Villa Farnese: 500-Year-Old Italian Mansion

Villa Farnese is one of the most impressive medieval houses in Italy. It is located in the town of Caprarola, Lazio, just 50 kilometers away from Rome. Villa Farnese has been towering over Caprarola and its locals for more than 500 hundred years now.

villa farnese

In the early 16th century, Alessandro Farnese bought the area in the town and had plans for an estate in the shape of a pentagon. However, due to the technical difficulties of the shape, even putting the right foundations took nearly 15 years. Moreover, the remaining part of the construction had to stop because Alessandro became the Pope in 1534, leaving the town for the Vatican.

villa farnese from above

After he became pope, the grandson Farnese took over the construction and hired an architect to finish the estate. The second part of the construction took even more time and in 1573, Villa Farnese was finally ready to impress. Aside from taking 75 years to actually finish, it became one of the finest and most enduring pieces of Renaissance architecture.

villa farnese and the town below

Apart from its exterior, the interior of Villa Farnese is filled with beauty as well. The most important room in the mansion is full of paintings depicting various events from Italian history, the Bible, and the history of the Farnese family.

villa farnese painting

The Farnese family was always looking to climb the social ladder. In order to impress the king and the other nobility, they tried to build diplomatic relations and painted themselves heroically taking place in important battles and conflicts of Italy.

the house paintings

The outer gardens of Villa Farnese are another impressive part of the mansion. The gardens have fountains and sculptures representing figures from Roman mythology.

the fountain and sculptures in the building

Aside from the sculptures, fountains, and the beauty of the interior garden, another peculiar aspect is present as well. Apparently, there is a secret garden inside the mansion connected to the other gardens via a secret bridge. It is possible that the owners used this garden as a summer house.

the horse sculptures in the mansion

Today, Villa Farnese belongs to the Italian Ministry of Culture and is a popular tourist attraction. As it is nearly 500 years old, the mansion has been a witness to many historical events in both Italian and European history. Moreover, some of the gardens are the official houses of the Italian president too.

the mansion and the town from above