Texts by Bruno Racine, Philippe Morel
1998 / 108 PAGES
Surrounded by a lush garden, with centuries-old trees and shady avenues where the ghosts of its illustrious guests seem to wander still, Villa Medici was the coffer in which a Renaissance prince, Ferdinando de’ Medici, collected his treasures.
With Roman origins, despite being considered outside the city limits, what is today called Villa Medici was first a splendid palace under Emperor Honorius, made in marbles sent specially from Ravenna. Later, it was a site of sieges and lootings, with the first arrivals of the barbarians. Having lost its grandeur, it was reduced to an arid and uncultivated vineyard. Only Cardinal Giovanni Ricci, a thousand years later, managed to understand its fascination, and set to work restoring it to its ancient role: a garden of delights. The text tells the story of this extraordinary monument, explaining the events that followed, from its splendours under Ferdinando de' Medici to its role as an ardent centre of French culture with the establishment of the French Academy, accompanied by images of the interior decorations and gardens.