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All images © by Roberto Piperno, owner of the domain. Write to romapip@quipo.it. Text edited by Rosamie Moore.
Page revised in August 2010.


Secondo Prospetto del Casino di Villa Madama (Book 10) (View C3)  (Day 8)


In this page:
 The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
 Today's view
 Foro Italico (Chiesa diruta)

The Plate (No. 185)


Giuseppe Vasi dedicated two etchings to Villa Madama because he found the site in such poor condition that he decided to leave a detailed record of the casino designed by Raphael. The villa is named after Margaret, natural daughter of Emperor Charles V and wife of Ottavio Farnese, grandson of Pope Paul III. In the first etching Vasi showed the southern side of the casino which faces Rome, while the second one was dedicated to the elegant loggia facing north and having a view over the countryside and Ponte Milvio.
In the description below the plate Vasi made reference to: 1) Loggia decorated by Giulio Romano; 2) peschiera (a fountain with fish); 3) side towards the hill (Monte Mario). The small late XIXth century map here below shows: 1) Villa Madama; 2) Site of today's Foro Italico; 3) Ponte Molle (Milvio). 3) is shown in another page.


Today

The view in July 2010

The view is taken from a distance because Villa Madama is currently used as a location for conferences and dinners by the Italian Foreign Office and security measures are in place to prevent access to the site (more on the history and current status of Villa Madama in the page covering the first etching).

Foro Italico

Villa Madama seen from Foro Italico

The large photo of Villa Madama was taken from Foro Italico, a complex of sport facilities which was built in the 1930s in the plain between Monte Mario and Ponte Milvio; it is characterized by gigantic statues of naked athletes, often portrayed with a raised hand in a gesture similar to the Roman salute introduced by the Fascist regime of the time.
According to Vasi a ruined church (Chiesa diruta) was visible in a vineyard in this area, but the 1887 extensive repertory of churches by Mariano Armellini did not mention it, so probably at that time the building had disappeared completely.

Obelisco del Foro Italico

The original name of the complex was Foro Mussolini as it was dedicated to Mussolini, the leader of the Fascist regime on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his accession to power; the 1932 obelisk at the entrance to the complex bears his name and the word Dux, the title he gave himself as leader of the Fascist Party (Duce del Fascismo).


Stadio dei Marmi (to the left a small part of Stadio Olimpico)

The construction of Foro Mussolini and in particular of Stadio dei Marmi (designed by Enrico Del Debbio) was a bonanza for Italian sculptors who were asked to portray athletes symbolizing Italian provinces. The facilities and buildings of the complex are of a relatively small dimension which fits well into the green background of the hill; the large stadium which was built for the 1960 Olympic Games and Palazzo della Farnesina, a large building which you can see in the Abridged History of Rome section were added at a later period.

(left) Statue in a niche of Piscina Coperta (Covered Swimming Pool); (right) mosaic portraying naked golf and tennis players near Stadio Olimpico

Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:


Chiesa diruta
Nell'an. 1500. fu scoperta a caso questa chiesa, la quale è in forma di basilica a tre navi voltata verso Ponte molle, e vi si conservano ancora le volte, ed alcune immagini sagre di maniera antica. Fu creduta essere stata eretta almeno da' Cristiani in tempo di Costantino, per conservare la memoria della ss. Croce, che a quel Pio e Grande Imperatore apparve in aria, promettendogli la vittoria, che su questa medesima spiaggia ottenne contro il tiranno Massenzio, con che terminarono le barbarie e persecuzioni de' Gentili contro i Cristiani, e principiò ad aver pace la Chiesa di Gesù Cristo, fermando in questa Metropoli la sua Sede, che gloriosamente fin oggi vi si conserva, contro ogni sforzo di Satanasso in conformità della promessa del sommo Pastore, che ‘ Porta inferi non prevalebunt adversus eam ’.

Next plate in Book 10: Casino della Vigna di Papa Giulio III
You have completed Day 8 itinerary!
Start your tour of the Environs of Rome!