Between 1547 and 1564 Rodolfo Pio da Carpi's vigna on the Quirinal Hill was rated as one of the grandest ancient sculpture gardens in Rome. While ample material, both written and visual, is available regarding Pio's collection of antiquities, comparatively little has been known about the earlier history or the layout of the Vigna Carpi as a site. Hitherto unpublished documents from the period of Cardinal Giulio della Rovere's ownership, 1565-1578, contribute many details that advance our scanty and haphazard knowledge of the estate, and at the same time reveal the social and political context of which the Vigna Carpi was a part. Most importantly, the documents provide information about the appearance of the villa and the disposition of the rooms, which allows us to correct some aspects of Hülsen's remarkably intuited reconstruction of 1917. A careful examination of plans, drawn up after the Sforza had sold the property to the Barberini in the mid 1620s, leads to the conclusion that more of the old Carpi-della Rovere villa survived than was previously thought in the first design projects for the Palazzo Barberini.
- Copyright 1986 The Society of Architectural Historians