Villa Ludovisi

Museum (Italy)
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About

The Villa Ludovisi was a suburban villa in Rome, built in the 17th century on the area once occupied by the Gardens of Sallust (Horti Sallustiani) near the Porta Salaria. On an assemblage of vineyards purchased from Giovanni Antonio Orsini, Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte and others, Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi erected in the 1620s the main villa building to designs by Domenichino; it was completed within thirty months, in part to house his collection of Roman antiquities, additions to which were unearthed during construction at the site, which had figured among the great patrician pleasure grounds of Roman times. Modern works, most famously Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Pluto and Persephone, were also represented. The engraving of the grounds by Giovanni Battista Falda (1683) shows a short access avenue from a tree-lined exedra in via di Porta Pinciana and cypress-lined avenues centered on each of the facades of the main villa, laid out through open fields, the main approaches to both the villa and the Casino dell'Aurora converging on gates in the Aurelian Walls, which formed the northern bounds of the park; symmetrical parterres of conventional form including bosquets peopled with statuary flanked the main avenue of the Casina, and there was an isolated sunken parterre, though these features were not integrated in a unified overall plan. The overgrown avenues contrasting with the dramatic Roman walls inspired Stendhal to declare in 1828 that the Villa Ludovisi's gardens were among the most beautiful in the world. [source]