Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Original Pentagon?

by the Jesuit founder-funder family Farnese

A Little History

Over a rocky spur, five hundred meters on Sea level, the construction of the Farnese Palace, started in 1525, authentic architectonic jewel and great work, initially thought as fortress by cardinal Alessandro Farnese ( later the Pope Paolo III ), and projected by Antonio Sangallo il Giovane, was realized in only 27 years, completed by his grandson, The cardinal Alessandro Juniore, son of Pier Luigi Farnese (Duca di Castro) and grandson of Paolo III.

The Farnese needed a residence worthy of their acquired dukedoms.
The projects by Antonio Sangallo il Giovane and Baldassarre Peruzzi architects of what initially had to be a pentagonal fortress, was transformed by the Vignola in a magnificent palace.
He transformed the bastions at the fortress corners in airy terraces from which enjoying the panorama on the surrounding campaign, lightening the austere building with scenic ramps to access the palace, courtyards and garden.

The small medieval village below was restructured and connected to the palace through a rectilinear street axis.

The best artists, the most illustrious names of the age - among them the Zuccari brothers, entrusted with the direction of works inside - were invited.
Antonio Tempesti, Giovanni Il Vecchio, Giovanni Antonio Da Varese, Raffaellino da Reggio, Giacomo Del Duca and Jacopo Bertoia worked to realize the magnificent summer residence, a real expression of the new feudal power of the Farnese family, realizing an abundant heraldic, mythological and celebrative repertoire stiff to the exaltation of the family, as appears in the halls.

Immediately, from the entrance hall, it shows the originality of the Palace.
The splendid stone staircase that from the basements develops up to the noble floor - allowing the Duke to approach directly with the horse the upper floors of the palace - is supported by thirty gentle Doric columns and with allegorical frescoes dedicated to the Farnese family on the walls.

One after the other come the halls, rich of delicate architectonic elements and frescoes on walls and ceilings, some of which skilfully painted in perspective in order to simulate the vault.

The Farnese dedicated a large part of their revenue to the decoration of the palace.

Very beautiful the Sala dei Fasti Farnesiani (the Farnese Magnificence hall) the Sala dell'Aurora and the Sala del Mappamondo (mappamondo = world-map), one of the finest

rooms where all the walls are painted with maps of the four continents (the map shows also the Antarctic Continent), Palestine and Italy and with a large map of the world.
A thin appeal pervades the visitor while walking on the original XVI century cotto floors.

Two bridges connect the palace to the immense Italian garden

and to the park on the back side of the palace.
The Summer and the Winter gardens, superior example of Italian garden, encircles the Palace.

The Fountains, grottos, nymphaeums and numerous water games, the monumental Fountains and statues enrich the way between hedges and large staircases.

On the top of the hill, over 600 meters on the Sea level, at the end of a long path, encircled from the park, is the Mansion of Piacere (il Casino Del Piacere), with its water staircase, fountains, terraces, a casino and loggia.

This was the shelter of the Cardinal Alexander during the great warmth in the summery periods.

Caprarola (Km. 16 from Viterbo) is located in a dominant position overlooking the Tiber valley and the other fiefs of the Farnese family.

Recently has been object of study from part of the School of Architecture of Prince Carl of England. In 1995, he has come to visit its students, during their stage in Caprarola.
Few km far , the splendid scene of the Vico Lake, Regional Natural Park since 1982.

Caprarola also preserves the church of S. Maria della Consolazione as ordered by Odoardo Farnese. It is of great architectural value.

In the courtyard at Palazzo Farnese, from June to September, there are Renaissance music concerts (by order of the Farnese).

To be visited:
Santa Teresa Church

The Church, part of an entrusted religious complex of the Carmelitani, was finished in 1623 and entitled to S. Maria and S. Silvestro. Subsequently the church was dedicated to S.Teresa of the Carmelitane Order.
The building location outside of the town is not accidental but, as for other elements of the
city structure, has a tightened geometric relation with the Farnese Palace.
The facade of the church, harmonious and slander, is made of peperino stone with Farnese lilies on the top.
The inside, a single nave, has three altars with as many precious paintings. The annexed convent is rich of xvii century furnishings.

Church of S. Rocco
Located on the large square in front of the Palace, it has been transformed to Sanctuary for soldiers. Inside, a single space, the Chapels are nails head are rich of stuccos, fresco and decorations surely realized by the masters who worked to the decoration of the Palace.

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