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Page revised in December 2010.
Casino del Giardino Farnese sul Monte Gianicolo (Book 10) (Day 6) (Rione Trastevere)
In this page:
The plate by Giuseppe Vasi
Casa di Michelangelo
Monumento ad Anita Garibaldi
Faro del Gianicolo
Chiesa del Sacro Cuore di Ges¨
The Plate (No. 198 - ii)
This is the fourth etching Giuseppe Vasi dedicated to the Farnese properties in Rome after Palazzo Farnese, La Farnesina and Orti Farnesiani; probably this attention to the Farnese was due to the fact that he was allowed to live and work in Palazzo Farnese by the King of Naples who had inherited all their properties; the new owners however were not much interested in the small casino shown in this plate and in 1775 they sold it to the Giraud.
The view is taken from the green dot in the small 1748 map here below which shows: 1) Casino del Giardino Farnese; 2) Casino Riario; 3) Villa Lanti.
The casino was located very near Porta S. Pancrazio and because of its commanding view in all directions, including that beyond the walls towards Villa Corsini and Villa Doria Pamphilj, it was selected by Giuseppe Garibaldi as his headquarters during the 1849 Defence of Rome; at that time the casino was known as Villa Savorelli; French artillery reduced the casino to a pile of rubble; in 1856 it was reconstructed with some minor changes.
The casino was built by Cardinal Girolamo Farnese ca 1650; he was a member of the Castro branch of the family; the architect of the casino is not known; the property included an older building which belonged to Pope Paul III Farnese. In 1895 the casino was bought by Clara Jessup Heyland from Philadelphia who changed the name of the villa into Villa Aurelia and who bequeathed it to the American Academy of Rome (external link), to which it still belongs.
Casa di Michelangelo
The large avenue which today links Porta S. Pancrazio with Piazzale del Gianicolo and the Monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi is embellished by the fašade of a Renaissance house (it is just a fašade which hides a water reservoir); it once belonged to the house near S. Maria in Aracoeli where Michelangelo lived for a few years (that where he spent thirty years and died was located at Macel de' Corvi in the same area); the great artist preferred to live far apart from the papal court to have greater privacy.
The house, along with the surrounding area, was pulled down towards the end of the XIXth century to make room for Monumento a Re Vittorio Emanuele and the fašade was rebuilt on the street (Via delle Tre Pile) leading to Palazzi del Campidoglio; in 1941 the need to enlarge this street led to a second move of the fašade to its current location.
In a view of Book 5 Vasi showed three casinos which enjoyed a commanding view over Rome: in addition to Casino Farnese he showed Casino Riario and Villa Lanti; Casino Riario was part of Giardino Corsini and it was the site chosen by Vasi for drawing his 1765 Grand View of Rome; it was pulled down at the end of the XIXth century to make room for Piazzale del Gianicolo.
Passeggiata del Gianicolo is an avenue which was opened in 1880-84 on the top of the hill from Acqua Paola to S. Onofrio. In the redesign of the area Villa Lanti lost its gardens, but the casino is still there with its elegant loggia.
The casino was built in 1519-31 by Baldassare Turini, a member of the papal court who was a close adviser to Popes Leo X and Clement VII who both belonged to the Medici family; according to Vasari the building was designed by Giulio Romano who painted some of its halls; similar to Villa Madama (and many Medici villas in Tuscany), the casino was built on high ground so that it could enjoy a nice view (you may wish to see a 2008 Grand View of Rome from Villa Lanti).
In 1551 the villa was acquired by the Lanti (or Lante) who sold it in 1817; after various passages of property it was acquired by Finland; today it houses the Finnish Embassy to the Holy See.
Monumento ad Anita Garibaldi
A small, almost hidden, square along Passeggiata del Gianicolo houses the Monument to Ana (Anita) Maria Ribeiro da Silva, the Brazilian first wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi; after the fall of Rome she joined her husband who was attempting to reach Venice; she died of fever in Comacchio; the following is an excerpt from G. M. Trevelyan's Garibaldi's Defence of Rome:
"With infinite difficulty and danger they (Garibaldi and his friend Bonnet) proceeded to carry the agonising woman across two miles to Cavallina farm, where they arrived well after midday; (..) here Anita was laid on a bed and given such nourishment as she could take. (..) Garibaldi took Anita in a cart towards the Zanetto farm on the borders of the great lagoon, where, at Bonnet's request, every comfort was being prepared. (..) Anita growing hourly worse, and no longer well able to understand what was going on around her, was in agony at the idea of being separated from Garibaldi. Bonnet - he said at last - you cannot imagine all that this woman has done for me, nor how tenderly she loves me. I owe her an immense debt of gratitude and love. Let her come with me.(..) Anita in her last hours still held by the not dogmatic religion of her husband; during her long death agony throughout the first four days of August, there were no sign of craving on her part for those miraculous consolations which she had rejected in her days of health and strength. Dying on the breast of Garibaldi. she needed no priest. (..) The last words that Garibaldi had heard Anita say to him concerned the children whom she left to his care (she was carrying their fifth child when she died). Then for long hours her speech had failed. All day she was losing her hold on life, and Garibaldi could but clasp her closer in his arms, as their boat glided over the smooth surface of the lagoon. No longer conscious of anything save that he was there, the dying woman may have fancied that they were escaping once more over the well-known waters of another lagoon now all too far away; or that they were riding together to war in the first glory of youth and love, over rolling, infinite spaces."
Faro del Gianicolo
In the second half of the XIXth century millions of Italians migrated in search of a better life; Argentina was one of the countries which received a large number of Italian migrants; they formed a community which maintained strong ties with Italy; in 1911 in conjunction with the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary of Italian Unity, that community commissioned Manfredo Manfredi a lighthouse which alternates green, white and red lights, the colours of the Italian flag; the imposing monument is very much in the style of Monumento a Re Vittorio Emanuele II, also owing to the whiteness of the stone with which it was decorated.
Sacro Cuore di Ges¨
By looking down from Villa Lanti towards the river one can see the small bell tower which belongs to the church of Sacro Cuore di Ges¨ which is inside a nunnery founded in 1837 by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart (more on her by clicking here - external link). The gate of the nunnery shows the symbols of the order.
Excerpts from Giuseppe Vasi 1761 Itinerary related to this page:
Next plate in Book 10: Casino e Villa Corsini fuori di Porta S. Pancrazio
You have completed Day 6 itinerary and your tour of Rione Trastevere! Move to Day 7 or to Rione Borgo.