Photograph: Marco Ravenna,  © Marco Ravenna


Name of Monument:

Villa Albergati

Also known as:

Palazzo Albergati

Location:

Zola Predosa, Bologna, Italy

Contact DetailsVilla Albergati
Via Masini, 46
40069 Zola Predosa,
Bologna
T : +39 051 750247
E : info@albergati.com
Palazzo Albergati SPA (Responsible Institution)

Date:

1660–1680

Artists:

Architect: Giovan Giacomo Monti (1620–1692); painters: Angelo Michele Colonna (1604–1687) and Giuseppe Alboresi (1632–1677); painter: Antonio Burrini (1656–1727); Marcantonio Chiarini (1652–1734); Vittorio Maria Bigari (1692–1776); Stefano Orlandi (1681–1760); Prospero (1710–1784) and Gaetano Pesci (?)

Denomination / Type of monument:

Domestic architecture (villa)

Patron(s):

Marquis Girolamo Albergati Capacelli

History:

The patron, Marquis Girolamo Albergati Capacelli, was a representative of one of the most important and admired Bolognese Families.

Little is known about his life but it is known that he was successful in completing two great architectural enterprises: the long porticoes to the shrine of San Luca in Bologna and his villa in the country. This villa was known as “Regio Palazzo”, “royal Palace”, because of its splendour and grandeur. It has been called the most complex and ambitious enterprise of the time: it took almost 30 years to be completed.

During the eighteenth-century, the palace was a lively centre for cultural and social activities, hosting popes, kings, princes, musicians, men and women of letters, and even famous adventurers. The theatre within the villa was famous for the representations of plays written by the patron Marquis Francesco Albergati Capacelli. He was a theatre lover and friend of some famous playwrights of the time including Voltaire, Alfieri and Goldoni.

Description:

The vast building stands in the countryside. It is impressive for its remarkable size and the severe, massive aspect of the exterior which is quite unusual for a Villa. We know that the original plan for the exterior decoration with stairs, statues and freezes was not realised. Its exceptional extension in height, 4 floors plus the clock tower, is exceptional.
In the middle of the building stands the magnificent white triple volume ballroom, with stucco decoration.
The complex decorative cycle of painted ceilings includes two main halls and several rooms, each of them shows different original illusionist architectural paintings (quadratura). Allegories and episodes from mythology are the subjects of the painted ceilings. This is a common theme in spaces intended to host feasts and leisure events, such as this villa.
The most important artists working in Bologna at the time were employed in this vast enterprise: Angelo Michele Colonna and Giacomo Alboresi, Giovanni Antonio Burrini and Marcantonio Chiarini, Vittorio Maria Bigari and Stefano Orlandi.
The decorations date from 1665 to the second half of the eighteenth-century.
On the ground floor one can admire an original example of the so-called “boschereccia” decoration. This is a room painted entirely with trees and vineyards, to simulate a landscape surrounding the visitor. It was originally used as a dining room. It was painted around 1776-1778 by Prospero and Gaetano Pesci.

View Short Description

The monumental and sumptuous villa of the noble Albergati family stands in the fertile countryside around Bologna and can be considered one of the most significant examples of Italian seventeenth-century residential architecture.
The uniqueness of this building is due to the magnificent ballroom occupying the centre of it: a sort of translation in architectural language and white stuccoes of the illusory painted perspectives known as “quadratura” that can be admired on the ceilings of the other rooms.

How Monument was dated:

Historical documents.

Special features

Ballroom

Villa Albergati

1660–1670

Giovan Giacomo Monti (1620–1692)

This great hall is considered one of the most peculiar interiors in Italian Baroque architecture. It is a triple volume hall with several balustrades, culminating with the lantern on the top (33 m. height and about 800 square feet surface). There is no painted decoration, only white stucco mouldings that emphasise the extreme lightness of the architecture.

Trophy

Ballroom, Villa Albergati

1660–1670

Giovan Giacomo Monti (1620–1692)

Four magnificent stucco trophies decorate the corners of the ballroom ceiling. They represent a unicorn head surrounded with arms and flags, creating an elegant composition.

Allegory of Time

Ceiling frescoes in Villa Albergati

1665–1668

Angelo Michele Colonna (1604–1687) and Giuseppe Alboresi (1632–1677)

A superb example of “quadratura” by the celebrated Angelo Michele Colonna, a specialist in painted architectures. Giuseppe Alboresi painted the figures inside the large oval at the centre of the ceiling. The scene represents the Allegory of Time driving away Venus and the Graces.

The fall of Phaeton

Ceiling frescoes in Villa Albergati

1681–1683

Antonio Burrini (1656–1727)

Burrini is considered the most “baroque” Bolognese painter for his dynamic and fluid painting style. He represents the myth of Phaeton, who is falling down from the sky with his chariot and horses in a sort of vortex.

Selected bibliography:

Le Magnifiche stanze. Paesaggio, architettura, decorazione e vita nella villa palazzo degli Albergati a Zola, Bergamo, 1995.

Citation of this web page:

Marta Forlai "Villa Albergati" in "Discover Baroque Art", Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.discoverbaroqueart.org/database_item.php?id=monument;BAR;it;Mon12;11;en

Prepared by: Marta ForlaiMarta Forlai

SURNAME: Forlai
NAME: Marta

AFFILIATION Fondazione Federico Zeri, University of Bologna

TITLE associate project manager (?)

CV
Graduated and specialized in History of Art at the University of Bologna. She is a specialist in the history of Bolognese architecture. She worked for the Musei Civici d’Arte Antica in Bologna. At present she is doing research, taking care of the photographic archive and organizing exhibitions for the Fondazione Federico Zeri at the University of Bologna.


Translation by: Marta ForlaiMarta Forlai

SURNAME: Forlai
NAME: Marta

AFFILIATION Fondazione Federico Zeri, University of Bologna

TITLE associate project manager (?)

CV
Graduated and specialized in History of Art at the University of Bologna. She is a specialist in the history of Bolognese architecture. She worked for the Musei Civici d’Arte Antica in Bologna. At present she is doing research, taking care of the photographic archive and organizing exhibitions for the Fondazione Federico Zeri at the University of Bologna.


Translation copyedited by: Lisa Kelman

MWNF Working Number: IT2 12

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