From Chigi to FarneseVilla Farnesina is an extravagant building on the Via Lungotevere in Rome's Trastevere district. This extraordinary stately home is one of the noblest buildings in Rome and a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. It was built at the beginning of the sixteenth century for the wealthy banker Agostino Chigi by the architect Baldassarre Peruzzi, who also contributed some frescoes to the fabulous interior, including the mind-bending trompe-l'oeil 'Perspective Room.'
The villa was purchased by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (later Pope Paul III) in the 1579, and takes its name from that illustrious and stylish family. This association with the Farnese family would surely have annoyed Chigi no end, since he had intended it to be his own legacy. It is called 'Farnesina' and not Farnese so as to distinguish the Villa from Palazzo Farnese
on the other side of the Tiber. Michelangelo proposed linking the two with a bridge across the Tiber, which was begun but never completed; some arches are visible in the river today.
This airy summer house is surrounded by beautiful symmetrical gardens and contains magnificent frescoes of classical scenes, not only by Peruzzi but also by other Renaissance masters including Raphael. The richly adorned rooms were used for the most splendid parties and entertainment and have hosted lauded poets, musicians, princes, cardinals and popes.
After the death of Alessandro Farnese the Younger the building was abandoned, then was owned by the Bourbons of Naples, and was later lent out occasionally to visiting dignitaries such as Queen Christina of Sweden. It was acquired by the Italian State in 1927 and given in 1944 to the renowned national academy Accademia Nationale dei Lincei, which still owns it today.