At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

7 July 2016

Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola - architect

Legacy of beautiful Renaissance buildings throughout Italy

Vignola's Villa Farnese at Caprarola, near Viterbo in Lazio, acknowledged as one of the architect's masterpieces
Vignola's Villa Farnese at Caprarola, near Viterbo in Lazio,
which is acknowledged as one of the architect's masterpieces

One of the great architects of the 16th century, Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, died on this day in 1573 in Rome.

Often referred to simply as Vignola, the architect left the world with a wealth of beautiful buildings and two acknowledged masterpieces, the Villa Farnese at Caprarola and the Church of the Gesù in Rome.

Along with Andrea Palladio and Sebastiano Serlio, Vignola was responsible for spreading the style of the Italian Renaissance throughout Europe.

He was born at Vignola near Modena in Emilia-Romagna in 1507. He began his career as an architect in Bologna and then went to Rome to make drawings of Roman temples. He was invited to Fontainebleau  to work for King Francois I, where it is believed he first met the Bolognese architect, Serlio.

Back in Italy he designed the Palazzo Bocchi in Bologna and then moved to Rome to work for Pope Julius III. He later worked alongside the artist Michelangelo, who greatly influenced his architectural style.

From 1564 onwards, Vignola worked on the new St Peter’s Basilica, following the plans Michelangelo had drawn up for the domes.

Vignola died in Rome at the age of 65. His remains were reburied in the Pantheon as recently as 1973.

Travel tip:

Villa Farnese, which is also sometimes known as Villa Caprarola, is a beautiful house in the town of Caprarola in the province of Viterbo in Lazio, about 50 kilometres north west of Rome. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese commissioned Vignola to design his residence and it is now recognised as one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Italy. The architect worked on it until his death in 1573.

The Chiesa del Gesù in Rome was built to Vignola's design
The Chiesa del Gesù in Rome was built to Vignola's design
Travel tip:

The Church of the Gesù, Chiesa del Gesù, is the mother church of the Jesuits in Piazza del Gesù in the Campo dè Fiori area of Rome. The church was built in 1568 to Vignola’s specifications and its baroque façade is believed to be the first of this style ever designed.

(Photo of Villa Farnese by Livioandronico2013 CC BY-SA 4.0)
(Photo of Chiesa del Gesù by Jebulon CC0 1.0)


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