When in Rome, Skip the Sistine Chapel

By Jessica Stewart - 2014-01-21T15:35:39Z

Photograph courtesy Villa Farnesia

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Villa Farnesia

You don't have to go to the Raphael Rooms at the Vatican to see a masterpiece by the artist. Trastevere's Villa Farnesina is home to former banker to the Renaissance pope's Agostino Chigi, and he employed the best artists of the day to decorate his suburban home. The space is rarely crowded, which gives great viewing access to the loggia, where Chigi held elaborate banquets. Painted by Raphael, it details the myth of Cupid and Psyche, culminating with a wonderful tableau of gods and goddesses at their wedding banquet. Nature lovers might be interested in the painted foliage, created by an expert in Raphael's workshop, which includes the first painted depiction of maize after being recently discovered in the New World.

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