Views from Villa Guilia

Views from Villa Guilia by Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Bartolomeo Ammanati, and Giorgio Vasari in Rome, Italy.

This was intended to be a refreshing respite from the hot dinginess of the city. I’m sure it was incredible ‘back-in-the-day’, but these days, the water garden grotto was more of a swampy pit. I imagine it’s hard to up-keep when they don’t charge admission… Overall, the place was in decent condition, it just needed a good scrub and some patches here and there. You couldn’t actually access the Nymphaeum grotto area (bottom middle) with the statues-which is exactly where I wanted to be on that sweaty afternoon, but the semi-circular Vignola courtyard (top right) was nice and shady and fairly impressive as a sketch (I did the procession-view style, so mine doesn’t do it justice. Some of my students got nice drawings out of it though!).

Views from Villa Lante by Vignola in Bagnaia, Italy.

I created a narrative as I was walking through the gardens; treating the procession as some kind of epic journey/quest for the holy grail.

1. “Sculpture points the way forward to ascent. What lies ahead?
2. "A path diverted. A choice… Which is the true path? The mystical plantings raise more questions…”
3. “Greeted by a water choir-a shady respite on our journey.”
4. “Stopping for a snack with giants. Water fountains tower ahead making us seem even smaller.”
5. “Natural elements become a staircase. Walls made of shrubbery, a refreshing handrail. The Holy Grail is within our grasp.”
6. “The true reward-not the grail, but the eternal source."