Villa Madama

Plan of the Villa Madama

Plan of the Villa Madama

X/18, Andrea Palladio (c.1541)
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings Collection


This drawing shows a plan of the Villa Madama as it was when Palladio visited the site on one of his trips to Rome. It is likely that Palladio drew it when travelling with Gian Giorgio Trissino, his tutor and mentor, in 1541. It is the only drawing by Palladio in the RIBA collection to show a plan of a contemporary building.

The drawing on this sheet is very close to the original building as Palladio would have seen it. The only change is that he has made the loggia symmetrical, as in Serlio's published plan of 1540. The actual building has one less semi-circular niche in the portico on the side close to the hill.

The fact that Palladio chose to study this building is quite significant. It influenced his designs for Il Redentore in Venice and San Petronio in Bologna.

The villa was undoubtedly very important to aspiring architects even in its own time as a great example of a Roman High Renaissance villa. It showed the uses that could be made of Roman architectural devices, and its success demonstrated the popularity of the Antique Revival style.