Graphic design by © Tassinari/Vetta
This book is an essential guide for anyone eager to discover the history and beauty of the Farnese Gardens on the Palatine. A paradise amongst the Roman ruins, with its late renaissance style buildings surrounded by the luxuriant greenery which is the garden's main attraction.
he first part of the book is dedicated to the history and evolution of the Horti Palatini Farnesiorum. Commissioned by the Farnese family in the mid-16th century, these gardens were designed as a secret retreat dedicated to otium, where visitors could stroll leisurely along the tree-lined paths admiring the beautiful flower beds, fountains and elaborate pavilions, the latter housing exquisite statues and artwork. Located on the Palatine Hill, the mythical and symbolical centre of ancient Roman civilization, the gardens became a parallel ideological universe born of the deep bond between history and the philosophical, artistic and literary tradition of the classical world that is inherent to its location. A location carefully chosen as a symbol of the Farnese family’s consolidated position in the political sphere of Papal Rome.
The gardens enjoyed immense popularity during the years of the Grand Tour and came to be regarded as an idyllic paradise, but the desire to discover the remains of ancient Rome buried beneath them lead to considerable upheaval and destruction in pursuit of archaeological excavation, which began in the 18th century and continues to this day.
The second part of the book focuses on what remains of the garden’s pavilions and artwork, which have recently undergone careful restoration (2013-2018). These important fragments give us an idea of the garden’s original splendour. The descriptions, paintings, drawings, prints and pictures contained in the book, many of which previously unpublished, contribute in bringing to life this hidden gem in the heart of the Eternal City.