A country retreat, a place of leisure, or an expression of wealth: an international perspective gives a snapshot of some of the many interpretations of the villa that have been built over the centuries, around the world.
The Roman villas of antiquity combined a high level of comfort with opportunities to attend to the practicalities of agriculture.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Renaissance architects such as Sangallo, Raphael, Peruzzi and Falconetto revived the villa across Italy. Palladio drew on their practice, as well as Roman architecture in the development of his own style.
In the 1550s he built the Villa Foscari, one of numerous villas to be commissioned in Italy at this time. Further south, Vignola was soon to create the palatial Villa Farnese outside Rome.
Palladio’s publication of I Quattro Libri dell’Architettura meant that his ideas were available to architects beyond Italy. These were to be especially influential in Britain, as exemplified in Nuthall Temple.
The idea of the villa spread yet further: nineteenth-century European examples include the Villa Bleichröder near Berlin.
In the twentieth century the villa continued to be an influential and popular building type. Two fascinating examples are Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye in France and the Getty Villa in the USA.