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villa.Although used to designate any country residence, especially in Italy and S France, the term villa particularly refers to a type of pleasure residence with extensive grounds favored by the Romans and richly developed in Italy in the Renaissance. The Roman villa of the empire is described in several contemporary literary accounts and particularly by Pliny. Favored locations were at Tivoli near Rome and along the shores of the Bay of Naples. The dwelling quarters, consisting of several low buildings, included recreation facilities and lodgings for the servants. The farmhouse type (villa rustica) had barns, orchards, and vineyards, and the type used as a pleasure retreat (villa urbana) had formal gardens adorned with fountains and sculptures. The luxurious villa of Emperor Hadrian near Tivoli, of which extensive ruins remain, is said to have covered more than 7 sq mi (18 sq km); many works of art were exhumed there during the Renaissance. In the late 15th cent. the classic villas, rediscovered along with the rest of the Roman past, furnished the Renaissance nobles with patterns for pleasure estates of their own, e.g., the Villa Madama, Rome, designed by Raphael and the many villas built by Palladio in N Italy. Many of these villas had hillside locations, which called forth the fullest ingenuity of the garden designers. Their pictorial compositions blended with the variable elements of nature the formal qualities of the house, the incidental garden architecture, and the fountains. Baroque villas displayed the most fanciful variety of garden frivolities—grotesque sculptures, grottoes lined with rock and shell decorations, fantastic water displays, and ingenious transitions between different levels. Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore is a striking example. Among the finest villas are the FarnesinaFarnesina
, villa in Rome, Italy, built (1508–11) by Peruzzi for the banker Agostino Chigi at the foot of the Janiculum on the right bank of the Tiber. One of the finest examples of Italian Renaissance architecture, it is famous for its frescoes by Raphael and his pupils.
..... Click the link for more information. ; the Villa d'EsteVilla d'Este
, name of two famous villas in Italy. One lies near Tivoli, c.20 mi (30 km) E of Rome. Built in 1550 by Pirro Ligorio for Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, it is decorated with paintings and statues and is surrounded by one of the most beautiful Renaissance gardens in
..... Click the link for more information. at Tivoli; the Villa Farnese at Caprarola by Vignola; the Borghese VillaBorghese Villa
or Villa Umberto I
, summer palace built by Scipione Cardinal Borghese outside the Porta del Popolo, Rome. Begun in 1605, the villa was transformed in the 18th cent. into a more elaborate edifice. In 1806 it yielded much of its priceless art to Paris.
..... Click the link for more information. ; and the Villa Doria PamphiliVilla Doria Pamphili
, Roman villa, built in the 17th cent. for Camillo Pamphili, nephew of Pope Innocent X, from plans designed by Alessandro Algardi. It was situated against the western walls of Rome near the San Pancrazio gate. The Romans called it Belrespiro.
..... Click the link for more information. .
a type of country house with a garden or park. The first villas appeared on the territory of present-day Italy in the third century B.C. During the second and first centuries B.C. they were found throughout the Mediterranean region.
The most common type of villa during this period was the villa rustica, an architectural group of residential and farm buildings that formed the center of a rural estate. It usually consisted of the landowner’s section, where the master and his family lived, and the farm section (housing for slaves, cattle sheds, barns, and so forth). The villa’s buildings were all grouped around an open (later, closed) courtyard. The villa urbana, which was located in the country, was intended primarily for pleasure and recreation (for example, the Villa of Mysteries near Pompeii, second and first centuries B.C.). During the second and first centuries B.C. the owner’s residence was separated from the farm buildings and frequently decorated by mosaics and wall paintings. In addition to the early type of villa, large villas were built (especially under the empire), surrounded by specially laid out, usually terraced parks with pavilions, sculpture, and fountains.
This kind of villa—the country residential estate of an aristocrat—was further developed in the 15th through the 17th century in Italy. During the Renaissance the villa group began to have an axial composition, with the main building—the casino—in the center. A great deal of importance was attached to architectural solutions for the support walls and the terraces, which were connected by staircases with numerous flights. Combined with landscaped areas, these elements visually united the house and the park with the surrounding landscape (the villa of Pope Julius III in Rome, 1550-55, architects G. Vignola, B. Ammanati, and G. Vasari; the Villa Rotonda near Vicenza, 1551-67, architect A. Palladio, completed during 1580-91 by the architect V. Scamozzi; and Cambiaso near Genoa, 1548, architect G. Alessi). The natural grace and simplicity of the Renaissance villa gave way to the ornate baroque villa’s intricate, fanciful composition, which was designed to produce a sprawling effect by means of the viewer’s consecutive perception of separate buildings in the group. During the baroque period, the large park with pavilions, statues, and cascades formed an artificial, multilevel landscape, the view of which was completed by the casino (the Aldobrandini villa in Frascati, 1598-1603, architects G. della Porta and C. Maderno; completed by C. Fontana).
In the 19th century comfortable, private residences with gardens or parks in the wealthier sections of a city or suburb or at a resort were called villas. In the 20th century the term “villa” is often applied to any comfortable, isolated country home for one family. Because many of these houses are built to individual orders without the usual restrictions on the architect, the construction of country homes in contemporary architecture abroad is often experimental. In construction and planning, new solutions are being sought to create maximum comfort and unity with surrounding nature (for example, the villa in Garches, Haut-de-Seine Department, France, 1927, designed by Le Corbusier).
REFERENCESVseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1948; vol. 5, Moscow, 1967.
Masson, G. Ville e palazzi d’ltalia. Milan, 1959.
Le Corbusier. Vers Une Architecture. Paris [n.d.].
Ruprecht, B. “Villa: Zur Geschichte eines Ideals.” In the collection Probleme der Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 2. Berlin, 1966. Pages 210-50.
V. I. KUZISHCHIN and V. M. DAMUNOV