpture, the Villa Pamphily was 
unmatched. Even now it is full of interesting fragments ; 
but the juxtaposition of an undulating lawn and dotty 
shrubberies to the stately garden-architecture about the 
villa has utterly destroyed the unity of the composition. 
There is a legend to the effect that Le Notre laid out 
the park of the Villa Pamphily when he came to Rome 
in 1678; but Percier and Fontaine, who declare that 
there is nothing to corroborate the story, point out that 
the Villa Pamphily was begun over thirty years before 
Le Notre's visit. Absence of proof, however, means 
little to the average French author, eager to vindicate 
Le Notre's claim to being the father not only of French, 
but of Italian landscape-architecture ; and AI. Riat, in 
" L'Art des Jardins," repeats the legend of the Villa 
Pamphily, while Dussieux, in his "Artists Fran^ais a 
TEtranger," anxious to heap further honours on his com- 
patriot, actually ascribes to him the plan of the Villa 
Albani, which was laid out by Pietro Nolli nearly two 
hundred years after Le Notre's visit to Rome I Appa- 
rently the whole story of Le Notre's laying out of Italian 
gardens is based on the fact that he remodelled some 

I 10 


v' I L L A C H 1 c> 




details of the Villa Ludovisi ; but one need only compare 
the dates of his gardens with those of the principal 
Roman villas to see that he was the pupil and not the 
master of the great Italian garden-architects. 

The last great country house built for a Roman cardi- 
nal is the villa outside the Porta Salaria which Carlo 
Marchionne built in 1746 for Cardinal Albani. In spite 
of its late date, the house still conforms to the type of 
Roman villa snbiirbaiia which originated with the Villa 
Medici ; and it is interesting to observe that the Roman 
architects, having hit on so appropriate and original a 
style, did not fear to continue it in spite of the growing 
tendency toward a lifeless classicalism. 

Cardinal Albani was a passionate collector of antique 
sculpture, and the villa, having been built to display his 
treasures, is appropriately planned with an open arcade 
between rusticated pilasters, which runs the whole length 
of the facade on the ground floor, and is continued by a 
long portico at each end. The grounds, laid out by 
Antonio Nolli, have been much extolled. Burckhardt 
sees in them traces of the reaction of French eighteenth- 
century gardening on the Italian school ; but may it not 
rather be that, the Villa Albani being, by a rare excep- 
tion, built on level ground, the site inevitably suggested 
a treatment similar to the French ? It is hard to find 
anything specifically French, any motive which has not 
been seen again and again in Italy, in the plan of the 
Albani gardens ; and their most charming feature, the 




long ilex-walk connecting the villa with the bosco, 
exemplifies the Italian habit of providing shady access 
from the house to the wood. Dussieux, at any rate, 
paid Le Notre no compliment in attributing to him the 
plan of the Villa Albani ; for the great French artist 
contrived to put more poetry into the flat horizons of 
Vaux and Versailles than Nolli has won from the famous 
view of the Campagna which is said to have governed 
the planning of the Villa Albani. 

The grounds are laid out in formal quincunxes of 
clipped ilex, but before the house lies a vast' sunken 
garden enclosed in terraces. The farther end of the 
garden is terminated by a semicircular portico called the 
Caffe, built later than the house, under the direction of 
Winckelmann ; and in this structure, and in the archi- 
tecture of the terraces, one sees the heavy touch of that 
neo-Grecianism which was to crush the life out of 
eighteenth-century art. The gardens of the Villa Albani 
seem to have been decorated by an archaeologist rather 
than an artist. It is interesting to note that antique 
sculpture, when boldly combined with a living art, is 
one of the most valuable adjuncts of the Italian garden ; 
whereas, set in an artificial evocation of its own past, it 
loses all its vitality and becomes as lifeless as its back- 

One of the most charming of the smaller Roman villas 
lies outside the Porta Salaria, a mile or two beyond the 
Villa Albani. This is the country-seat of Prince Don 





Lodovico Chigi. In many respects it recalls the Sienese 
type of villa. At the entrance, the highroad is enlarged 
into a semicircle, backed by a wall with busts ; and on 
the axis of the iron gates one sees first a court flanked 
by box-gardens, then an open archway running through 
the centre of the house, and beyond that, the vista of a 
long walk enclosed in high box-hedges and terminating 
in another semicircle with statues, backed by an ilex- 
planted mount. The plan has all the compactness and 
charm of the Tuscan and Umbrian villas. The level 
ground about the house is subdivided into eight square 
box-hedged gardens, four on a side, enclosing symmet- 
rical box-bordered plots. Beyond these are two little 
groves with statues and benches. The ground falls away 
in farm-land below this level, leaving only the long cen- 
tral alley which appears to lead to other gardens, but 
which really ends in the afore-mentioned semicircle, 
behind which is a similar alley, running at right angles, 
and leading directly to the fields. 

At the other end of Rome lies the only small Roman 
garden comparable in charm with Prince Chigi's. This 
is the Priorato, or Villa of the Knights of Malta, near 
Santa Sabina, on the Aventine. Piranesi, in 1765, 
remodelled and decorated the old chapel adjoining the 
house ; and it is said that he also laid out the garden. 
If he did so, it shows how late the tradition of the 
Renaissance garden lingered in Italy ; for there is no 
trace of romantic influences in the Priorato. The grounds 


are small, for the house stands on a steep ledge over- 
looking the Tiber, whence there is a glorious view of 
St. Peter's and the Janiclilan. The designer of the 
garden evidently felt that it must be a mere setting to 
this view ; and accordingly he laid out a straight walk, 
walled with box and laurel and running from the gate 
to the terrace above the river. The prospect framed in 
this green tunnel is one of the sights of Rome ; and, by 
a touch peculiarly Italian, the keyhole of the gate has 
been so placed as to take it in. To the left of the 
pleached walk lies a small flower-garden, planted with 
square-cut box-trees, and enclosed in a high wall with 
niches containing statues: a real "secret garden," full 
of sunny cloistered stillness, in restful contrast to the 
wide prospect below the terrace. 

The grounds behind the Palazzo Colonna belong to 
another type, and are an interesting example of the 
treatment of a city garden, especially valuable now that 
so many of the great gardens within the walls of Rome 
have been destroyed. 

The Colonna palace stands at the foot of the Ouirinal 
Hill, and the gardens are built on the steep slope behind 
it, being entered by a stately gateway from the Via 
Quirinale. On this upper level there is a charming 
rectangular box-garden, with flower-plots about a central 
basin. Thence one descends to two narrow terraces, 
one beneath the other, planted with box and ilex, and 
adorned with ancient marbles. Down the centre, start- 



ing from the upper garden, there is an elaborate chateau 
d'eaii of baroque design, with mossy urns and sea-gods, 
terminating in a basin fringed with ferns ; and beneath 
this central composition the garden ends in a third wide 
terrace, planted with square-clipped ilexes, which look 
from above like a level floor of verdure. Graceful stone 
bridges connect this lowest terrace with the first-floor 
windows of the palace, which is divided from its garden 
by a narrow street ; and the whole plan is an interesting 
example of the beauty and variety of effect which may 
be produced on a small steep piece of ground. 

Of the other numerous gardens which once crowned 
the hills of Rome, but few fragments remain. The Villa 
Celimontana, or Mattel, on the Caslian, still exists, but 
its grounds have been so Anglicized that it is interesting 
chiefly from its site and from its associations with 
St. Philip Neri, whose seat beneath the giant ilexes is 
still preserved. The magnificent Villa Ludovisi has 
vanished, leaving only, amid a network of new streets, 
the Casino of the Aurora and a few beautiful fragments 
of architecture incorporated in the courtyard of the ugly 
Palazzo Margherita ; and the equally famous Villa 
Negroni was swept away to make room for the Piazza 
delle Terme and the Grand Hotel. The Villa Sacchetti, 
on the slope of Monte Mario, is in ruins ; in ruins the 
old hunting-lodge of Cecchignola, in the Campagna, on 
the way to the Divino Amore. These and many others 
are gone or going ; but at every turn the watchful eye 



still lights on some lingering fragment of old garden-art 
— some pillared gateway or fluted vasca or broken 
statue cowering in its niche — all testifying to what 
Rome's crown of gardens must have been, and still full 
of suggestion to the student of her past. 

I 20 







THE great cardinals did not all build their villas 
within sight of St. Peter's. One of them, 
Alexander Farnese, chose a site above the 
mountain village of Caprarola, which looks forth over 
the Etrurian plain strewn with its ancient cities — Nepi, 
Orte and Civita Castellana — to Soracte, rising solitary 
in the middle distance, and the encircling line of snow- 
touched Apennines. 

There is nothing in all Italy like Caprarola. Burck- 
hardt calls it "perhaps the highest example of restrained 
majesty which secular architecture has achieved"; and 
Herr Gurlitt makes the interesting suggestion that 
Vignola, in building it, broke away from the traditional 
palace-architecture of Italy and sought his inspiration in 
France. "Caprarola," he says, "shows the northern 
castle in the most modern form it had then attained. . . . 




We have to do here with one of the fortified residences 
rarely seen save in the north, but doubtless necessary 
in a neighbourhood exposed to the ever-increasing 
dangers of brigandage. Italy, indeed, built castles and 
fortified works, but the fortress-palace, equally adapted 
to peace and war, was almost unknown." 

The numerous illustrated publications on Caprarola 
make it unnecessary to describe its complex architecture 
in detail. It is sufficient to say that its five bastions are 
surrounded by a deep moat, across which a light bridge 
at the back of the palace leads to the lower garden. To 
pass from the threatening fagade to the wide-spread 
beauty of pleached walks, fountains and grottoes, brings 
vividly before one the curious contrasts of Italian coun- 
try life in the transition period of the sixteenth century. 
Outside, one pictures the cardinal's soldiers and byavi 
lounging on the great platform above the village ; while 
within, one has a vision of noble ladies and their cava- 
liers sitting under rose-arbours or strolling between 
espaliered lemon-trees, discussing a Greek manuscript 
or a Roman bronze, or listening to the last sonnet of the 
cardinal's court poet. 

The lower garden of Caprarola is a mere wreck of 
overgrown box-parterres and crumbling wall and balus- 
trade. Plaster statues in all stages of decay stand in 
the niches or cumber the paths ; fruit-trees have been 
planted in the flower-beds, and the maidenhair withers 
in grottoes where the water no longer flows. The archi- 




tectural detail of the fountains and arches is sumptuous 
and beautiful, but the outline of the general plan is not 
easy to trace ; and one must pass out of this enclosure 
and climb through hanging oak-woods to a higher level 
to gain an idea of what the gardens once were. 

Beyond the woods a broad tapis vert leads to a level 
space with a circular fountain sunk in turf Partly sur- 
rounding this is an architectural composition of rusti- 
cated arcades, between which a chdteau d'eau descends 
the hillside from a grotto surmounted by two mighty 
river-gods, and forming the central motive of a majestic 
double stairway of rusticated stonework. This leads up 
to the highest terrace, which is crowned by Vignola's 
exquisite casino, surely the most beautiful garden-house 
in Italy. The motive of the arcades and stairway, 
though fine in itself, may be criticized as too massive 
and important to be in keeping with the delicate little 
building above ; but once on the upper terrace, the lack 
of proportion is no longer seen and all the surroundings 
are harmonious. The composition is simple : around 
the casino, with its light arcades raised on a broad flight 
of steps, stretches a level box-garden with fountains, 
enclosed in a low wall surmounted by the famous Cane- 
phorae seen in every picture of Caprarola — huge sylvan 
'figures half emerging from their stone sheaths, some 
fierce or solemn, some full of rustic laughter. The 
audacity of placing that row of fantastic terminal divini- 
ties against reaches of illimitable air girdled in mountains 


gives an indescribable touch of poetry to the upper gar- 
den of Caprarola. There is a quahty of inevitableness 
about it — one feels of it, as of certain great verse, that 
it could not have been otherwise, that, in Vasari's happy 
phrase, it was bom, not built. 

Not more than twelve miles from Caprarola lies the 
other famous villa attributed to Vignola, and which one 
wishes he may indeed have built, if only to show how a 
great artist can vary his resources in adapting himself 
to a new theme. The Villa Lante, at Bagnaia, near 
Viterbo, appears to have been the work not of one car- 
dinal, but of four. Raphael Riario, Cardinal Bishop of 
Viterbo, began it toward the end of the fifteenth century, 
and the work, carried on by his successors in the see, 
Cardinals Ridolfi and Gambara, was finally completed 
in 1588 by Cardinal Montalto, nephew of Sixtus V, 
who bought the estate from the bishops of Viterbo and 
bequeathed it to the Holy See. Percier and Fontaine 
believe that several architects collaborated in the work, 
but its unity of composition shows that the general 
scheme must have originated in one mind, and Herr 
Gurlitt thinks there is nothing to disprove that Vignola 
was its author. 

Lante, like Caprarola, has been exhaustively sketched 
and photographed, but so perfect is it, so far does it 
surpass, in beauty, in preservation, and in the quality 
of garden-magic, all the other great pleasure-houses of 
Italy, that the student of garden-craft may always find 



kO aHT 


fresh inspiration in its study. If Caprarola is "a garden 
to look out from," Lante is one "to look into," not in 
the sense that it is enclosed, for its terraces command a 
wide horizon ; but the pleasant landscape surrounding 
it is merely accessory to the gardens, a last touch of 
loveliness where all is lovely. 

The designer of Lante understood this, and perceived 
that, the surroundings being unobtrusive, he might 
elaborate the foreground. The flower-garden occupies 
a level space in front of the twin pavilions ; for instead 
of one villa there are two at Lante, absolutely identical, 
and connected by a ranipe dottce which ascends between 
them to an upper terrace. This peculiar arrangement 
is probably due to the fact that Cardinal Montalto, who 
built the second pavilion, found there was no other way 
of providing more house-room without disturbing the 
plan of the grounds. The design of the flower-garden 
is intricate and beautiful, and its box-bordered parterres 
surround one of the most famous and beautiful fountains 
in Italy. The abundance of water at Lante enabled the 
designer to produce a great variety of effects in what 
Germans call the "water-art," and nowhere was his 
invention happier than in planning this central fountain. 
It stands in a square tank or basin, surrounded by a 
balustrade, and crossed by four little bridges which lead 
to a circular balustraded walk, enclosing an inner basin 
from the centre of which rises the fountain. Bridges 
also cross from the circular walk to the platform on 


which the fountain is built, so that one may stand under 
the arch of the water-jets, and look across the garden 
through a mist of spray. 

Lante, doubly happy in its site, is as rich in shade as 
in water, and the second terrace, behind the pavilions, 
is planted with ancient plane-trees. Above this terrace 
rise three others, all wooded with plane and ilex, and 
down the centre, from the woods above, rushes the cas- 
cade which feeds the basin in the flower-garden. The 
terraces, with their balustrades and obelisks and double 
flights of steps, form a stately setting to this central 
chateau d'eaii, through which the water gushes by 
mossy steps and channels to a splendid central compo- 
sition of superimposed basins flanked by recumbent 

All the garden-architecture at Lante merits special 
study. The twin pavilions seem plain and insignificant 
after the brilliant elevations of the great Roman villas, 
but regarded as part of the garden-scheme, and not as 
dominating it, they fall into their proper place, and are 
seen to be good examples of the severe but pure style 
of the early cinque-cento. Specially interesting also is 
the treatment of the retaining-wall which faces the en- 
trance to the grounds; and the great gates of the flower- 
gardens, and the fountains and garden-houses on the 
upper terraces, are all happy instances of Renaissance 
garden-art untouched by barocchismo. 

At Lante, also, one sees one of the earliest examples 




of the inclusion of the woodland in the garden-scheme. 
All the sixteenth-century villas had small groves ad- 
jacent to the house, and the shade of the natural wood- 
land was used, if possible, as a backing to the gardens; 
but at the Villa Lante it is boldly worked into the gen- 
eral scheme, the terraces and garden-architecture are 
skilfully blent with it, and its recesses are pierced by 
grass alleys leading to clearings where pools surrounded 
by stone seats slumber under the spreading branches. 

The harmonizing of wood and garden is one of the 
characteristic features of the villas at Frascati ; but as 
these are mostly later in date than the Lante grounds, 
priority of invention may be claimed for the designer 
of the latter. It was undoubtedly from the Italian park 
of the Renaissance that Le Notre learned the use of the 
woodland as an adjunct to the garden ; but in France 
these parks had for the most part to be planted, whereas 
in Italy the garden-architect could use the natural 
woodland, which was usually hilly, and the effects thus 
produced were far more varied and interesting than 
those possible in the flat artificial parks of France. 



Of the three great villas built by cardinals beyond the 
immediate outskirts of Rome, the third and the most 
famous is the Villa d'Este at Tivoli. 



Begun before 1540 by the Cardinal Bishop of Cor- 
dova, the villa became the property of Cardinal Ippolito 
d'Este, son of Alfonso I of Ferrara, who carried on its 
embellishment at the cost of over a million Roman 
scudi. Thence it passed successively to two other 
cardinals of the house of Este, who continued its 
adornment, and finally, in the seventeenth century, was 
inherited by the ducal house of Modena. 

The villa, an unfinished barrack-like building, stands 
on a piazza at one end of the town of Tivoli, above 
gardens which descend the steep hillside to the gorge 
of the Anio. These gardens have excited so much 
admiration that little thought has been given to the 
house, though it is sufficiently interesting to merit 
attention. It is said to have been built by Pirro Ligo- 
rio, and surprising as it seems that this huge featureless 
pile should have been designed by the creator of the 
Casino del Papa, yet one observes that the rooms are 
decorated with the same fantastic pebble-work used in 
such profusion at the Villa Pia. In extenuation of the 
ugliness of the Villa d'Este it should, moreover, be 
remembered that its long fagade is incomplete, save for 
the splendid central portico ; and also that, while the 
Villa Pia was intended as shelter for a summer after- 
noon, the great palace at Tivoli was planned to house a 
cardinal and his guests, including, it is said, "a suite of 
two hundred and fifty gentlemen of the noblest blood 
of Italy." When one pictures such a throng, with their 




innumerable retainers, it is easy to understand why 
the Villa d'Este had to be expanded out of all likeness 
to an ordinary country house. 

The plan is ingenious and interesting. From the vil- 
lage square only a high blank wall is visible. Through 
a door in this wall one passes into a frescoed corridor 
which leads to a court enclosed in an open arcade, with 
fountains in rusticated niches. From a corner of the 
court a fine intramural stairway descends to what is, on 
the garden side, the piano iiobile of the villa. On this 
side, looking over the gardens, is a long enfilade of 
rooms, gaily frescoed by the Zuccheri and their school; 
and behind the rooms runs a vaulted corridor built 
against the side of the hill, and lighted by bull's-eyes in 
its roof. This corridor has lost its frescoes, but preserves 
a line of niches decorated in coloured pebbles and stucco- 
work, with gaily painted stucco caryatids supporting the 
arches ; and as each niche contains a semicircular foun- 
tain, the whole length of the corridor must once have 
rippled with running water. 

The central room opens on the great two-storied por- 
tico or loggia, whence one descends by an outer stair- 
way to a terrace running the length of the building, and 
terminated at one end by an ornamental wall, at the 
other by an open loggia overlooking the Campagna. 
From this upper terrace, with its dense wall of box and 
laurel, one looks down on the towering cypresses and 
ilexes of the lower gardens. The grounds are not large, 



but the impression produced is full of a tragic grandeur. 
The villa towers above so high and bare, the descent 
from terrace to terrace is so long and steep, there are 
such depths of mystery in the infinite green distances 
and in the cypress-shaded pools of the lower garden, 
that one has a sense of awe rather than of pleasure in 
descending from one level to another of darkly rustling 
green. But it is the omnipresent rush of water which 
gives the Este gardens their peculiar character. From 
the Anio, drawn up the hillside at incalculable cost and 
labour, a thousand rills gush downward, terrace by ter- 
race, channelling the stone rails of the balusters, leaping 
from step to step, dripping into mossy conchs, flashing 
in spray from the horns of sea-gods and the jaws of 
mythical monsters, or forcing themselves in irrepressible 
overflow down the ivy-matted banks. The whole length 
of the second terrace is edged by a deep stone channel, 
into which the stream drips by countless outlets over a 
quivering fringe of maidenhair. Every side path or 
flight of steps is accompanied by its sparkling rill, every 
niche in the retaining-walls has its water-pouring nymph 
or gushing urn ; the solemn depths of green reverberate 
with the tumult of innumerable streams. "The Anio," 
as Herr Tuckermann says, "throbs through the whole 
organism of the garden like its inmost vital principle." 

The gardens of the Villa d'Este were probably begun 
by Pirro Ligorio, and, as Herr Gurlitt thinks, continued 
later by Giacomo della Porta. It will doubtless never 




be known how much Ligorio owed to the taste of Orazio 
OHvieri, the famous hydraulic engineer, who raised the 
Anio to the hilltop and organized its distribution through 
the grounds. But it is apparent that the whole compo- 
sition was planned about the central fact of the rushing 
Anio : that the gardens were to be, as it were, an organ 
on which the water played. The result is extraordinarily 
romantic and beautiful, and the versatility with which 
the stream is used, the varying effects won from it, bear 
witness to the imaginative feeling of the designer. 

When all has been said in praise of the poetry and 
charm of the Este gardens, it must be owned that from 
the architect's standpoint they are less satisfying than 
those of the other great cinque-cento villas. The plan 
is worthy of all praise, but the details are too compli- 
cated, and the ornament is either trivial or cumbrous. 
So inferior is the architecture to that of the Lante gar- 
dens and Caprarola that Burckhardt was probably right 
in attributing much of it to the seventeenth century. 
Here for the first time one feels the heavy touch of the 
baroque. The fantastic mosaic and stucco temple con- 
taining the water-organ above the great cascade, the 
arches of triumph, the celebrated "grotto of Arethusa," 
the often-sketched fountain on the second terrace, all 
seem pitiably tawdry when compared with the garden- 
architecture of Raphael or Vignola. Some of the details 
of the composition are absolutely puerile — such as the 
toy model of an ancient city, thought to be old Rome, 



and perhaps suggested by the miniature "Valley of 
Canopus " in the neighbouring Villa of Hadrian ; and 
there are endless complications of detail, where the 
earlier masters would have felt the need of breadth and 
simplicity. Above all, there is a want of harmony be- 
tween the landscape and its treatment. The baroque 
garden-architecture of Italy is not without charm, and 
even a touch of the grotesque has its attraction in the 
fiat gardens of Lombardy or the sunny Euganeans; 
but the cypress-groves of the Villa d'Este are too 
solemn, and the Roman landscape is too august, to 
suffer the nearness of the trivial. 



The most famous group of villas in the Roman 
country-side lies on the hill above Frascati. Here, 
in the middle of the sixteenth century, Flaminio Pon- 
zio built the palace of Mondragone for Cardinal 
Scipione Borghese.' Aloft among hanging ilex-woods 
rises the mighty pile on its projecting basement. This 
fortress-like ground floor, with high-placed grated win- 
dows, is common to all the earlier villas on the brig- 
and-haunted slopes of Frascati. An avenue of ancient 
ilexes (now cruelly cut down) leads up through the park 
to the villa, which is preceded by a great walled 

' The villa was begun by Martino Lunghi the Elder, in 1567, for the Cardinal 
Marco d' Altemps, enlarged by Pope Gregory VII, and completed by Paul V and 
his nephew, Cardinal Scipione Borghese. See Gustav Ebe, " Die Spatrenaissance." 




courtyard, with fountains in the usual rusticated niches. 
To the right of this court is another, flanked by the 
splendid loggia of Vignola, with the Borghese eagles 
and dragons alternating in its sculptured spandrels, 
and a vaulted ceiling adorned with stucchi — one of the 
most splendid pieces of garden-architecture in Italy. 

At the other end of this inner court, which was for- 
merly a flower-garden, Giovanni Fontana, whose name 
is identified with the fountains of Frascati, constructed a 
theatre cfeaii, raised above the court, and approached 
by a double ramp elaborately inlaid in mosaic. This 
ornate composition, with a series of mosaic niches sim- 
ulating arcaded galleries in perspective, is now in ruins, 
and the most impressive thing about Mondragone is the 
naked majesty of its great terrace, unadorned save by a 
central fountain and two tall twisted columns, and look- 
ing out over the wooded slopes of the park to Frascati, 
the Campagna, and the sea. 

On a neighbouring height lies the more famous Villa 
Aldobrandini, built for the cardinal of that name by 
Giacomo della Porta in 1598, and said by Evelyn, who 
saw it fifty years later, "to surpass the most delicious 
places ... for its situation, elegance, plentiful water, 
groves, ascents and prospects." 

The house itself does not bear comparison with such 
buildings as the Villa Medici or the Villa Pamphily. In 
style it shows the first stage of the baroque, before that 
school had found its formula. Like all the hill -built 
villas of Frascati, it is a story lower at the back than in 


front; and the roof of this lower story forms at each end 
a terrace level with the first-floor windows. These 
terraces are adorned with two curious turrets, resting 
on baroque basements and crowned by swallow-tailed 
crenellations — a fantastic reversion to mediaevalism, 
more suggestive of "Strawberry Hill Gothic" than of 
the Italian seventeenth century. 

Orazio Olivieri and Giovanni Fontana are said to 
have collaborated with Giacomo della Porta in design- 
ing the princely gardens of the villa. Below the house 
a series of splendid stone terraces lead to a long tapis 
vert, with an ilex avenue down its centre, which 
descends to the much-admired grille of stone and 
wrought-iron enclosing the grounds at the foot of the 
hill. Behind the villa, in a semicircle cut out of the 
hillside, is Fontana's famous water-theatre, of which 
Evelyn gives a picturesque description: "Just behind 
the Palace . . . rises a high hill or mountain all overclad 
with tall wood, and so formed by nature as if it had 
been cut out by art, from the summit of which falls a 
cascade . . . precipitating into a large theatre of water. 
Under this is an artificial grot wherein are curious 
rocks, hydraulic organs, and all sorts of singing birds, 
moving and chirping by force of the water, with several 
other pageants and surprising inventions. In the centre 
of one of these rooms rises a copper ball that continually 
dances about three feet above the pavement, by virtue 
of a wind conveyed secretly to a hole beneath it ; with 

I ^2 



many other devices for wetting the unwary spectators, 
... In one of these theatres of water is an Atlas 
spouting, . . . and another monster makes a terrible 
roaring with a horn ; but, above all, the representation 
of a storm is most natural, with such fury of rain, wind 
and thunder as one would imagine oneself in some 
extreme tempest." 

Atlas and the monster are silent, and the tempest has 
ceased to roar ; but the architecture of the great water- 
theatre remains intact. It has been much extolled by so 
good a critic as Herr Gurlitt, yet compared with Vi- 
gnola's loggia at Mondragone or the terrace of the Orti 
Farnesiani, it is a heavy and uninspired production. It 
suffers also from too great proximity to the villa, and 
from being out of scale with the latter's modest eleva- 
tion : there is a distinct lack of harmony between the 
two facades. But even Evelyn could not say too much 
in praise of the glorious descent of the cascade from the 
hilltop. It was in the guidance of rushing water that 
the Roman garden-architects of the seventeenth century 
showed their poetic feeling and endless versatility ; and 
the architecture of the upper garden at the Aldobrandini 
merits all the admiration which has been wasted on its 
pompous theatre. 

Another example of a theatre d'eau, less showy but 
far more beautiful, is to be seen at the neighbouring Villa 
Conti (now Torlonia). Of the formal gardens of this 
villa there remain only the vast terraced stairways which 



now lead to an ilex-grove level with the first story of 
the villa. This grove is intersected by mossy alleys, 
leading to circular clearings where fountains overflow 
their wide stone basins, and benches are ranged about 
in the deep shade. The central alley, on the axis of the 
villa, leads through the w^ood to a great grassy semi- 
circle at the foot of an ilex-clad hill. The base of the 
hillside is faced with a long arcade of twenty niches, 
divided by pilasters, and each containing a fountain. In 
the centre is a great baroque pile of rock-w^ork, from 
which the spray tosses into a semicircular basin, which 
also receives the cascade descending from the hilltop. 
This cascade is the most beautiful example of fountain- 
architecture in Frascati. It falls by a series of inclined 
stone ledges into four oval basins, each a little wider 
than the one above it. On each side, stone steps which 
follow the curves of the basins lead to a grassy plateau 
above, with a balustraded terrace overhanging the rush 
of the cascade. The upper plateau is enclosed in ilexes, 
and in its centre is one of the most beautiful fountains 
in Italy — a large basin surrounded by a richly sculp- 
tured balustrade. The plan of this fountain is an inter- 
esting example of the variety which the Italian garden- 
architects gave to the outline of their basins. Even in 
the smaller gardens the plan of these basins is varied 
with taste and originality ; and the small wall-fountains 
are also worthy of careful study. 

Among the villas of Frascati there are two, less 



"MflT F ^^^^^^^H 


famous than the foregoing, but even more full of a 
romantic charm. One is the \^illa Muti, a mile or two 
beyond the town, on the way to Grotta Ferrata. From 
the gate three ancient ilex avenues lead to the villa, the 
central one being on the axis of the lowest garden. The 
ground rises gradually toward the house, and the space 
between the ilex avenues w^as probably once planted in 
formal boschi, as fragments of statuary are still seen 
among the trees. The house, set against the hillside, 
with the usual fortress-like basement, is two stories 
lower toward the basse-cour than toward the gardens. 
The avenue to the left of the entrance leads to a small 
garden, probably once a court, in front of the villa, 
whence one looks down over a mighty retaining-wall at 
the basse-coiir on the left. On the right, divided from 
the court by a low wall surmounted by vases, lies the 
most beautiful box-garden in Italy, laid out in an elab- 
orate geometrical design, and enclosed on three sides by 
high clipped walls of box and laurel, and on the fourth 
by a retaining-wall which sustains an upper garden. 
Nothing can surpass the hushed and tranquil beauty of 
the scene. There are no flowers or bright colours — only 
the contrasted tints of box and ilex and laurel, and the 
vivid green of the moss spreading over damp paths and 
ancient stonework. 

In the upper garden, which is of the same length but 
narrower, the box-parterres are repeated. This garden, 
at the end nearest the villa, has a narrow raised terrace, 



with an elaborate architectural retaining-vvall, containing 
a central fountain in stucco-work. Steps flanked by- 
statues lead up to this fountain, and thence one passes 
by another flight of steps to the third, or upper, garden, 
which is level with the back of the villa. This third 
garden, the largest of the three, was once also laid out 
in formal parterres and bosquets set with statues, and 
though it has now been remodelled in the landscape 
style, its old plan may still be traced. Before it was 
destroyed the three terraces of the Villa Muti must have 
formed the most enchanting garden in Frascati, and 
their plan and architectural details are worthy of careful 
study, for they belong to the rare class of small Italian 
gardens where grandeur was less sought for than charm 
and sylvan seclusion, and where the Latin passion for 
the monumental was subordinated to a desire for mod- 
eration and simplicity. 

The Villa Falconieri, on the hillside below Mondra- 
gone, is remarkable for the wealth of its garden-archi- 
tecture. The grounds are entered by two splendid 
stone gateways, the upper one being on an axis with the 
villa. A grass avenue leads from this gate to an arch 
of triumph, a rusticated elevation with niches and 
statues, surmounted by the inscription " Horatius Fal- 
conieris," and giving access to the inner grounds. 
Hence a straight avenue runs between formal ilex- 
groves to the court before the house. On the right, 
above the bosco, is a lofty wall of rock, picturesquely 

1 60 



overgrown by shrubs and creepers, with busts and 
other fragments of antique sculpture set here and there 
on its projecting ledges. This natural cliff sustains an 
upper plateau, where there is an oblong artificial water 
(called "the lake") enclosed in rock-work and sur- 
rounded by a grove of mighty cypresses. From this 
shady solitude the wooded slopes of the lower park are 
reached by a double staircase so simple and majestic in 
design that it harmonizes perfectly with the sylvan wild- 
ness which characterizes the landscape. This staircase 
should be studied as an example of the way in which 
the Italian garden-architects could lay aside exuberance 
and whimsicality when their work was intended to blend 
with some broad or solemn effect of nature. 

The grounds of the Villa Falconieri were laid out by 
Cardinal Ruffini in the first half of the sixteenth century, 
but the villa was not built till 1648. It is one of the 
most charming creations of Borromini, that brilliant 
artist in whom baroque architecture found its happiest 
expression; and the Villa Falconieri makes one regret 
that he did not oftener exercise his fancy in the con- 
struction of such pleasure-houses. The elevation 
follows the tradition of the Roman villa siibiirbana. 
The centre of the ground floor is an arcaded loggia, 
the roof of which forms a terrace to the recessed story 
above ; while the central motive of this first story is 
another semicircular recess, adorned with stucco orna- 
ment and surmounted by a broken pediment. The 



attic story is set still farther back, so that its balustraded 
roof-Une forms a background for the richly decorated 
facade, and the building, though large, thus preserves 
the airy look and lightness of proportion which had 
come to be regarded as suited to the suburban pleasure- 

To the right of the villa, the composition is prolonged 
by a gateway with coupled columns surmounted by 
stone dogs, and leading from the forecourt to the 
adjoining basse-coiir. About the latter are grouped a 
number of low farm-buildings, to which a touch of the 
baroque gives picturesqueness. In the charm of its 
elevation, and in the happy juxtaposition of garden- 
walls and outbuildings, the Villa Falconieri forms the 
most harmonious and successful example of garden- 
architecture in Frascati. 

The elevation which most resembles it is that of the 
Villa Lancellotti. Here the house, which is probably 
nearly a century earlier, shows the same happy use of 
the open loggia, which in this case forms the central 
feature of the first story, above a stately pedimented 
doorway. The loggia is surmounted by a kind of 
square-headed gable crowned by a balustrade with 
statues, and the facade on each side of this central com- 
position is almost Tuscan in its severity. Before the 
house lies a beautiful box-garden of intricate design, 
enclosed in high walls of ilex, with the inevitable tlicdtre 
d'eau at its farther end. This is a semicircular compo- 




sition, with statues in niches between rusticated pilasters, 
and a central grotto whence a fountain pours into a 
wide balustraded basin ; the whole being surmounted 
by another balustrade, with a statue set on each pier. 
It is harmonious and dignified in design, but unfor- 
tunately a fresh coating of brown and yellow paint has 
destroyed that exquisite patina by means of which the 
climate of Italy effects the gradual blending of nature 
and architecture. 







GENOA, one of the most splendour-loving cities 
in Italy, had almost always to import her 
splendour. In reading Soprani's " Lives of the 
Genoese Painters, Sculptors and Architects," one is 
struck by the fact that, with few exceptions, these wor- 
thies were Genoese only in the sense of having placed 
their talents at the service of the merchant princes who 
reared the marble city above its glorious harbour. 

The strength of the race lay in other directions ; but, 
as is often the case with what may be called people of 
secondary artistic instincts, the Genoese pined for the 
beauty they could not create, and in the sixteenth cen- 
tury they called artists from all parts of Italy to embody 
their conceptions of magnificence. Two of the most 
famous of these. Era Montorsoli and Pierin del Vaga, 
came from Florence, Galeazzo Alessi from Perugia, 
Giovanni Battista Castello from Bergamo; and it is to 
the genius of these four men, sculptor, painter, architect, 
and shtccatore (and each more or less versed in the 
crafts of the (Others), that Genoa owes the greater part 
of her magnificence. 


Fra Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, the Florentine, must 
here be named first, since his chief work, the Palazzo 
Andrea Doria, built in 1529, is the earliest of the great 
Genoese villas. It is also the most familiar to modern 
travelers, for the other beautiful country houses which 
formerly crowned the heights above Genoa, from Pegli 
to Nervi, have now been buried in the growth of manu- 
facturing suburbs, so that only the diligent seeker after 
villa-architecture will be likely to come upon their ruined 
gardens and peeling stucco facades among the factory 
chimneys of Sampierdarena or the squalid tenements 
of San Fruttuoso. 

The great Andrea Doria, "Admiral of the Navies of 
the Pope, the Emperor, the King of France and the 
Republic of Genoa," in 1521 bought the villas Lomel- 
lini and Giustiniani, on the western shore of the port 
of Genoa, and throwing the two estates together, cre- 
ated a villa wherein " to enjoy in peace the fruits of an 
honoured life" — so runs the inscription on the outer 
wall of the house. 

Fra Montorsoli was first and foremost a sculptor, a 
pupil of Michelangelo's, a plastic artist to whom archi- 
tecture was probably of secondary interest. Partly per- 
haps for this reason, and also because the Villa Doria 
was in great measure designed to show the frescoes of 
Pierin del Vaga, there is little elaboration in its treat- 
ment. Yet the continuous open loggia on the ground 
floor, and the projecting side colonnades enclosing the 



upper garden, give an airy elegance to the water-front, 
and make it, in combination with its mural paintings 
and stucco-ornamentation, and the sculpture of the gar- 
dens, one of the most villa-like of Italian villas. The 
gardens themselves descend in terraces to the shore, 
and contain several imposing marble fountains, among 
them one with a statue of Neptune, executed in 1600 by 
the Carloni, and supposed to be a portrait of the great 

The house stands against a steep terraced hillside, 
formerly a part of the grounds, but now unfortunately 
divided from them by the railway cutting. A wide 
tapis vert still ascends the hill to a colossal Jupiter 
(under which the Admiral's favourite dog is said to be 
buried); and when the villa is seen from the harbour one 
understands how necessary this stately terraced back- 
ground was to the setting of the low-lying building. 
Beautiful indeed must have been the surroundings of 
the villa when Evelyn visited it in 1644, and described 
the marble terraces above the sea, the aviary "wherein 
grew trees of more than two feet in diameter, besides 
cypress, myrtles, lentiscuses and other rare shrubs," and 
"the other two gardens full of orange-trees, citrons and 
pomegranates, fountains, grots and statues." All but 
the statues have now disappeared, yet much of the old 
garden-magic lingers in the narrow strip between house 
and sea. It is the glory of the Italian garden-architects 
that neglect and disintegration cannot wholly mar the 



effects they were skilled in creating : effects due to such 
a fine sense of proportion, to so exquisite a perception 
of the relation between architecture and landscape, be- 
tween verdure and marble, that while a trace of their 
plan remains one feels the spell of the whole. 

When Rubens came to Genoa in 1607 he was so 
impressed by the magnificence of its great street of 
palaces — the lately built Strada Nuova — that he re- 
corded his admiration in a series of etchings, published 
in Antwerp in 1622 under the title " Palazzi di Geneva," 
a priceless document for the student of Renaissance 
architecture in Italy, since the Flemish master did not con- 
tent himself with mere impressionist sketches, like Cana- 
letto's fanciful Venetian etchings, but made careful archi- 
tectural drawings and bird's-eye views of all the prmcipal 
Genoese palaces. As many of these buildings have since 
been altered, Rubens's volume has the additional value 
of preserving a number of interesting details which might 
never have been recovered by subsequent study. 

The Strada Nuova of Genoa, planned by Galeazzo 
Alessi between 1550 and 1560, is the earliest example 
in Europe of a street laid out by an architect with delib- 
erate artistic intent, and designed to display the palaces 
with which he subsequently lined it. Hitherto, streets 
had formed themselves on the natural lines of traffic, and 
individual houses had sprung up along them without 
much regard to the site or style of their nearest neigh- 
bors. The Strada Nuova, on the contrary, was planned 



and carried out homogeneously, and was thus the pro- 
genitor of all the great street plans of modern Europe — 
of the Place Royale and the Place Vendome in Paris, the 
great Place at Nancy, the grouping of Palladian palaces 
about the Basilica of Vicenza, and all subsequent attempts 
to create an organic whole out of a number of adjacent 
buildings. Even Lenfant's plan of Washington may be 
said to owe its first impulse to the Perugian architect's 
conception of a street of palaces. 

When Alessi projected this great work he had open 
ground to build on, though, as Evelyn remarked, the 
rich Genoese merchants had, like the Hollanders, "little 
or no extent of ground to employ their estates in." 
Still, there was space enough to permit of spreading 
porticoes and forecourts, and to one of the houses in the 
Strada Nuova Alessi gave the ample development and 
airy proportions of a true villa siibiirbana. This is the 
Palazzo Parodi, which, like the vanished Sauli palace, 
shows, instead of the block plan of the city dwelling, a 
central corps de bdtinient with pavilions crowned by 
open loggias, and a rusticated screen dividing the court 
from the street. It is curious that, save in the case of 
the beautiful Villa Sauli (now completely rebuilt), Alessi 
did not repeat this appropriate design in the country 
houses with which he adorned the suburbs of Genoa — 
those " ravishing retirements of the Genoese nobility " 
which prolonged the splendour of the city for miles along 
the coast. Of his remaining villas, all are built on the 



block plan, or with but slight projections, and rich though 
they are in detail, and stately in general composition, 
they lack that touch of fantasy which the Roman villa- 
architects knew how to impart. 

Before pronouncing this a defect, however, one must 
consider the different conditions under which Alessi and 
his fellow-architects in Genoa had to work. Annibale 
Lippi, Pirro Ligorio, Giacomo della Porta and Carlo 
Borromini reared their graceful loggias and stretched 
their airy colonnades against masses of luxuriant foliage 
and above a far- spreading landscape, 

To the sea's edge for gloss and gloom, 

while Alessi and Montorsoli had to place their country 
houses on narrow ledges of waterless rock, with a thin 
coating of soil parched by the wind, and an outlook 
over the serried roofs and crowded shipping of a com- 
mercial city. The Genoese gardens are mere pockets 
of earth in coigns of masonry, where a few olives and 
bay-trees fight the sun-glare and sea-wind of a harsh 
winter and a burning summer. The beauty of the 
prospect consists in the noble outline of the harbour, 
enclosed in exquisitely modelled but leafless hills, and 
in the great blue stretch of sea on which, now and then, 
the mountains of Corsica float for a moment. It will 
be seen that, amid such surroundings, the architectural 
quality must predominate over the picturesque or natu- 

■ 78 


ralistic. Not only the natural restrictions of site and soil, 
but the severity of the landscape and the nearness of a 
great city, made it necessary that the Genoese villa- 
architects should produce their principal effects by means 
of masonry and sculpture, rather than of water and ver- 
dure. The somewhat heavy silhouette of the Genoese 
country houses is thus perhaps partly explained ; for 
where the garden had to be a stone monument, it would 
have been illogical to make the house less massive. 

The most famous of Alessi's vHlas lies in the once 
fashionable suburb of Sampierdarena, to the west of 
Genoa. Here, along the shore, were clustered the 
most beautiful pleasure-houses of the merchant princes. 
The greater number have now been turned into tene- 
ments for factory-workers, or into actual factories, while 
the beautiful gardens descending to the sea have been 
cut in half by the railway and planted with cabbages 
and mulberries. Amid this labyrinth of grimy walls, 
crumbling loggias and waste ground heaped with mel- 
ancholy refuse, it is not easy to find one's way to the 
Villa Imperiali (now Scassi), the masterpiece of Alessi, 
which stands as a solitary witness to the former " ravish- 
ments" of Sampierdarena. By a happy chance this villa 
has become the property of the municipality, which has 
turned the house into a girls' school, while the grounds 
are used as a public garden ; and so well have house 
and grounds been preserved that the student of archi- 
tecture may here obtain a good idea of the magnificence 



with which the Genoese nobles surrounded even their 
few weeks of villcggiatiira. To match such magnifi- 
cence, one must look to one of the great villas of the 
Roman cardinals ; and, with the exception of the Villa 
Doria Pamphily (which is smaller) and of the \'illa 
Albani, it would be difficult to cite an elevation where 
palatial size is combined with such lavish richness of 

Alessi was once thought to have studied in Rome 
under Michelangelo ; but Herr Gurlitt shows that the 
latter was absent from Rome from 151 6 to 1535 — that 
is, precisely during what must have been the formative 
period of Alessi's talent. The Perugian architect 
certainly shows little trace of Michelangelesque influ- 
ences, but seems to derive rather from the school of his 
own great contemporary, Palladio. 

The Villa Scassi, with its Tuscan order below and 
fluted Corinthian pilasters above, its richly carved frieze 
and cornice, and its beautiful roof-balustrade, is perhaps 
more familiar to students than any other example of 
Genoese suburban architecture. Almost alone among 
Genoese villas, it stands at the foot of a hill, with gar- 
dens rising behind it instead of descending below it to 
the sea. Herr Gurlitt thinks these grounds are among 
the earliest in Italy in which the narrow mediaeval Jiortus 
inchtsus was blent with the wider lines of the landscape ; 
indeed, he makes the somewhat surprising statement that 
" all the later garden-craft has its source in Alessi, who, 





in the Scassi gardens, has shown to the full his charac- 
teristic gift for preserving unity of conception in multi- 
plicity of form." 

There could be no better definition of the garden- 
science of the Italian Renaissance ; and if, as it seems 
probable, the Scassi gardens are earlier in date than the 
Boboli and the Orti Farnesiani, they certainly fill an 
important place in the evolution of the pleasure-ground ; 
but the Vatican gardens, if they were really designed by 
Antonio da Sangallo, must still be regarded as the 
source from which the later school of landscape-archi- 
tects drew their first inspiration. It was certainly here, 
and in the unfinished gardens of the Villa Madama, 
that the earliest attempts were made to bring the un- 
tamed forms of nature into relation with the disciplined 
lines of architecture. 

Herr Gurlitt is, however, quite right in calling atten- 
tion to the remarkable manner in which the architectural 
lines of the Scassi gardens have been adapted to their 
site, and also to the skill with which Alessi contrived 
the successive transition from the formal surroundings 
of the house to the sylvan freedom of the wooded hill- 
top beneath which it lies. 

A broad terrace, gently sloping with the natural grade 
of the land, leads up to a long level walk beneath the 
high retaining-wall which sustains the second terrace. 
In the centre of this retaining-wall is a beautifully de- 
signed triple niche, divided by Atlantides supporting a 



delicately carved entablature, while a double flight of 
steps encloses this central composition. Niches with 
statues and marble seats also adorn the lateral walls of 
the gardens, and on the upper terrace is a long tank or 
canal, flanked by clipped shrubs and statues. Thence 
an inclined path leads to a rusticated temple with co- 
lomies torses, and statues in niches above fluted basins 
into which water once flowed ; and beyond this there is 
a winding ascent to the grove which crowns the hill. 
All the architectural details of the garden are remark- 
able for a classical purity and refinement, except the 
rusticated temple, of which the fantastic columns are 
carved to resemble tree-trunks. This may be of later 
date ; but if contemporary, its baroque style was prob- 
ably intended to mark the transition from the formality 
of the lower gardens to the rustic character of the natu- 
ralistic landscape above — to form, in fact, a gate from 
the garden to the park. 

The end of the sixteenth century saw this gradual 
recognition of nature, and adoption of her forms, in the 
architecture and sculpture of the Italian pleasure-house, 
and more especially in those outlying constructions 
which connected the formal and the sylvan portions of 
the grounds. 'Tn mid-Renaissance garden-architecture," 
as Herr Tuckermann puts it, " the relation between art 
and landscape is reversed. Previously the garden had 
had to adapt itself to architecture ; now architectural 
forms are forced into a resemblance with nature." 



Bernini was the great exponent of this new impulse, 
though it may be traced back as far as Michelangelo. 
It was Bernini who first expressed in his fountains the 
tremulous motion and shifting curves of water, and who 
put into his garden-sculpture that rustle oi piein air 
which the modern painter seeks to express in his land- 
scapes. To trace the gradual development of this rap- 
prochement to nature at a period so highly artificial 
would be beyond the scope of these articles ; but in 
judging the baroque garden architecture and sculpture 
of the late Renaissance, it should be remembered that 
they are not the expression of a wilful eccentricity, but 
an attempted link between the highly conventionalized 
forms of urban art and that life of the fields and woods 
which was beginning to charm the imagination of poets 
and painters. 

On the height above the Acqua Sola gardens, on the 
eastern side of Genoa, lies Alessi's other great country 
house, the Villa Pallavicini alle Peschiere — not to be 
confounded with the ridiculous Villa Pallavicini at Pegli, 
a brummagem creation of the early nineteenth century, 
to which the guide-books still send throngs of unsus- 
pecting tourists, who come back imagining that this 
tawdry jumble of weeping willows and Chinese pagodas, 
mock Gothic ruins and exotic vegetation, represents the 
typical "Itahan garden," of which so much is said and 
so little really known. 

The Villa Pallavicini alle Peschiere (a drawing of 



which may be seen in Rubens's collection) is in site 
and design a typical Genoese suburban house of the 
sixteenth century. The lower story has a series of 
arched windows between Ionic pilasters; above are 
square-headed windows with upper lights, divided by 
fluted Corinthian pilasters and surmounted by a beau- 
tiful cornice and a roof-balustrade of unusual design, 
in which groups of balusters alternate with oblong 
panels of richly carved openwork. The very slightly 
projecting wings have, on both stories, arched recesses 
in which heroic statues are painted in grisaille. 

The narrow ledge of ground on which the villa is 
built permits only of a broad terrace in front of the house, 
with a central basin surmounted by a beautiful winged 
figure and enclosed in stone-edged flower-beds. Stately 
flights of steps lead down to a lower terrace, of which 
the mighty retaining-wall is faced by a Doric portico, 
with a recessed loggia behind it. From this level other 
flights of steps, flanked by great balustraded walls nearly 
a hundred feet high, descend to a third terrace, narrower- 
than the others, whence one looks down into lower- 
lying gardens, wedged into every projecting shelf of 
ground between palace roofs and towering slopes of 
masonry; while directly beneath this crowded foreground 
sparkles the blue expanse of the Mediterranean. 

On a higher ledge, above the Villa Pallavicini, lies the 
Villa Durazzo-Grapollo, perhaps also a work of Alessi's. 
Here the unusual extent of ground about the house has 

1 86 


permitted an interesting development of landscape-archi- 
tecture. A fine pedimented gateway with rusticated piers 
gives admission to a straight avenue of plane-trees lead- 
ing up to the house, which is a dignified building with 
two stories, a ineszaniii and an attic. The windows on 
the ground floor are square-headed, with oblong sunk 
panels above; while on the first floor there is a slightly 
baroque movement about the architraves, and every other 
window is surmounted by a curious shell-shaped pedi- 
ment. On the garden side a beautiful marble balcony 
forms the central motive of the piano iiobile, and the 
roof is enclosed in a balustrade with alternate solid 
panels and groups of balusters. The plan is oblong, 
with slightly projecting wings, adorned on both stories 
with coupled pilasters, which on the lower floor are rus- 
ticated and above are fluted Corinthian, painted on the 
stucco surface of the house. This painting of archi- 
tectural ornament is very characteristic of Genoese 
architecture, and was done with such skill that, at a 
little distance, it is often impossible to distinguish a 
projecting architectural member from its frescoed coun- 

In front of the villa is a long narrow formal garden, 
supported on three sides by a lofty retaining- wall. Down 
the middle of this garden, on an axis with the central 
doorway of the fagade, runs a canal terminated by 
reclining figures of river-gods and marble dolphins 
spouting water. An ilex-walk flanks it on each side, 



and at the farther end a balustrade encloses this upper 
garden, and two flights of steps, with the usual central 
niche, lead to the next level. Here there is a much 
greater extent of ground, and the old formal lines have 
been broken up into the winding paths and shrubberies 
o{2u J ardin anglais. Even here, however, traces of the ori- 
ginal plan may be discovered, and statues and fountains 
are scattered with charming effect among the irregular 
plantations, while paths between clipped walls of green 
lead to beautiful distant views of the sea and moun- 
tains. Specially interesting is the treatment of the 
lateral retaining- walls of the upper garden. In these 
immense ramparts of masonry have been cut tunnels 
decorated with shellwork and stucco ornament, which 
lead up by a succession of wide steps to the ground on 
a level with the house. One of these tunnels contains a 
series of pools of water, which finally pour into a stream 
winding through a romantic boscJietto on a lower 
level. Here, as at the Villa Scassi, all the garden- 
architecture is pure and dignified in style, and there is 
great beauty in the broad and simple treatment of the 
upper terrace, with its canal and ilex-walks. 

From the terraces of the Villa Durazzo one looks 
forth over the hillside of San Francesco d'Albaro, the 
suburb which balances Sampierdarena on the east. 
Happily this charming district is still a fashionable 
villeggi-atura, and the houses which Alessi built on its 
slopes s'-and above an almost unaltered landscape of 



garden and vineyard. A fine road crosses the Bisagno 
and leads up between high walls and beautiful hanging 
gardens, passing at every turn some charming villa- 
fagade in its setting of cypresses and camellias. Among 
these, one should not overlook the exquisite little Para- 
disino, a pale-green toy villa with Ionic pilasters and 
classic pediment, perched above a high terrace on the 
left of the ascent. 

Just above stands the Paradiso (or Villa Cambiaso), 
another masterpiece of Alessi's," to which it is almost 
impossible to obtain admission. Unfortunately, the 
house stands far back from the road, above intervening 
terraces and groves, and one can obtain only an imper- 
fect glimpse of its beautiful facade, which is as ornate 
and imposing as that of the Villa Scassi, and of garden- 
walks lined with clipped hedges and statues. 

At Alessi's other Villa Cambiaso, higher up the hill 
of San Francesco d'Albaro, a more hospitable welcome 
awaits the sight-seer. Here admission is easily obtained, 
and it is possible to study and photograph at leisure. 
This villa is remarkable for the beauty of the central 
loggia on the ground floor of the fagade : a grand 
Doric arcade, leading into a two-storied atrium de- 
signed in the severest classical spirit. So suggestive is 
this of the great loggia of the Villa Bombicci, near Flor- 
ence, that one understands why Alessi was called the 

■ In his " Baukunst der Renaissance in Italian " (Part II, Vol. V) Dr. Josef 
Durm, without citing his authority, says that the Villa Paradiso was built in 
1600 by Andrea Ceresola, called Vanove. 



pupil of Michelangelo. At the back of the house 
there is (as at the Villa Bombicci) a fine upper loggia, 
and the wide spacing of the windows on the ground 
floor, and the massiveness and simplicity of all the 
architectural details, inevitably recall the Tuscan style. 
Little is left of the old gardens save a tapis vert flanked 
by clipped hedges, which descends to an iron grille on 
a lower road ; but the broad grassy space about the 
house has a boundary-wall with a continuous marble 
bench, like that at the Villa Pia in the Vatican gardens. 
In the valley between San Francesco d'Albaro and 
the Bisagno lies the dismal suburb of San Fruttuoso. 
Here one must seek, through a waste of dusty streets 
lined with half-finished tenements, for what must once 
have been the most beautiful of Genoese pleasure- 
houses — the Villa Imperiali, probably built by Fra Mon- 
torsoli. It stands high above broad terraced grounds 
of unusual extent, backed by a hanging wood ; but 
all the old gardens have been destroyed, save the 
beautiful upper terrace, and even the house has suffered 
some injury, though not enough to detract greatly from 
its general effect. Here at last one finds that union 
of lightness and majesty which characterizes the Villa 
Medici and other Roman houses of its kind. The long 
elevation, with wings set back, has a rusticated base- 
ment, surmounted by two stories and an attic above 
the cornice. There is no order, but the whole facade 
is richly frescoed in a severe architectural style, with 



niches, statues in grisaille, and other ornaments, all 
executed by a skilful hand. The windows on the first 
floor have broken pediments with a shell-like move- 
ment, and those above show the same treatment, alter- 
nating with the usual triangular pediment. But the 
crowning distinction of the house consists in the two 
exquisite loggias which form the angles of the second 
story. These tall arcades, resting on slender columns, 
give a wonderful effect of spreading lightness to the 
fagadc, and break up its great bulk without disturbing 
the general impression of strength and dignity. As a 
skilful distribution of masses the elevation of the Villa 
Imperiali deserves the most careful study, and it is to 
be regretted that it can no longer be seen in combina- 
tion with the wide-spread terraces which once formed a 
part of its composition. 





ON the walls of the muniment-room of the old 
Borromeo palace in Milan, Michelino, a little- 
known painter of the fifteenth century, has 
depicted the sports and diversions of that noble family. 
Here may be seen ladies in peaked hennins and long 
drooping sleeves, with their shock-headed gallants in 
fur-edged tunics and pointed shoes, engaged in curious 
games and dances, against the background of Lake 
Maggiore and the Borromean Islands. 

It takes the modern traveller an effort of mental read- 
justment to recognize in this " clump of peaked isles " — 
bare Leonardesque rocks thrusting themselves splinter- 
wise above the lake — the smiling groves and terraces 
of the Isola Bella and the Isola Madre. For in those 
days the Borromei had not converted their rocky islands 
into the hanging gardenswhich to later travellers became 
one of the most important sights of the "grand tour"; 
and one may learn from this curious fresco with what 
seemingly hopeless problems the Italian garden-art dealt, 
and how, while audaciously remodelling nature, it con- 
trived to keep in harmony with the surroundings amid 
which it worked. 



The Isola Madre, the largest of the Borromean group, 
was the first to be built on and planted. The plain 
Renaissance palace still looks down on a series of walled 
gardens and a grove of cypress, laurel and pine ; but 
the greater part of the island has been turned into an 
■: English park of no special interest save to the horticul- 
turist, who may study here the immense variety of exotic 
plants which flourish in the mild climate of the lakes. 
The Isola Bella, that pyramid of flower-laden terraces 
rising opposite Stresa, in a lovely bend of the lake, 
began to take its present shape about 1632, when Count 
Carlo III built a casino di delizie on the rocky pinnacle. 
His son. Count Vitaliano IV, continued and completed 
the work. He levelled the pointed rocks, filled their 
interstices with countless loads of soil from the mainland, 
and summoned Carlo Fontana and a group of Milanese 
architects to raise the palace and garden-pavilions above 
terraces created by Castelli and Crivelli, while the water- 
works were entrusted to Mora of Rome, the statuary 
and other ornamental sculpture to Vismara. The work 
was completed in 1671, and the island, which had been 
created a baronial fief, was renamed Isola Isabella, after 
the count's mother — a name which euphony, and the 
general admiration the place excited, soon combined to 
contract to Isola Bella. 

The island is built up in ten terraces, narrowing suc- 
cessively toward the top, the lowest resting on great 
vaulted arcades which project into the lake and are used 



as a winter shelter for the lemon-trees of the upper gar- 
dens. Each terrace is enclosed in a marble balustrade, 
richly ornamented with vases, statues and obelisks, and 
planted with a profusion of roses, camellias, jasmine, 
myrtle and pomegranate, among which groups of 
cypresses lift their dark shafts. Against the retaining- 
walls oranges and lemons are espaliered, and flowers 
border every path and wreathe every balustrade and 
stairway. It seems probable, from the old descriptions 
of the Isola Bella, that it was originally planted much as 
it now appears ; in fact, the gardens of the Italian lakes 
are probably the only old pleasure-grounds of Italy 
where flowers have always been used in profusion. In 
the equable lake climate, neither cold in winter, like the 
Lombard plains, nor parched in summer, like the South, 
the passion for horticulture seems to have developed 
early, and the landscape-architect was accustomed to 
mingle bright colours with his architectural masses, in- 
stead of relying on a setting of uniform verdure. 

The topmost terrace of the Isola Bella is crowned 
by a mount, against which is built a water-theatre of 
excessively baroque design. This architectural compo- 
sition faces the southern front of the palace, a large and 
not very interesting building standing to the north of 
the gardens ; while the southern extremity of the island 
terminates in a beautiful garden-pavilion, hexagonal in 
shape, with rusticated coigns and a crowning balustrade 
beset with statues. Even the narrow reef projecting 



into the lake below this pavilion has been converted 
into another series of terraces, with connecting flights 
of steps, which carry down to the water's edge the 
exuberant verdure of the upper gardens. 

The palace is more remarkable for what it contains in 
the way of furniture and decoration than for any archi- 
tectural value. Its great bulk and heavy outline are 
quite disproportionate to the airy elegance of the gar- 
dens it overlooks, and house and grounds seem in 
this case to have been designed without any regard to 
each other. The palace has, however, one feature of 
peculiar interest to the student of villa-architecture, 
namely, the beautiful series of rooms in the south base- 
ment, opening on the gardens, and decorated with the 
most exquisite ornamentation of pebble-work and sea- 
shells, mingled with delicately tinted stucco. These 
low vaulted rooms, with marble floors, grotto-like walls, 
and fountains dripping into fluted conchs, are like a 
poet's notion of some twilight refuge from summer 
heats, where the languid green air has the coolness of 
water; even the fantastic consoles, tables and benches, 
in which cool-glimmering mosaics are combined with 
carved wood and stucco painted in faint greens and 
rose-tints, might have been made of mother-of-pearl, 
coral and seaweed for the adornment of some submarine 
palace. As examples of the decoration of a garden- 
house in a hot climate, these rooms are unmatched in 
Italy, and their treatment offers appropriate suggestions 



to the modern garden-architect in search of effects of 

To show how httle the gardens of the Isola Bella 
have been changed since they were first laid out, it is 
worth while to quote the description of Bishop Burnet, 
that delightful artist in orthography and punctuation, 
who descended into Italy in the year 1685, with his 
" portmangles " laden upon "mullets." 

" From Lngane^' the bishop's breathless periods 
begin, " I went to the Lago Maggiore, which is a great 
and noble Lake, it is six and fifty Miles long, and in 
most places six Miles broad, and a hundred Fathoms 
deep about the middle of it, it makes a great Bay to the 
Westward, and there lies here two Islands called the Bor- 
romean Islands, that are certainly the loveliest spots of 
ground in the World, there is nothing in all Italy that 
can be compared to them, they have the full view of the 
Lake, and the ground rises so sweetly in them that 
nothing can be imagined like the Terraces here, they 
belong to two Counts of the Borromean family. I was 
only in one of them, which belongs to the head of the 
Family, who is Nephew to the famous Cardinal known 
by the name of St Carlo . . . The whole Island is a 
garden . . . and because the figure of the Island was 
not made regular by Nature, they have built great 
Vaults and Portica's along the Rock, which are all 
made Grotesque, and so they have brought it into a 
regular form by laying earth over those Vaults. There 



is first a Garden to the East that rises up from the Lake 
by five rows of Terrasses, on the three sides of the Gar- 
den that are watered by the Lake, the Stairs are noble, 
the Walls are all covered with Oranges and Citrons, and a 
more beautiful spot of a Garden cannot be seen: There 
are two buildings in the two corners of this Garden, the 
one is only a Mill for fetching up the Water, and the 
other is a noble Summer-House [the hexagonal pavil- 
ion] all Wainscotted, if I may speak so, with Alabaster 
and Marble of a fine colour inclining to red, from this 
Garden one goes in a level to all the rest of the Alleys 
and Parterres, Herb-Gardens and Flower-Gardens, in 
all which there are Varieties of Fountains and Ar- 
bors, but the great Parterre is a surprizing thing, for as 
it is well furnished with Statues and Fountains, and is 
of a vast extent, and justly scituated to the Palace, so at 
the further-end of it there is a great Mount, that face of 
it that looks to the Parterre is made like a Theatre all 
full of Fountains and Statues, the height rising up in five 
several rows . . . and round this Mount, answering to 
the five rows into which the Theatre is divided, there goes 
as Many Terrasses of noble Walks, the Walls are all as 
close covered with Oranges and Citrons as any of our 
Walls in England dcct with Laurel: the top of the Mount 
is seventy foot long and forty broad, and here is a vast 
Cestern into which the Mill plays up the water that must 
furnish all the Fountains . . . The freshness of the Air, 
it being both in a Lake and near the Mountains, the 




fragrant smell, the beautiful Prospect, and the delighting 
Variety that is here makes it such a habitation for Sum- 
mer that perhaps the whole World hath nothing like it." 
Seventeenth-century travellers were unanimous in 
extolling the Isola Bella, though, as might have been 
expected, their praise was chiefly for those elaborations 
and ingenuities of planning and engineering which give 
least pleasure in the present day. Toward the middle 
of the eighteenth century a critical reaction set in. 
Tourists, enamoured of the new " English garden," and 
of Rousseau's descriptions of the "bosquet de Julie," 
could see nothing to admire in the ordered architecture 
of the Borromean Islands. The sentimental sight-seer, 
sighing for sham Gothic ruins, for glades planted "after 
Poussin," and for all the laboured naturalism of Repton 
and Capability Brown, shuddered at the frank artifice 
of the old Italian garden-architecture. The quarrel 
then begun still goes on, and sympathies are divided 
between the artificial-natural and the frankly conven- 
tional. The time has come, however, when it is recog- 
nized that both these manners aye manners, the one as 
artificial as the other, and each to be judged, not by any 
ethical standard of "sincerity," but on its own aesthetic 
merits. This has enabled modern critics to take a fairer 
view of such avowedly conventional compositions as the 
Isola Bella, a garden in comparison with which the 
grounds of the great Roman villas are as naturaHstic as 
the age of Rousseau could have desired. 



Thus impartially judged, the Isola Bella still seems 
to many too complete a negation of nature ; nor can it 
appear otherwise to those who judge of it only from 
pictures and photographs, who have not seen it in its 
environment. For the landscape surrounding the Bor- 
romean Islands has precisely that quality of artificiality, 
of exquisitely skilful arrangement and manipulation, 
which seems to justify, in the garden-architect, almost 
any excesses of the fancy. The Roman landscape, 
grandiose and ample, seems an unaltered part of nature; 
so do the subtly modelled hills and valleys of central 
Italy: all these scenes have the deficiencies, the repeti- 
tions, the meannesses and profusions, with which nature 
throws her great masses on the canvas of the world; 
but the lake scenery appears to have been designed by 
a lingering and fastidious hand, bent on eliminating 
every crudeness and harshness, and on blending all 
natural forms, from the bare mountain-peak to the 
melting curve of the shore, in one harmony of ever- 
varying and ever-beautiful lines. 

The effect produced is undoubtedly one of artificiality, 
of a chosen exclusion of certain natural qualities, such 
as gloom, barrenness, and the frank ugliness into which 
nature sometimes lapses. There is an almost forced 
gaiety about the landscape of the lakes, a fixed smile of 
perennial loveliness. And it is as a complement to this 
attitude that the Borromean gardens justify themselves. 
Are they real? No ; but neither is the landscape about 



them. Are they Hke any other gardens on earth? No; 
but neither are the mountains and shores about them 
Hke earthly shores and mountains. They are Armida's 
gardens anchored in a lake of dreams, and they should 
be compared, not with this or that actual piece of planted 
ground, but with a page of Ariosto or Boiardo. 

From the garden-student's point of view, there is 
nothing in Lombardy as important as the Isola Bella. 
In these rich Northern provinces, as in the environs of 
Florence, the old gardens have suffered from the afflu- 
ence of their owners, and scarcely any have been 
allowed to retain their original outline. The enthusiasm 
for the English garden swept over Lombardy like a 
tidal wave, obliterating terraces and grottoes, substitut- 
ing winding paths for pleached alleys, and transforming 
level box-parterres into rolling lawns which turn as 
brown as door-mats under the scorching Lombard 

On the lakes, where the garden-architect was often 
restricted to a narrow ledge of ground between moun- 
tains and water, these transformations were less easy, 
for the new style required a considerable expanse of 
ground for its development. Along the shores of Como 
especially, where the ground rises so abruptly from the 
lake, landscape effects were difficult to produce, nor was 
it easy to discover a naturalistic substitute for the marble 
terraces built above the water. Even here, however, 
the narrow gardens have been as much modified as 



space permitted, the straight paths have been made to 
wind, and spotty flower-beds in grass have replaced 
the ordered box- gardens with their gravelled walks and 
their lemon-trees in earthen vases. 

The only old garden on Como which keeps more 
than a fragment of its original architecture is that of the 
Villa d'Este at Cernobbio, a mile 6r two from the town 
of Como, at the southern end of the lake. The villa, 
built in 1527 by Cardinal Gallio (who was born a fisher- 
lad of Cernobbio), has passed through numerous trans- 
formations. In 1816 it was bought by Caroline of 
Brunswick, who gave it the name of Este, and turned 
it into a great structure of the Empire style. Here for 
several years the Princess of Wales held the fantastic 
court of which Bergami.the courier, was High Chamber- 
lain if not Prince Consort; and, whatever disadvantages 
may have accrued to herself from this establishment, 
her residence at the Villa d'Este was a benefit to the 
village, for she built the road connecting Cernobbio with 
Moltrasio, which was the first carriage-drive along the 
lake, and spent large sums on improvements in the 
neighbourhood of her estate. 

Since then the villa has suffered a farther change into 
a large and fashionable hotel; but though Queen Caro- 
line anglicized a part of the grounds, the main lines of 
the old Renaissance garden still exist. 

Behind the Villa d'Este the mountains are suffi- 
ciently withdrawn to leave a gentle acclivity, which was 




once laid out in a series of elaborate gardens. Adjoin- 
ing the villa is a piece of level ground just above the 
lake, which evidently formed the " secret garden " with 
its parterres and fountains. This has been replaced by a 
lawn and flower-beds, but still keeps its boundary-wall 
at the back, with a baroque grotto and fountain of pebbles 
and shell-work. Above this rises a tapis vert shaded 
by cypresses, and leading to the usual Hercules in a 
temple. The peculiar feature of this ascent is that it is 
bordered on each side with narrow steps of channelled 
stone, down which the water rushes under overlapping 
ferns and roses to the fish-pool below the grotto in the 
lower garden. Beyond the formal gardens is the bosco, 
a bit of fine natural woodland climbing the cliff-side, 
with winding paths which lead to various summer- 
houses and sylvan temples. The rich leafage of walnut, 
acacia and cypress, the glimpses of the blue lake far 
below, the rush of a mountain torrent through a deep 
glen spanned by a romantic ivy-clad bridge, make this 
bosco of the Villa d'Este one of the most enchanting 
bits of sylvan gardening in Italy. Scarcely less en- 
chanting is the grove of old plane-trees by the water- 
gate on the lake, where, in a solemn twilight of over- 
roofing branches, woodland gods keep watch above the 
broad marble steps descending to the water. In the 
gardens of the Villa d'Este there is much of the Roman 
spirit — the breadth of design, the unforced inclusion of 
natural features, and that sensitiveness to the quality 

21 I 


of the surrounding landscape which characterizes the 
great gardens of the Campagna. 

Just across the lake, in the deep shade of the wooded 
cliffs beneath the Pizzo di Torno, lies another villa still 
more steeped in the Italian garden-magic. This is the 
Villa Pliniana, built in 1570 by the Count Anguissola of 
Piacenza, and now the property of the Trotti family of 
Milan. The place takes its name from an intermittent 
spring in the court, which is supposed to be the one 
described by Pliny in one of his letters ; and it is farther 
celebrated as being the coolest villa on Como. It lies 
on a small bay on the east side of the lake, and faces 
due north, so that, while the villas of Cernobbio are 
bathed in sunlight, a deep green shade envelops it. 
The house stands on a narrow ledge, its foundations 
projecting into the lake, and its back built against the 
almost vertical wooded cliff which protects it from the 
southern sun. Down this cliff pours a foaming moun- 
tain torrent from the Val di Galore, just beneath the 
peak of Torno; and this torrent the architect of the Villa 
Pliniana has captured in its descent to the lake and car- 
ried through the central apartment of the villa. 

The effect produced is unlike anything else, even in 
the wonderland of Italian gardens. The t\\'o wings of 
the house, a plain and somewhat melancholy-looking 
structure, are joined by an open arcaded room, against 
the back wall of which the torrent pours down, over 
stonework tremulous with moss and ferns, gushing 



out again beneath the balustrade of the loggia, where 
it makes a great semicircle of glittering whiteness in 
the dark-green waters of the lake. The old house is 
saturated with the freshness and drenched with the 
flying spray of the caged torrent. The bare vaulted 
rooms reverberate with it, the stone floors are green 
with its dampness, the air quivers with its cool incessant 
rush. The contrast of this dusky dripping loggia, on 
its perpetually shaded bay, with the blazing blue waters 
of the lake and their sun-steeped western shores, is one 
of the most wonderful effects in sensation that the Italian 
villa-art has ever devised. 

The architect, not satisfied with diverting a part of 
the torrent to cool his house, has led the rest in a fall 
down the cliff immediately adjoining the villa, and has 
designed winding paths through the woods from which 
one may look down on the bright rush of the waters. 
On the other side of the house lies a long balustraded 
terrace, between the lake and the hanging woods, and 
here, on the only bit of open and level ground near the 
house, are the old formal gardens, now much neglected, 
but still full of a melancholy charm. 

After the Villa Pliniana, the other gardens of Como 
seem almost commonplace. All along both shores are 
villas which, amid many alterations, have preserved 
traces of their old garden-architecture, such as the 
Bishop of Como's villa, south of Leno, with its baroque 
saints and prophets perched along the garden-balus- 


trade, and the more famous Villa Carlotta at Cade- 
nabbia, where the fine gateways and the architectural 
treatment of the terraces bear witness to the former 
beauty of the grounds. But almost everywhere the 
old garden-magic has been driven out by a fury of 
modern horticulture. The pleached alleys have made 
way for lawns dotted with palms and bananas, the box- 
parterres have been- replaced by star-shaped beds of 
begonias and cinerarias, and the groves of laurel and 
myrtle by thickets of pampas-grass and bamboo. This 
description applies to all the principal gardens between 
Como and Bellagio. Here and there, indeed, in almost 
all of them, some undisturbed corner remains — a flight 
of steps wreathed in Banksian roses and descending to 
a shady water-gate ; a fern-lined grotto with a stucco 
Pan or Syrinx ; a clipped laurel-walk set with marble 
benches, or a classic summer-house above the lake — 
but these old bits are so scattered and submerged under 
the new order of gardening that it requires an effort of 
the imagination to reconstruct from them an image of 
what the old lake-gardens must have been before every 
rich proprietor tried to convert his marble terraces into 
an English park. 

Almost to be included among lake-villas is the beau- 
tiful Villa Cicogna at Bisuschio. This charming old 
place lies in the lovely but little-known hill-country be- 
tween the Lake of Varese and the southern end of 
Lugano. The house, of which the history appears to 




be unknown to the present owners, is an early Renais- 
sance building of great beauty, with a touch of Tuscan 
austerity in its design. The plain front, with deep pro- 
jecting eaves and widely spaced windows, might stand 
on some village square above the Arno ; and the interior 
court, with its two-storied arcade, recalls, in purity and 
lightness of design, the inheritors of Brunelleschi's tradi- 
tion. So few country houses of the early sixteenth cen- 
tury are to be found in the Milanese that it would be 
instructive to learn whether the Villa Cicogna is in fact 
due to a Tuscan hand, or whether this mid-Italian style 
was at that time also prevalent in Lombardy. 

The villa is built against a hillside, and the interior 
court forms an oblong, enclosed on three sides by the 
house, and continued on the fourth by a beautiful 
sunken garden, above which runs a balustraded walk 
on a level with the upper story. On the other side of 
the house is another garden, consisting of a long terrace 
bounded by a high retaining-wall, which is tunnelled 
down its whole length to form a shady arcaded walk 
lined with ferns and dripping with runnels of water. At 
the back of the house the ground continues to rise, and 
a chateau d'eaii is built against the hillside; while be- 
yond the terrace-garden already described, a gate leads 
to a hanging woodland, with shady walks from which, 
at every turn, there are enchanting views across the 
southern bay of Lake Lugano. 

The house itself is as interesting as the garden. The 

2 I 7 


walls of the court are frescoed in charming cinque-cento 
designs, and the vaulted ceiling of the loggia is painted 
in delicate trellis-work, somewhat in the manner of the 
semicircular arcade at the Villa di Papa Giulio. Sev- 
eral of the rooms also preserve their wall-frescoes and 
much of their Renaissance furniture, while a series of 
smaller apartments on the ground floor are exquisitely- 
decorated with stucco ornament in the light style of the 
eighteenth century; so that the Villa Cicogna still gives 
a vivid idea of what an old Italian country house must., 
have been in its original state. 

From the hill-villas of the lakes to the country places 
of the Milanese rice-fields the descent is somewhat ab- 
rupt; but the student of garden-architecture may mitigate 
the transition by carrying on his researches from the 
southern end of Como through the smiling landscape of 
the Brianza. Here there are many old villas, in a lovely 
setting of vineyard and woodland, with distant views of 
the Alps and of the sunny Lombard plain; but of old 
gardens few are to be found. There is one of great beauty, 
belonging to the Villa Crivelli, near the village of Inve- 
rigo ; but as it is inaccessible to visitors, only tantalizing 
glimpses may be obtained of its statues and terraces, its 
cypress-walks and towering " Gigante." Not far from 
Inverigo is the Rotonda Cagnola, now the property of 
the Marchese d'Adda, and built in 1 8 13 by the Marchese 
Luigi Cagnola in imitation of the Propylsea of the 
Acropolis. The house is beautifully placed on a hilltop, 



with glorious views over the Alps and Apennines, and is 
curious to the student as an example of the neo-classi- 
cism of the Empire ; but it has of course no gardens in 
the old sense of the term. 

The flat environs of Milan were once dotted with 
country houses, but with the growth of the city and the 
increased facilities of travel, these have been for the most 
part abandoned for villas in the hills or on the lakes, 
and to form an idea of their former splendour one must 
turn to the pages of Alberto del Re's rare volumes. 
Here one may see in all its detail that elaborate style of 
gardening which the French landscape-gardeners devel- 
oped from the "grand manner" acquired by Le Notre 
in his study of the great Roman country-seats. This 
style, adapted to the flat French landscape, and com- 
plicated by the mannerisms and elaborations of the 
eighteenth century, came back to Italy with the French 
fashions which Piedmont and Lombardy were so fond 
of importing. The time had passed when Europe mod- 
elled itself on Italy: France was now the glass of fashion, 
and, in northern Italy especially, French architecture and 
gardening were eagerly reproduced. 

In Lombardy the natural conditions were so similar 
that the French geometrical gardens did not seem out 
of place ; yet even here a difference is felt, both in the 
architecture and the gardens. Italy, in spite of Palladio 
and the Palladian tradition, never freed herself from the 
baroque. Her artistic tendencies were all toward free- 



dom, improvisation, individual expression, while France 
was fundamentally classical and instinctively temperate. 
Just as the French cabinet-makers and bronze-chisellers 
and modellers in stucco produced more delicate and fin- 
ished, but less personal, work than the Italian craftsmen, 
so the French architects designed with greater precision 
and restraint, and less play of personal invention. To 
establish a rough distinction, it might be said that French 
art has always been intellectual and Italian art emotional; 
and this distinction is felt even in the treatment of the 
pleasure-house and its garden. In Italy the architectural 
detail remained baroque till the end of the eighteenth 
century, and the architect permitted himself far greater 
license in the choice of forms and the combination of 
materials. The old villas of the Milanese have a very 
strong individuality, and it is to be regretted that so few 
remain intact to show what a personal style they pre- 
served even under the most obvious French influences. 
The Naviglio, the canal which flows through Milan 
and sends various branches to the Ticino and the Adda, 
was formerly lined for miles beyond the city with sub- 
urban villas. Few remain unaltered, and even of these 
few the old gardens have disappeared. One of the most 
interesting houses in Del Re's collection, the Villa Alario 
(now Visconti di Saliceto), on theNavigho near Cernusco, 
is still in perfect preservation without and within ; and 
though its old gardens were replaced by an English park 
early in the nineteenth century, their general outline is 




still discoverable. The villa, a stately pile built by 
Ruggieri in 1736, looks on a court divided from the 
highway by a fine wall and beautiful iron gates. Low 
wings containing the chapel and offices, and running at 
right angles to the main building, connect the latter with 
the courtyard walls ; and arched passages through the 
centre of the wings lead to outlying courts surrounded 
by stables and other dependencies. The house, toward 
the forecourt, has a central open loggia or atrium, and 
the upper windows are framed in baroque architraves 
and surmounted by square attic lights. The garden ele- 
vation is more elaborate. Here there is a central pro- 
jection, three windows wide, flanked by two-storied 
open loggias, and crowned by an attic with ornamental 
pilasters and urns. This central bay is adorned with 
beautiful wrought-iron balconies, which are repeated 
in the wings at each end of the building. All the 
wrought-iron of the Villa Visconti is remarkable for 
its elegance and originality, and as used on the ter- 
races, and in the balustrade of the state staircase, in 
combination with heavy baroque stone balusters, it is an 
interesting example of a peculiarly Lombard style of 

Between the house and the Naviglio there once lay 
an elaborate parterre de broderie, terminated above the 
canal by a balustraded retaining-wall adorned with stat- 
ues, and flanked on each side by pleached walks, arbours, 
trellis-work and fish-ponds. Of this complicated plea- 


(now visconti di saliceto) 


sance little remains save the long terraces extending from 
each end of the house, the old flower-garden below one 
of these, and some bits of decorative sculpture incorpo- 
rated in the boundary- 
walls. The long tank or 
canal shown in Del Re's 
print has been turned 
into an irregular pond 
^^ ^ ,^^. with grass-banks, and 

1 lii|riU ig^| i.-C the parterre de broderie 

is now a lawn ; even the 
balustrade has been re- 
moved from the wall along the Naviglio. Still, the ar- 
chitectural details of the forecourt and the terraces are 
worthy of careful study, and the unusual beauty of the 
old villa, with its undisturbed group of dependencies, 
partly atones for the loss of its original surroundings. 

Many eighteenth-century country houses in the style 
of the Villa Visconti are scattered through the Milanese, 
though few have retained so unaltered an outline, or 
even such faint traces of their formal gardens. The 
huee villa of the Duke of Modena at Varese — now the 
Municipio — is a good example of the same architecture, 
and has a beautiful stone-and-iron balustrade and many 
wrought-iron balconies in the same style as those at 
Cernusco ; and its gardens, ascending the hillside behind 
the house, and now used as a public park, must once 
have been very fine. The Grand Hotel of Varese is 



also an old villa, and its architectural screen and pro- 
jecting wings form an unusually characteristic fa9ade of 
the same period. Here, again, little remains of the old 
garden but a charming upper terrace ; but the interior 
decorations of many of the rooms are undisturbed, and 
are exceptionally interesting examples of the more deli- 
cate Italian baroque. 

Another famous country house, Castellazzod'Arconate, 
at Bollate, is even more palatial than the Duke of Mo- 
dena's villa at Varese, and, while rather heavy in general 
outline, has an interesting interior facade, with a long 
arcade resting on coupled columns, and looking out over 
a stately courtyard with statues. This villa is said to 
have preserved a part of its old gardens, but it is difficult 
of access, and could not be visited at the time when the 
material for these chapters was collected. 








WRITERS on Italian architecture have hitherto 
paid Httle attention to the villa-architecture 
ofVenetia. It is only within the last few 
years that English and American critics have deigned 
to recognize any architectural school in Italy later than 
that of Vignola and Palladio, and even these two great 
masters of the sixteenth century have been held up as 
examples of degeneracy to a generation bred in the 
Ruskinian code of art ethics. In France, though the 
influence of VioUet-le-Duc was nearly as hostile as 
Ruskin's to any true understanding of Italian art, the 
Latin instinct for form has asserted itself in a revived 
study of the classic tradition; but French writers on 
architecture have hitherto confined themselves chiefly to 
the investigation of their national styles. 

It is only in Germany that Italian architecture from 
Palladio to Juvara has received careful and sympathetic 
study. Burckhardt pointed the way in his "Cicerone" 
and in " The Architecture of the Renaissance in Italy " ; 
Herr Gustav Ebe followed with an interesting book on 
the late Renaissance throughout Europe ; and Herr 




Gurlitt has produced the most masterly work yet writ- 
ten on the subject, his " History of the Baroque Style 
in Italy." These authors, however, having to work in 
a new and extensive field, have necessarily been obliged 
to restrict themselves to its most important divisions. 
Burckhardt's invaluable " Renaissance Architecture," 
though full of critical insight, is rather a collection of 
memoranda than a history of the subject ; and even 
Herr Gurlitt, though he goes into much greater detail, 
cannot forsake the highroad for the by-paths, and has 
consequently had to pass by many minor ramifications 
of his subject. This is especially to be regretted in re- 
gard to the villa-architecture of Venetia, the interest and 
individuality of which he fully appreciates. He points 
out that the later Venetian styles spring from two 
sources, the schools of Palladio and of Sansovino. The 
former, greatly as his work was extolled, never had the 
full sympathy of the Venetians. His art was too pure 
and severe for a race whose taste had been formed on 
the fantastic mingling of Gothic and Byzantine and on 
the glowing decorations of the greatest school of colour- 
ists the world has known. It was from the warm and 
picturesque art of Sansovino and Longhena that the 
Italian baroque naturally developed ; and though the 
authority of Palladio made itself felt in the official archi- 
tecture of Venetia, its minor constructions, especially 
the villas and small private houses, seldom show any 
trace of his influence save in the grouping of their win- 



dows. So little is known of the Venetian villa-builders 
that this word as to their general tendencies must replace 
the exact information which still remains to be gathered. 

Many delightful examples of the Venetian maisoii de 
plaisaiice are still to be found in the neighbourhood of 
Padua and Treviso, along the Brenta, and in the coun- 
try between the Euganeans and the Monti Berici. Un- 
fortunately, in not more than one or two instances have 
the old gardens of these houses been preserved in their 
characteristic form; and, by a singular perversity of fate, 
it happens that the villas which have kept their gardens 
are not typical of the Venetian style. One of them, the 
castle of Cattajo, at Battaglia in the Euganean Hills, 
stands in fact quite apart from any contemporary style. 
This extraordinary edifice, built for the Obizzi of Venice 
about 1550, is said to have been copied from the plans 
of a castle in Tartary brought home by Marco Polo. 
It shows, at any rate, a deliberate reversion, in mid- 
cinque-cento, to a kind of Gothicism which had become 
obsolete in northern Italy three hundred years earlier ; 
and the mingling of this rude style with classic detail 
and Renaissance sculpture has produced an effect pic- 
turesque enough to justify so quaint a tradition. 

Cattajo stands on the edge of the smiling Euganean 
country, its great fortress-like bulk built up against a 
wooded knoll with a little river at its base. Crossing 
the river by a bridge flanked by huge piers surmounted 
with statues, one reaches a portcullis in a massive gate- 


house, also adorned with statues. The portculHs opens 
on a long narrow court planted with a hedge of clipped 
euonymus ; and at one end a splendid balustraded stair- 
way d cordon leads up to a flagged terrace with yew- 
trees growing between the flags. To the left of this 
terrace is a huge artificial grotto, with a stucco Silenus 
lolling on an elephant, and other life-size animals and 
figures, a composition recalling the zoological wonders 
of the grotto at Castello. This Italian reversion to the 
grotesque, at a time when it was losing its fascination for 
the Northern races, might form the subject of an inter- 
esting study of race aesthetics. When the coarse and 
sombre fancy of mediaeval Europe found expression in 
grinning gargoyles and baleful or buffoonish images, Ital- 
ian art held serenely to the beautiful, and wove the most 
tragic themes into a labyrinth of lovely lines ; but in the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the classical 
graces had taken possession of northern Europe, the 
chimerical animals, the gnomes and goblins, the gar- 
goyles and broomstick-riders, fled south of the Alps, and 
reappeared in the queer fauna of Italian grottoes and in 
the leering dwarfs and satyrs of the garden-walk. 

From the yew-tree terrace at Cattajo an arcaded 
loggia gives access to the interior of the castle, which is 
a bewilderment of low-storied passageways and long 
flights of steps hewn in the rock against which the 
castle is built. From a vaulted tunnel of stone one 
passes abruptly into a suite of lofty apartments decorated 




with seventeenth-century frescoes and opening on a 
balustraded terrace guarded by marble divinities; or, 
taking another turn, one finds one's self in a sham 
Gothic chapel or in a mediaeval chemin de ronde on the 
crenelated walls. This fantastic medley of styles, in 
conjunction with the unusual site of the castle, has 
produced several picturesque bits of garden, wedged 
between the walls and the hillside, or on the terraces 
overhanging the river ; but from the architectural point 
of view, the most interesting thing about Cattajo is the 
original treatment of the great stairway in the court. 

Six or seven miles from Battaglia, in a narrow and 
fertile valley of the Euganeans, lies one of the most 
beautiful pleasure-grounds in Italy. This is the garden 
of the villa at Val San Zibio. On approaching it, one 
sees, across a grassy common, a stately and ornate 
arch of triumph with a rusticated facade and a broken 
pediment enriched with statues. This arch, which looks 
as though it were the principal entrance-gate, appears 
to have been placed in the high boundary-wall merely 
in order to afford from the highway a vista of the 
cJidteau d'emi which is the chief feature of the gardens. 
The practice of breaking the wall to give a view of 
some special point in the park or garden was very com- 
mon in France, but is seldom seen in Italy, though 
there is a fine instance of it in the open grille below the 
Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati. 

The house at Val San Zibio is built with its back to 



the highroad, and is an unpretentious structure of the 
seventeenth century, not unHke the Villa de' Gori at 
Siena, though the Palladian grouping of its central win- 
dows shows the nearness of Venice. It looks on a ter- 
race enclosed by a balustrade, whence a broad flight of 
steps descends to the gently sloping gardens. They 
are remarkable for their long pleached alleys of beech, 
their wide tapis verts, fountains, marble benches and 
statues charmingly placed in niches of clipped verdure. 
In one direction is a little lake, in another a "mount" 
crowned by a statue, while a long alley leads to a well- 
preserved maze with a raised platform in its centre. 
These labyrinths are now rarely found in Italian gar- 
dens, and were probably never as popular south of the 
Alps as in Holland and England. The long cJidtcaii 
d'eau, with its couchant Nereids and conch-blowing 
Tritons, descends a gentle slope instead of a steep hill, 
and on each side high beech-hedges enclose tall groves 
of deciduous trees. These hedges are characteristic of 
the north Italian gardens, where the plane, beech and 
elm replace the "perennial greens" of the south; and 
there is one specially charming point at Val San Zibio, 
where four grass-alleys walled with clipped beeches 
converge on a stone basin sunk in the turf, with four 
marble putti seated on the curb, dangling their feet in 
the water. An added touch of quaintness is given to 
the gardens by the fact that the old water-works are 
still in action, so that the unwary visitor, assailed by 



fierce jets of spray darting up at him from the terrace 
steps, the cracks in the flagstones, and all manner of 
unexpected ambushes, may form some idea of the 
aquatic surprises which afforded his ancestors such 
inexhaustible amusement. 

There are few gardens in Italy comparable with 
Val San Zibio ; but in Padua there is one of another 
sort which has kept something of the same ancient 
savor. This is the famous Botanic Garden, founded in 
1545, and said to be the oldest in Italy. The accom- 



panying plan, though roughly sketched from memory, 
will give some idea of its arrangement. Outside is a 
grove of exotic trees, which surrounds a large circular 
space enclosed in a beautiful old brick wall surmounted 
by a marble balustrade and adorned alternately with 
busts and statues. The wall is broken by four gate- 
ways, one forming the principal entrance from the 
grove, the other three opening on semicircles in which 
statues are set against a background of foliage. In the 
garden itself the beds for " simples " are enclosed in low 
iron railings, within which they are again subdivided by 
stone edgings, each subdivision containing a different 
species of plant. 

Padua, in spite of its flat surroundings, is one of the 
most picturesque cities of upper Italy ; and the seeker 
after gardens will find many charming bits along the 
narrow canals, or by the sluggish river skirting the city 
walls. Indeed, one might almost include in a study of 
gardens the beautiful Prato della Valle, the public 
square before the church of Santa Giustina, with its en- 
circling canal crossed by marble bridges, its range of 
baroque statues of "worthies," and its central expanse 
of turf and trees. There is no other example in Italy 
of a square laid out in this park-like way, and the Prato 
della Valle would form an admirable model for the treat- 
ment of open spaces in a modern city. 

A few miles from Padua, at Ponte di Brenta, begins 
the long line of villas which follows the course of the 




-.1 ■ 

."••'i'i!->'V . 



river to its outlet at Fusina. Dante speaks in the " In- 
ferno " of the villas and castles on the Brenta, and it 
continued the favourite villeggiatura of the Venetian 
nobility till the middle of the nineteenth century. There 
dwelt the Signor Pococurante, whom Candide visited on 
his travels ; and of flesh-and-blood celebrities many 
might be cited, from the famous Procuratore Pisani to 
Byron, who in 1819 carried off the Guiccioli to his 
villa at La Mira on the Brenta. 

The houses still remain almost line for line as they 
were drawn in Gianfrancesco Costa's admirable etch- 
ings, "Le Delizie del Fiume Brenta," published in 1750; 
but unfortunately almost all the old gardens have dis- 
appeared. One, however, has been preserved, and as 
it is the one most often celebrated by travellers and 
poets of the eighteenth century, it may be regarded as 
a good example of a stately Venetian garden. This is 
the great villa built at Stra, in 1736, for Alvise Pisani, 
procurator of St. Mark's, by the architects Prati and 
Frigimelica. In size and elegance it far surpasses any 
other house on the Brenta. The prevailing note of the 
other villas is one of simplicity and amenity. They 
stand near each other, either on the roadside or divided 
from it by a low wall bordered with statues and a 
short strip of garden, also thickly peopled with nymphs, 
satyrs, shepherdesses, and the grotesque and comic 
figures of the Commedia dell' Arte ; unassuming "vil- 
lini for the most part, suggesting a life of suburban 


neighbourliness and sociability. But the Villa Pisani is 
a palace. Its majestic facade, with pillared central corps 
de bdtiment and far-reaching wings, stands on the high- 
way bordering the Brenta ; behind are the remains of 
the old formal gardens, and on each side, the park 
extends along the road, from which it is divided by a 

high wall and several im- 
posing gateways. The 
palace is built about two 
inner courts, and its in- 
numerable rooms are fres- 
coed by the principal 
Italian decorative painters 
of the day, while the great 
central saloon has one 
of Tiepolo's most riotously splendid ceilings. Fortu- 
nately for the preservation of these treasures, Stra, after 
being the property of Eugene Beauharnais, was ac- 
quired by the Italian government, and is now a " villa 
nazionale," well kept up and open to the public. 

In the etching of Costa, an elaborate formal garden 
with parterres de broderie is seen to extend from the 
back of the villa to the beautifully composed stables 
which face it. This garden has unfortunately been re- 
placed by a level meadow, flanked on both sides by 
boschi, with long straight walks piercing the dense green 
leafage of elm, beech and lime. Here and there frag- 
ments of garden-architecture have survived the evident 




attempt to convert the grounds into 2i jardin anglais of 
the sentimental type. There is still a maze, with a fan- 
ciful little central tower ascended by winding stairs ; 
there is a little wooded " mount," with a moat about it, 
and a crowning temple ; and there are various charm- 
ing garden-pavilions, orangeries, gardeners' houses, and 
similar small constructions, all built in the airy and ro- 
mantic style of which the Italian villa-architect had not 
yet lost the secret. Architecturally, however, the stables 
are perhaps the most interesting buildings at Stra. Their 
classical central fagade is flanked by two curving wings, 
forming charmingly proportioned lemon-houses, and in 
the stables themselves the stalls are sumptuously di- 
vided by columns of red marble, each surmounted by 
the gilded effigy of a horse. 

From Stra to Fusina the shores of the Brenta are 
lined with charming pleasure-houses, varying in size 
from the dignified villa to the little garden-pavilion, and 
all full of interest and instruction to the student of villa- 
architecture ; but unhappily no traces of their old gar- 
dens remain, save the statues which once peopled the 
parterres and surmounted the walls. Several of the 
villas are attributed to Palladio, but only one is really 
typical of his style : the melancholy Malcontenta, built 
by the Foscari, and now standing ruinous and deserted 
in a marshy field, beside the river. 

The Malcontenta has all the chief characteristics of 
Palladio's manner: the high basement, the projecting 


pillared portico, the general air of classical correctness, 
which seems a little cold beside the bright and graceful 
villa-architecture of Venetia. Burckhardt, with his usual 
discernment, remarks in this connection that it was a 
fault of Palladio's to substitute for the recessed loggia 
of the Roman villa a projecting portico, thus sacrificing 
one of the most characteristic and original features of 
the Italian country house to a not particularly appro- 
priate adaptation of the Greek temple porch. 

But Palladio was a great artist, and if he was great 
in his civic architecture rather than in his country 
houses, if his stately genius lent itself rather to the 
grouping of large masses than to the construction of 
pretty toys, yet his most famous villa is a distinct and 
original contribution to the chief examples of the Italian 
pleasure-house. The Villa Capra, better known as the 
Rotonda, which stands on a hill above Vicenza, has 
been criticized for having four fronts instead of one front, 
two sides and a back. It is, in fact, a square building 
with a projecting Ionic portico on each face — a plan 
open to the charge of monotony, but partly justified in 
this case by the fact that the house is built on the sum- 
mit of a knoll from which there are four views, all 
equally pleasing, and each as it were entitled to the 
distinction of having a loggia to itself Still, it is cer- 
tain that neither in the Rotonda nor in his other villas 
did Palladio hit on a style half as appropriate or pleas- 
ing as the typical manner of the Roman villa-architects, 






with its happy mingling of freedom and classicaHsm, its 
wonderful adaptation to climate and habits of life, its 
capricious grace of detail, and its harmony with the 
garden-architecture which was designed to surround it. 

The Villa Capra has not preserved its old gardens, 
and at the Villa Giacomelli, at Maser, Palladio's other 
famous country house, the grounds have been so mod- 
ernized and stripped of all their characteristic features 
that it is difficult to judge of their original design ; but 
one feels that all Palladio's rural architecture lacked 
that touch of fancy and freedom which, in the Roman 
school, facilitated the transition of manner from the 
house to the garden-pavilion, and from the pavilion to 
the half-rustic grotto and the woodland temple. 

The Villa Valmarana, also at Vicenza, on the Monte 
Berico, not far from the Rotonda, has something of the 
intimate charm lacking in the latter. The low and 
simply designed house is notable only for the charming 
frescoes with which Tiepolo adorned its rooms ; but the 
beautiful loggia in the garden is attributed to Palladio, 
and this, together with the old beech-alleys, the charm- 
ing frescoed fountain, the garden-wall crowned by 
Venetian grotesques, forms a composition of excep- 
tional picturesqueness. 

The beautiful country-side between Vicenza and Ve- 
rona is strewn with old villas, many of which would 
doubtless repay study ; but there are no gardens of 
note in this part of Veneto, except the famous Giusti 



gardens at Verona, probably better known to sight- 
seers than any others in northern Italy. In spite of all 
their charm, however, the dusky massing of their old 
cypresses, and their winding walks along the cliff-side, 
the Giusti gardens preserve few traces of their original 
design, and are therefore not especially important to 
the student of Italian garden-architecture. More inter- 
esting in this connection is the Villa Cuzzano, about seven 
miles from Verona, a beautiful old house standing above 
a terrace-garden planted with an elaborate parterre de 
broderie. Behind the villa is a spacious court bounded 
by a line of low buildings with a central chapel. The 
interior of the house has been little changed, and is an 
interesting example of north Italian villa planning and 
decoration. The passion of the Italian architects for 
composition and continuity of design is seen in the 
careful placing of the chapel, which is exactly on an 
axis with the central saloon of the villa, so that, stand- 
ing in the chapel, one looks across the court, through 
this lofty saloon, and out on the beautiful hilly landscape 
beyond. It was by such means that the villa-architects 
obtained, with simple materials and in a limited space, 
impressions of distance, and sensations of the unex- 
pected, for which one looks in vain in the haphazard 
and slipshod designs of the present day. 



Gianfrancesco Costa 
Giovanni Falda 
Peter Paul Rubens 
Rafaello Soprani 

Giuseppe Zocchi 


Le Dclizie del Fiume Breiita. 1750. 

Giardini di Roma. N. d. 

Palazzi di Genova. 1622. 

Vite de' Pit tori, Sen I tori ed Architetti Geno- 

vesi. (Second edition, revised, enlarged 

and supplied with notes by C. G. Ratti. 

Vediite delle Villc e d'altri luoghi della Tos- 

cana. 1 744. 

Le President de Brosses 

L. Dussieux 

Michel de Montaigne 

Percier et Fontaine 

Marc Antonio del Re 

Georges Riat 
Eugene Emmanuel 



Lettres Familieres ecrites d' Italic en 1739 

et I 740. 
Artistes Franfais a I'Etranger. 
Journal dn Voyage en Italie par la Suisse et 

I 'A llemagne en 1580^/ 1 5 8 1 . 
Choix des plus celcbres Maisons de Plai- 

sance de Rome et de ses Environs. 1809. 
Maisons de Plaisance de I'Etat de Milan. 

Milan, 1743. 
LArt des Jardins. N. d. 
Dictiotmaire Raisonne de I' Architecture 

Fran false. 1858. 



Jacob Burckhardt 

H it 

Josef Durm 

Gustav Ebe 
Cornelius Gurlitt 
W. C. Tuckermann 


Der Cicerone. 1 901. 

Gcschichte der Renaissance in Italien. 1 89 1 . 

Die Baustile : Die Baukiinst der Renais- 
sance in Italien. 1903. 

Die Spdtrenaissance. 1886. 

Geschichte des Barockstils in Italien. 1887. 

Die Gartenkunst der Italienischen Renais- 
sance-Zeit. 1884. 

Michael Bryan 

G. Burnet, D.D., 
Bishop of Salisbury. 

John Evelyn 


Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, bio- 
graphical and critical. Revised and en- 
larged by Robert Edmund Graves, B.A., 
1 886. 

Some Letters, containing an Account of 
what seemed most remarkable in Switzer- 
land, Italy, etc. 1686. 

Diary, 1644, 





Though Alessi was a native of Perugia his best-known buildings 
were erected in Genoa. Among them are the Villa Pallavicini alle 
Peschiere, the Villa Imperiali (now Scassi), the Villa Giustiniani (now 
Cambiaso), the Palazzo Parodi, the public granaries, and the church 
of the Madonna di Carignano. He also laid out the Strada Nuova 
in Genoa. His chief works in other places are : the Palazzo Marin 
(now the Municipio) in Milan; the Palazzo Antinori, and the front of 
the church of S. Maria del Popolo at Perugia ; and the church of the 
Madonna degii Angeli near Assisi. 


Algardi, a Bolognese architect, was also distinguished as an engraver 
and sculptor, and was noted for his figures of children. He built the 
Villa Belrespiro or Pamphily on the Janiculan, and the Villa Sauli, 
both in Rome. 



Ammanati, the pupil of Bandinelli and Sansovino, was one of the 
most distinguished Florentine architects of the sixteenth century, and 
was also noted for his garden-sculpture. In Florence some of his 


best work is seen in the Boboli garden and in the court of the Pa- 
lazzo Pitti, while the bridge of the S. Trinita is considered his master- 
piece. In Rome he built the fine facades of the Palazzo Ruspoli 
and of the Collegio Romano. The rusticated loggia of the Villa Fonte 
air Erta is ascribed to him. 


1 598- 1 680 

Bernini, a Neapolitan by birth, was the greatest Italian architect and 
sculptor of the seventeeth century. One of his masterpieces in archi- 
tecture is the church of S. Andrea al Noviziato on the Ouirinal, and 
among his other works in Rome are : the piazza and colonnade of St. 
Peter's, the Scala Regia in the Vatican, the Palazzo di Monte Citorio, 
and the fountains of Trevi and the Tritone ; at Pistoja the Villa Ros- 
pigliosi, at Terni the cathedral, and at Ravenna the Porta Nuova. 

1 599-1667 

Borromini, a pupil of Maderna, was, next to Bernini, the most original 
and brilliant exponent of baroque architecture in Italy. He was born 
in Lombardy, but worked principally in Rome. Among his best- 
known buildings are the church of St. Agnes on the Piazza Navona, 
that of San Carlo alle quattro fontane, and the College of the Propa- 
ganda Fide. In conjunction with Bernini and Maderna, he built the 
Palazzo Barberini in Rome. Some of his best work is seen in the 
Villa Falconieri at Frascati. 


1444-15 14 

Bramante was born at Urbino, but executed all his early work in 
Milan, producing the church of S. Maria delle Grazie, the Ospedale 
Maggiore, and the sacristy of San Satiro, which he not only built, but 
decorated internally. In Lombardy the early Renaissance of building 
is called the Bramantesque style. Bramante's works in Rome are : the 
Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio, the palace of the Cancelleria, a 
part of the Vatican, and a part of the Palazzo di San Biagio. 



1715-1783 ■ 
Lancelot Brown, known as " Capability Brown," a native of North- 
umberland, began his career in a kitchen-garden, but, though without 
artistic training and unable to draw, he became for a time a popular 
designer of landscape-gardens. He was appointed Royal Gardener at 
Hampton Court, and laid out the lake at Blenheim. He was consid- 
ered to excel in water-gardens. 

1 5 36- 1 608 

Buontalenti, one of the leading Florentine architects of the sixteenth 
century, was also distinguished as a sculptor and painter. He built 
the villa of Pratolino and carried on the planning of the Boboli gar- 
den. His other works in Florence are : the fafades of the Palazzi 
Strozzi and Riccardi, the Palazzo Acciajuoli (now Corsini), the corridor 
leading from the Uffizi to the Pitti Palace, and the casino behind 
San Marco. At Siena, Buontalenti built the Palazzo Reale, and 
at Pisa, the Loggia de' Banchi. 

B. , d. 1 781 

Camporesi, a Roman architect, is mentioned as working with " Moore 
of Rome " on the grounds of the Villa Borghese. 


Several brothers of this name lived in Genoa between 1550 and 1650. 
They were known as sculptors, painters and gilders, and workers in 
stucco. The beautiful ceiling of the church of the Santissima An- 
nunziata in Genoa is known to be by one of the Carloni. 

XVII Century 

Castelli, who completed the facade of Santa Maria alia Porta, in 
Milan, was an architect of the school of Maderna. With Crivelli he 
laid out the gardens of the Isola Bella, near Como. 





1 509-1 5 79 
Giovanni Castelio of Bergamo was a pupil of Alessi's and distin- 
guished himself in fresco-painting and sculpture. In Genoa he re- 
modelled the Palazzo Pallavicini (now Cataldi) and built the Palazzo 
Imperiali. Soprani (" Vite de' Pittori, Scultori ed Architetti Geno- 
vesi ") says that II Bergamasco was court-architect to Philip 11 of 
Spain and worked on the Escorial. Bryan, in his Dictionary of 
Painters and Engravers, states that II Bergamasco was employed on 
the Prado by Charles V, while his son worked for Philip II. 

XVII Century 

This landscape-gardener worked with Carlo Castelli on the grounds 
of the Isola Bella, near Como. 

XVII Century 

Ferri, a Florentine architect, built the Villa Corsini near Florence, and 
remodelled the Palazzo Corsini on the Lungarno. 


Fontana, one of the most versatile and accomplished architects of his 
day, was born at Bruciato, near Milan. He was called to Rome as 
architect of St. Peter's, and collaborated with Bernini on several 
occasions. In Rome he built the palace of Monte Citorio, the facade 
of San Marcello, and the Palazzo Torlonia. As a villa-architect his 
most famous creation is the Garden Palace of Prince Liechtenstein in 
Vienna. He built the palace on the Isola Bella, and the Villa Chigi, 
at Cetinale, near Siena, is also attributed to him. He was the author 
of works on the Vatican and on the antiquities of Rome. 

1 546-1614 

Giovanni Fontana, of Melide, near Lugano, excelled in everything 
relating to hydraulic work. At the Villa Borghese in Rome, and 



in the principal villas at Frascati (Aldobrandini, Taverna, Mondragone), 
he introduced original designs for the waterworks. In Rome he built 
the Palazzi Giustiniani and de' Gori, and made the design for the 
Fontana dell' Acqua Paola, though he did not live to carry it out. 


XVIII Century 

Count Frigimelica, an accomplished Venetian nobleman, built the 
church of S. Gaetano at Vicenza, and collaborated with Prati in the 
construction of the Villa Pisani at Stra. 



Juvara, the most original and interesting Italian architect of the eigh- 
teenth century, was a pupil of Carlo Fontana's. His most important 
work is the church of the Superga near Turin, and his principal build- 
ings are found in or near Turin : among them being the hunting-lodge 
of Stupinigi and the churches of Santa Cristina and Santa Maria in 
Carmine. The church of San Filippo in Turin was rebuilt by Juvara, 
and the royal villa at Rivoli, as well as other villas in the environs 
of Turin, show his hand. He remodelled the Palazzo Madama in 
Rome ; at Lucca he finished the Palazzo Reale ; at Mantua the dome 
on the church of S. Andrea is by him, and in Lisbon and Madrid, 
respectively, he built the royal palaces. 

161 3-1 700 

Le Notre, the greatest of French landscape-gardeners, first studied 
painting under Simon Vouet, together with Mignard, Lebrun and 
Lesueur, then succeeded his father as superintendent of the royal 
gardens. Among his great works are the gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte, 
at Sceaux, at Chantilly, and the cascades and park at Saint-Cloud. 
The park of Versailles, the gardens of the Trianon, of Clagny and 
of Marly, are considered his masterpieces. When he visited Italy 
he remodelled the grounds of the Villa Ludovisi. He was fre- 
quently consulted by the Elector of Brandenburg and other notable 





Ligorio, the Neapolitan architect, was also distinguished as antiquary, 
sculptor and engineer; he worked much in sgraffiti. He built the 
beautiful Villa Pia in the Vatican gardens, and the Villa d'Este at 
Tivoli, and made additions to the Vatican. The Library in Turin 
possesses his numerous manuscripts, some of which have been pub- 
lished. His best-known works are "An Attempt to Restore Ancient 
Rome" and "The Restoration of Hadrian's Villa," the plates for which 
were engraved on copper by Francesco Contini in 1751. 


B. , d. 1581 

Lippi is generally said to have been the son of Nanni di Baccio Bigio, 
the architect and sculptor, though some biographers declare them to 
have been the same person. Assuming Lippi to have had a separate 
identity, only two of his works are known : the church of S. Maria di 
Loreto, near Spoleto, and the Villa Medici in Rome. His fame rests 
on the latter, which became the model of the Roman viaisoti de 


1 604- 1 682 

Longhena, the most distinguished architect of the late Renaissance in 
Venetia, gave all his time and work to his native city. Among the 
buildings he erected there are : S. Maria della Salute, S. Maria ai Scalzi, 
the Ospedaletto, the cloister and staircase in San Giorgio Maggiore, 
the Palazzo Pesaro, and the Palazzo Rezzonico (now Zelinsky). 

XVI Century 

Lunghi, born at Viggiu in the Milanese, in the second half of 
the sixteenth century, built the Villa Mondragone at Frascati, in 
1567, for Cardinal Marco d'Altemps. The villa was enlarged by 
Gregory VH, and later by Paul V and his nephew, Cardinal Scipione 




I 704- 1 780 

Marchionne was the architect of the Villa Albani near Rome, built 
ill 1746. 


The great architect, sculptor and painter, was born in Florence, where 
he built the Laurentian Library and the chapel of S. Lorenzo, with 
the cupola of the sacristy. In Rome he built the Palazzo de' Con- 
servatorii on the Capitoline hill, the cornice of the Palazzo Earnese, 
the Porta del Popolo and the Porta Pia. His model for the dome of 
St. Peter's was carried out except as to the lantern. Tradition assigns 
to him the Villa ai Collazzi (now Bombicci) near Florence. 



Fra Giovanni Montorsoli, a Florentine monk of the Servile Order, was 
a sculptor, and studied under Michelangelo. He was early called to 
Genoa, where he decorated the church of San Matteo (the church of 
the Doria family) and built the famous villa in the harbour for the 
Admiral Andrea Doria. The Villa Imperiali, at San Fruttuoso, near 
Genoa, is also attributed to Montorsoli. One of his best works is the 
high altar in the church of the Servi at Bologna. 


1 740-1 793 
Moore, a Scotch landscape-painter — known as " Moore of Rome " — 
was patronized by Prince Borghese, and remodelled the grounds of 
the Villa Borghese in the style of the jardin anglais. 


XVII Century 

A Roman engineer of the name built some of the waterworks on the 
Isola Bella, near Como, in the seventeenth century. 


XVIII Century 

Nolli laid out the grounds of the Villa Albani near Rome, in 1746. 



XVIII Century 

Pietro Nolli is also mentioned as one of the landscape-gardeners who 
laid out the Villa Albani. 

XVI Century 

Olivieri was employed as an engineer of the waterworks at the Villa 
d'Este at Tivoli and the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati. 

1 508-1 580 

Palladio, the great Venetian architect, was born at Vicenza. He 
turned the development of Italian Renaissance architecture in the 
direction of pure classicalism, and was a master of proportion in build- 
ing. At Vicenza he rebuilt the Sala della Ragione, and built the 
Palazzi Tiene and Valmarana and the Teatro Olimpico ; while the 
Villa Capra or Rotonda, near Vicenza, is his work, and also the Villa 
Giacomelli at Maser. In Venice he erected the churches of San 
Giorgio Maggiore and II Redentore, also the Villa Malcontenta near 
Fusina on the Brenta. Palladio published a " Treatise on Archi- 
tecture " and "The Antiquities of Rome." 

B. , d. 1635 

Parigi was a Florentine architect, engineer and designer. As far as is 
known, he worked entirely in Florence and its environs. He is the 
architect of the court and arcade of Poggio Imperiale, the cloister of 
S. Agostino, the Palazzo Marucelli (now Fenci), the Palazzo Scarlatti, 
and a part of the Ufifizi. 



Peruzzi, who was both architect and painter, di\-ided his time between 

Rome and Siena, where he was born. He built the Villa Vicobello 



near Siena, as well as that of Belcaro. The well-known Palazzo 
Massimi alle Colonne in Rome is his work, also the Villa Trivulzio 
near Rome. 

1 720-1 778 

Piranesi, the famous Venetian etcher and engraver, was specially 
noted for his etchings of famous buildings, and has been called " The 
Rembrandt of Architecture." He was also an architect, and worked 
on the church of S. Maria del Popolo in Rome. While there he 
also remodelled the chapel of the Priory of the Knights of Malta, and 
probably laid out the grounds. Piranesi published over twenty folio 
volumes of engravings and etchings. 



Ponzio, a Lombard architect, built the loggia of the Villa Mondragone 

at Frascati, and the Palazzo Sciarra, and finished the Borghese Chapel 

in the church of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome. 


Delia Porta, a Milanese architect, was a pupil of Vignola's. His great 
work was the finishing of the dome of St. Peter's in Rome, in doing 
which he followed Michelangelo's plan, but improved the curve. His 
other works in Rome were: the churches of II Gesu, S. Luigi de' 
Francesi, S. Catarina de' Funari, the Palazzo Paluzzi, the facade of 
the Palazzo Chigi, the famous fountains in the Piazza d'Araceli and 
the Piazza Navona (for which Bernini supplied the sculpture), and the 
Fontana delle Tartarughe. In Genoa he finished the church of the 
S. S. Annunziata, and he was employed on the Villa d'Este at Tivoli 
and the Villa Aldobrandini at Frascati. 

XVIII Century 

Prati collaborated with Count Frigimelica in building the Villa Pisani, 
at Stra near Venice, in the eighteenth century. 




Rainaldi was a Roman and his principal works are in Rome. He 
planned the church of S. Agnese; built the fafade of S. Andrea della 
Valle, the fa9ade of S. Maria in Campitelli, and the Palazzo Pamphily 
on the Piazza Navona. He added two pavilions to the Farnesina, 
and designed the grounds of the Villa Borghese and the gardens of 
the Villa Mondragone at Frascati. In Bologna he built the church of 
S. Lucia. 

Raphael succeeded Bramante as chief architect of St. Peter's. His 
most important villa is the famous Villa Madama near Rome. The 
Farnesina in Rome was built by him, and he laid out the gardens 
of the Vatican. His other works in Rome are the Palazzo CafTarelli 
(now Stoppani) and the Capella Chigi. In Florence he designed the 
fagades of the church of San Lorenzo and of the Palazzo Pandolfini 
(now Nencini). 


Repton, who was born at Bury St. Edmunds, began life as a mer- 
chant, but having failed in his business, became a landscape-gardener. 
He published " Observations on Landscape Gardening " (1803), and is 
the best-known successor of " Capability Brown " in the naturalistic 
style of gardening. 




As Raphael's pupil, Giulio Romano painted the architectural back- 
grounds of Raphael's frescoes in the Vatican, and this led to his 
studying architecture. His masterpiece is the Palazzo del Te at 
Mantua, where he also built a part of the Palazzo Ducale. He car- 
ried out Raphael's decorations in the Villa Madama. 



XVIII Century 

Ruggieri built the Villa Alario (now Visconti di Saliceto) on the Navi- 
glio near Milan, and the fafade of the church of S. Firenze in Flor- 
ence. He also remodelled the interior of Santa Felicita in Florence, 
and in Milan he built the Palazzo Cusani. 

^ 1455-1534 

Antonio da Sangallo was a brother of Giuliano, and famous as a 
carver of crucifixes. He altered Hadrian's tomb in Rome into the 
Castle of St. Angelo, and laid out a part of the Vatican gardens. 
The church of the Madonna di S. Biagio in Montepulciano and the 
fortress of Civita Castellana were built by him. 



This Sangallo was a nephew of the other Antonio, and a pupil of 
Bramante's. After Raphael's death he became the leading architect 
of St. Peter's. The fortress at Civita Vecchia is his work. In Rome 
he planned the outer gardens of the Vatican and built the right-hand 
chapel in S. Giacomo degli Spagnuoli, the beautiful Palazzo Mar- 
chionne Baldassini, the Palazzo Sacchetti, and the greater part of the 
Palazzo Farnese. 



Giuliano da Sangallo, the Florentine architect, was also noted as an 
engineer and a carver in wood. His great work is the villa at Poggio 
a Caiano near Florence, with a hall having the widest ceiling then 
known. He also built the Villa Petraia at Castello, near Florence, 
and in or near Florence the sacristy and cloister of San Spirito, the 
cloister for the Frati Eremitani di S. Agostino, and the villa of 
Poggio Imperiale. Among his other works are : the Palazzo Rovere 
near San Pietro in Vincoli, in Rome, and the Palazzo Rovere at 
Savona. Sangallo also constructed many fortresses. After Bra- 
mante's death he worked with Raphael on St. Peter's. 





Sansovino, though a Florentine by birth, worked principally in Venice. 
He was equally distinguished as sculptor and architect. In the latter 
capacity he built in Venice the Zecca or Mint, the Loggietta, the Pa- 
lazzo Cornaro, the Palazzo Corner della Ca Grande, the Scala d'Oro 
in the Doge's palace, the churches of San Martino and San Fantino, 
and his masterpiece, the Library of San Marco. In Rome the Palazzo 
Gaddi (now Nicolini) was built by him. 


XVIII Century 

Savino is mentioned among the landscape-gardeners who remodelled 
the grounds of the Villa Borghese. 


1 5 36- 1 603 

Santi di Tito of Florence was known as an historical painter, and also 
as a builder of villas at Casciano and Monte Oliveto. An octagonal 
villa at Peretola was built by him, and he did some decorative work in 
the Villa Pia. In Florence he built the Palazzo Dardinelli. 


II Tribolo, the Florentine sculptor, studied under Sansovino. He be- 
came known for his beautiful designs in tile-work, of which the Villa 
Castello near Florence shows many examples. He collaborated with 
Ammanati in laying out the Boboli garden, and the great grotto at 
Castello is his work. 



Giovanni da Udine, born, as his name indicates, in the chief city of 
the province of Friuli, was one of the most celebrated decorative 
artists of his day. He studied under Giorgione and Raphael, and 
became noted for his stained glass and for the invention of a stucco 



as durable as that of the Romans. His stucco-work in the Villa Ma- 
dama and in the loggias of the Vatican is famous, and part of the deco- 
ration of the Borgia rooms in the Vatican is his work. Michel- 
angelo's chapel of the Medici in Florence was painted and decorated 
in stucco by Udine, and he carried out, in painting, some of Ra- 
phael's designs for the great hall of the Farnesina. The Palazzo 
Grimani in Venice and the Palazzo Massimi alle Colonne in Rome 
were partly decorated by him. 


Del Vaga, whose real name was Pietro Buonaccorsi, was born near 
Florence. He was a pupil of Raphael's, and after the latter's death 
was employed in finishing a part of his work in the Vatican. Almost 
all del Vaga's work was done in Genoa, where he painted the state 
apartments in the Villa Doria. The charming plaster decorations 
in the Palazzo Pallavicini (now Cataldi) are by him, and also the 
Hercules cycle in the Palazzo Odero (now Mari). 

B. , d. 1622 

Vasanzio, known also as II Fiammingo, but whose real name was John 
of Xanten, was a Flemish architect who came to Italy and had con- 
siderable success in Rome. He built the Villa Borghese in Rome 
and designed the fountains of the inner court of the Villa Pia. He 
also worked on the Villa Mondragone at Frascati and succeeded Fla- 
minio Ponzio as architect of the Palazzo Rospigliosi in Rome. 


Vasari, who was born at Arezzo, was a pupil of Michelangelo and 
Andrea del Sarto. Though he considered himself a better painter 
than architect, it is chiefly as the latter that he interests the modern 
student. He built the court of the Uffizi in Florence and planned the 
Villa di Papa Giulio in Rome; painted the ceiling of the great hall of 
the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and carved the figure of Architecture 
on the tomb of Michelangelo in Santa Croce. He is, however, chiefly 
famous for his lives of the Italian painters and architects. 



Vignola, one of the greatest architects of the sixteenth century, born 
at Vignola, in the province of Modena, followed Michelangelo as the 
architect of St. Peter's. The Villa Lante at Bagnaia, near Viterbo, 
is attributed to him. In Rome he built the celebrated Villa di Papa 
Giulio, though the plan was Vasari's; also the garden-architecture of 
the Orti Farnesiani on the Palatine. His masterpiece is the palace 
at Caprarola, near Viterbo. He also built the great Palazzo Farnese 
at Piacenza, various buildings at Bologna, and the loggia of the Villa 
Mondragone at Frascati. His church of the Gesii in Rome greatly 
influenced other architects. His text-book on the Orders of Archi 
tecture is one of the best-known works on the subject. 



Acqua Sola, gardens of, 42, 53 

Albani, Cardinal, 113 

Albani, Villa, Pietro NoUi's work on, no; 

Antonio Nolli's work on, 113 
d'Albaro, San Francesco, villas at, 188 
Alessi, Galeazzo: Strada Nuova, 176; Villa 

Imperiali (Scassi), 179; Villa Paradiso, 

189; Villa Cambiaso, 189 
Algardi, Alessandro, 109 
Ammanati, Bartolommeo, Boboli garden, 25 ; 

Villa di Papa Giulio, 84 
Anguissola, Count, 212 
Arethusa, grotto of, at Villa d'Este, 147 

Battaglia, castle of Cattajo at, 233 

Bernini, 185 

Bisuschio: Jtr Villa Cicogna 

Boboli garden, 25 ; Isola Bella in, 29 

Bologna, Giovanni da, 37; figure of the 
Apennines, 57 

Bombicci, Villa, 53 

Borghese, Cardinal Scipione, 148 

Borghese, Villa, 107 

Borromean Islands, 197 

Borromeo, Cardinal Charles, 201 

Borromeo, Count Vitaliano IV, 198 

Borromini, 163 

Botanic Garden at Padua, 239 

Bramante: Vatican gardens, 81 ; double stair- 
case in the Vatican, 97 

Brenta, the, 233, 243 

Brown, "Capability," 205 

Brunswick, Caroline of, 184 

Buonaccorsi : see Vaga 

Buontalenti, 25 

Burnet, Bishop: description of Isola Bella, 

Cadenabbia, 214 

Cafaggiuolo, Villa, 30 

Caffe at the Villa Albani, 114 

Cagnola, Villa, 219 

Cambiaso, Villa, 189 

Cambiaso, Villa : see Paradiso 

Campi, Villa, 54 

Campiobbi, 48 

Camporesi, 108 

Canopus, \'alley of, at Villa of Hadrian, 148 

Capra, Villa, at Vicenza, 246 

Caprarola, 97; Vignola's casino, 131 ; chdteaii 
d^eau, 131 

Careggi, Villa, 30 

Carloni, the : statue of Neptune in Villa 
Doria, 175 

Carlotta, Villa, at Cadenabbia, 214 

Casino of the Aurora, 1 19 

Casino del Papa : see Villa Pia 

Castelli : terraces on the Isola Bella, 19S 

Castello, Giovanni Battista, 173 

Castello, Villa, 30 

Cattajo, castle of, 233 

Cecchignola, hunting-lodge of, 1 19 

Celiniontana, Villa, 119 

Cctinale, Villa, 64; hermitage at, 66 

Chateaux iVeau at the Villa Aldobrandini, 152 ; 
Villa Borghese, 107; Caprarola, 131; Villa 
Cicogna, 217; Palazzo Colonna, 119; Villa 
Conti, 155; Villa d'Este at Tivoli, 144; 
Villa Lante, 136; Lancellotti, 164; Mon- 
dragone, 151; Val San Zibio, 237 

Chigi, Flavio, 6J 

Chigi, Villa, 117 

Cicogna, Villa, 214; cluiteau d'eau, 217 

Clement VII: see Medici, Giuliano de' 

Colonna, Cardinal, 83 



Colonna, Palazzo, Il8; chateau d^au, 119 
Como, villa of Bishop of, 213 
Conti, Villa: see Torlonia 
Cordova, Cardinal Bishop ofj 140 
Corsini, Villa, 48 
Crivelli, Villa, near Inverigo, 218 
Crivelli ; work on the Isola Bella, 198 
Cuzzano, Villa, 250 

Danti, Villa, 48, 57 
De' Gori, Villa: see Palazzina, La 
Durazzo-Grapollo, Villa, 186 
Dussieux, no 

Este, Cardinal Ippolito d', 140 

Este, Villa d', at Cernobbio, 20S 

Este, Villa d', at TivoH, 139; grotesque 
garden-architecture, 29 ; Ligorio's work, 
140; frescoes of the Zuccheri, 143 

Evelyn, description of Villa Medici, 89 ; of 
Villa Doria, 175 

Falconieri, Villa, 160 

Farnese, Cardinal Alexander, 127 

Farnese gardens, 97 

Ferrara, Alfonso I of, 140 

Ferri, Antonio, 48 

Fontana, Carlo : Cetinale, 65 ; palace and 
garden-pavilions on the Isola Bella, 198 

Fontana, Giovanni: Villa Borghese, 107; 
theatre d'eau at Mondragone, 151 ; water- 
works at the Villa Aldobrandini, 152 

Fonte air Erta, 51 

Frascati, jeux d\'aitx in villas, 107; char- 
acteristic features of villas, 139 

Gallio, Cardinal, 184 
Gambara, Cardinal, 132 
Gamberaia, Villa, 45 
Garden, Botanic, at Padua, 239 
Garden-house at Caprarola, 131 
Garden-house at Stra, 244 
Gardens : 

Acqua Sola, 185 

Boboli, 25 

Farnese, 97 

Florentine, English influence on, 21 

Genoese, characteristics of, 178 

Giusti, 250 

Pigna, 82 

Vatican, 98 

Genoa, villas of, 173 
Giacomelli, Villa, 249 
Giulio, Villa di Papa, 84 
Giusti gardens, 250 
Giustiniani, Villa, 174 

Grotto at Villa Castello, 34 ; at Villa d'Este, 
147 ; at Villa Gamberaia, 45 

Hermitage at Cetinale, 66 

Imperial;, Villa, at Sampierdarena : see Villa 

Imperiali, Villa, at San Fruttuoso, 190 
Isola Bella, Lake of Como, 198; Bishop 

Burnet's description of, 201 
Isola Bella in Boboli garden, 29 
Isola Madre, Lake of Como, 197 

Julius III, 84 
Juvara, 231 

Lancellotti, Villa, 164 

Lante, Villa, 132; chateau d'eau, 136; gar- 
dens, 97 

Le Notre, no, 139 

Ligorio, Pirro, 98; Casino del Papa, 98; 
Villa d'Este at Tivoli, 140 

Lippi, Annibale, 90 

Lomellini, Villa, 174 

Longhena, 232 

Ludovisi, Villa, 119 

Maison de plaisance, the, 22 

Malcontenta, Villa della, 245 

Malta, Villa of the Knights of, 117 

Marchionne, Carlo, 113 

Mattel, Villa, 119 

Medici, Eleonora de', 25 

Medici, Giuliano de' (Clement VII), 82 

Medici, Villa, 89 

Michelangelo: Villa Bombicci, 53; Villa di 

Papa Giulio, 84 
Modena, Villa of Duke of, at Varese, 224 
Mondragone, 97; work by Flaminio Ponzio, 

148; Vignola's loggia, 151; Giovanni 

Fontana's thedtye d'eau, 151 
Montaigne : description of Castello, ^^ 
Montalto, Cardinal, 132 
Montorsoli, Fra, 174 
Moore, Jacob, 108 
Mora, 1 98 
Muti, Villa, 159 



Naples, King of, 83 
Negroni, Villa, 119 
NoUi, Antonio, 113 
Nolli, Pietro, iio 

Olivieri, Orazio, 147 

Padua, Botanic Garden, 239 ; Prato della 

Valle, 240 
Palazzina, La, 71 ; theatre ai, 72 
Palladio, 180, 232 
Pallavicini, Villa, at Pegli, 185 
Pallavicini alle Peschiere, Villa, 185, iSo 
Palmieri, Villa, 57 

Pamphily, Villa, 109; theatre ii'tati, no 
Papa, Casino del : see Villa Pia 
Papa Giulio, Villa di, 84 
Paradisino, Villa, 1S9 
Paradiso, Villa, 189 
Parigi, Giulio, 38 
I':irma, Duchess of, 83 
I'arodi, Palazzo, 177 
Peruzzi, Baldassare, at Belcaro, 63 ; at Vico- 

bello, 69 
Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, 38 
Petraia, Villa, 30; fountain at, 37 
Pia, Villa, 140 
Pigna, Giardino della, 82 
Piranesi, 117 
Pisani, Alvise, 243 
Pisani, Villa, at Stra, 244 
Pius IV, 98 
Pliniana, Villa, 212 
Poggio a Caiano, 30 
Poggio Imperiale, 38 
Ponzio, Flaminio, 148 
Porta, Giacomo della, 144 ; Villa Aldobran- 

dini, 151 
Prati, 243 

Pratolino, Villa, 30, 57 
Priorato, II : see Villa of the Knights of 

Pulci, Castel, 57 

Rainaldo, Girolamo, 107 

Raphael, 82 

Repton, Humphrey, 205 

Riario, Cardinal, 132 

Ridolfi, Cardinal, 132 

Romano, Giulio, 82 

Rotonda Cagnola : see Cagnola 

Rotonda Capra ; see Capra 
Rubens, 176 
Ruffini, Cardinal, 163 
Ruggieri, 223 

Sacchetti, Villa, 119 

Sampierdarena, ^% 

Saiigallo, Antonio da, 82 ; A. da Sangallo the 

Vounger, 104 
Sangallo, Giuliano da, 38, 82 
Sansovino, 232 
Savino, 107 
Scassi, Villa, 179 
Sixtus V, 132 
Stri, Villa Pisani at, 244 
Strada Nuova in Genoa, 176 

Tiepolo: Villa Pisani, 244; Villa Valmarana, 

Tito, Santi di, 53 
Torlonia, Villa, 155 
Tribolo, II: Boboli garden, 25 ; fountain at 

Castello, 33 ; at Petraia, 37 

Udine, Giovanni da, 83 

Vaga, Pierin del, 173 
Valmarana, Villa, 249 
Val San Zibio, Villa of, 237 
Vasanzio, Giovanni (II Fiammingo), 107 
Vasari, 84 

Vatican, gardens of, 81 
Venetia, villa-architecture of, 232 
Vigna del Papa: see Villa di Papa Giulio 
Vignola : Villa di Papa Giulio, 84; Farnese 
gardens, 97; Caprarola, 131; loggia at 
Mondragone, 151 

Ai CoUazzi: see Bombicci 

Alario : see Visconti di Saliceto 

Albani, no, 113 

Aldobrandini, 151 

Belcaro, 63 

Belrespiro: see Pamphily 

Bombicci, 53 

Borghese, 107 

Cafaggiulo, 30 

Cagnola, 219 

Cambiaso (Paradiso), 189 

Cambiaso, by Alessi, 189 

Campi, 54 

Capponi at Arcetri, 4S 




Capra, 246 

Caprarola, 97 

Careggi, 30 

Carlotta, 214 

Castel Pulci, 57 

Celimontana, iig 

Cetinale, 64 

Chigi, ri7 

Cicogna, 214 

Conti : see Torlonia 

Corsini, 48 

Crivelli, 218 

Cuzzano, 250 

Danti, 48, 57 

De' Gori : see Palazzina, La 

Doria in Genoa, 175 

Durazzo-GrapoUo, 186 

d'Este at Cernobbio, 184 

d'Este at Tivoli, 139 

Falconieri, 160 

Fonte air Erta, 51 

Gamberaia, 41 

Giacoraelli, 249 

Giustiniani, 174 

Imperiali at San Fruttuoso, 190 

Imperiali : see Scassi 

Isola Bella, 198 

Lancellotti, 164 

Lante, 97 

Lappeggi, 57 

Lomellini, 174 

Ludovisi, 119 

Madama, 82 

Malcontenta, 245 

Malta, of the Knights of, 117 

Medici, 89 

Mondragone, 97 


Muti, 159 

Negroni, 119 

Palazzina, La, 71 

Pallavicini at Pegli, 185 

Pallavicini alle Peschiere, 185 

Palmieri, 57 

Pamphily, 109 

di Papa Giulio, 84 

Paradisino, 189 

Paradiso : see Cambiaso 

Petraia, 30 

Pia, 140 

Pisani, 244 

Pliniana, 212 

Poggio a Caiano, 30 

Poggio Imperiale, 30 

Pratolino, 57 

Priorato, del : see Malta 

Rotonda : see Cagnola and Capra 

Sacchetti, 119 

Scassi, 179 

Torlonia, 155 

Valmarana, 249 

Val San Zibio, 237 

Vicobello, 69 

Visconti di Saliceto, 220 
Vi//i2 subiirbana, the, 22 

Villas of the Brenta, 240 ; of the Brianza, 
218; Florentine, 19; Genoese, 173; Mila- 
nese, 197; Roman, 81; Sienese, 63; Ve- 
netian, 231 
Vismara, 198 

Xanten, John of : see Vasanzio 

Zocchi, etchings by, ^:i 
Zuccheri, the, 85, 143 



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