Kathleen Lewis

Exploring Villa Farnesina

Step into the Renaissance era at Villa Farnesina in Trastevere, renowned for its stunning frescoes and artistic heritage.

Attraction Trastevere
Renaissance Villa Farnesina in Trastevere, Rome


Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance villa in Rome, famous for its frescoes by Raphael and other artists. It was built in the early 16th century by the banker Agostino Chigi, who wanted to create a luxurious residence for his entertainment and art collection. The villa is now a museum that showcases the artistic and cultural heritage of the period, as well as the lifestyle of the wealthy patrons who commissioned the works. In this article, you will learn more about the history, architecture, and paintings of Villa Farnesina, and how to plan your visit to this remarkable attraction.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

Villa Farnesina is not a very large or crowded attraction, but it is still worth spending at least an hour or two to admire the details and beauty of the frescoes. The villa is located in the Trastevere district, which is a bit away from the main tourist attractions of Rome, so you will need to factor in some travel time to get there. The villa is also closed on Sundays and public holidays, so make sure to check the opening hours before you go. If you are interested in learning more about the villa and its artworks, you can join a guided tour or rent an audio guide for a small fee.

Tips for your visit of Villa Farnesina

  • The Loggia of Galatea: This is the most famous room of the villa, where you can see Raphael's masterpiece, The Triumph of Galatea, depicting the nymph Galatea surrounded by sea creatures and cupids. The ceiling also features a stunning astrological fresco by Baldassare Peruzzi, who designed the villa.
  • The Loggia of Cupid and Psyche: This is another highlight of the villa, where you can see Raphael's frescoes illustrating the mythological story of Cupid and Psyche. The paintings are full of symbolism and allegory, and show the influence of classical art and literature on Raphael.

Practical Information

Opening Hours: Villa Farnesina is open from Monday to Saturday, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. The last admission is at 1:30 pm.

How to Get There: You can reach Villa Farnesina by public transport, either by bus (lines 23, 125, 280) or by tram (line 8). The nearest stop is Lungotevere della Farnesina. You can also walk from Piazza Navona or Campo de' Fiori, which takes about 20 minutes.

Price: The admission fee for Villa Farnesina is 10 euros for adults, 7 euros for students and seniors, and free for children under 10 years old. You can also buy a combined ticket with Palazzo Corsini for 12 euros.

Crowds: Villa Farnesina is not a very popular attraction among tourists, so you can expect a relatively quiet and peaceful visit. However, it may get busier during peak seasons or special events.

Weather Considerations: Villa Farnesina is mostly indoors, so you can visit it in any weather condition. However, some rooms may be closed for restoration or maintenance, so check the official website for updates.

Photography: You are allowed to take photos inside Villa Farnesina, but without flash or tripod. You can also share your photos on social media using the hashtag #villafarnesina.

Accessibility: Villa Farnesina is partially accessible for people with disabilities. There is a ramp at the entrance and an elevator to the first floor. However, some rooms are not accessible by wheelchair, such as the Loggia of Cupid and Psyche.

Facilities: Villa Farnesina has a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs, books, and reproductions of the frescoes. There is also a cafeteria where you can enjoy a snack or a drink. There are no restrooms inside the villa, but you can use the ones at Palazzo Corsini, which is next to the villa.

Tours: You can join a guided tour of Villa Farnesina for an extra fee of 5 euros per person. The tours are available in Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish, and last about an hour. You can also rent an audio guide for 4 euros per person.

Bringing Children: Villa Farnesina is a suitable attraction for children who are interested in art and history. There are some interactive activities and games for kids, such as coloring books and puzzles. You can also download a free app called Farnesina Family, which offers a fun and educational tour of the villa for families.

Bringing Pets: Pets are not allowed inside Villa Farnesina, except for guide dogs.

These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Villa Farnesina?

    Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance suburban villa in the Via della Lungara, in the district of Trastevere in Rome, central Italy. It was built between 1506 and 1510 for Agostino Chigi, the Pope's wealthy Sienese banker, and it is famous for its rich frescoes by Raphael and other High Renaissance artists.

  • How can I visit Villa Farnesina?

    Villa Farnesina is open from Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 1pm. The entrance fee is € 10 for adults, € 7 for students, and free for children under 10. You can also book a guided tour or an audio guide on the official website.

  • What are the highlights of Villa Farnesina?

    Villa Farnesina has many beautiful rooms decorated with frescoes, but some of the most remarkable are: the Loggia of Galatea, where Raphael painted the mythological scene of The Triumph of Galatea; the Loggia of Cupid and Psyche, where Raphael and his workshop depicted the love story of Cupid and Psyche; the Hall of Perspectives, where Peruzzi created a trompe-l'œil effect of a loggia overlooking Rome; and the Alexander Room, where Sodoma illustrated scenes from the life of Alexander the Great.

Must see

  • The Triumph of Galatea

    This fresco by Raphael is one of his few purely secular paintings, and it shows the near-naked nymph Galatea on a shell-shaped chariot amid frolicking attendants. The painting is inspired by a poem by Angelo Poliziano, and it captures the beauty and joy of classical mythology. The fresco also has a horoscope vault that displays the positions of the planets around the zodiac on the patron's birth date, 29 November 1466.

  • The Loggia of Cupid and Psyche

    This loggia is covered with frescoes by Raphael and his workshop that narrate the story of Cupid and Psyche, based on Apuleius' novel The Golden Ass. The frescoes depict various episodes of the lovers' trials and tribulations, such as Psyche's tasks imposed by Venus, Psyche's visit to the underworld, and their final reunion and apotheosis. The frescoes are rich in details, colors, and allegories, and they also include portraits of Chigi and his guests.

  • The Hall of Perspectives

    This hall is decorated with frescoes by Peruzzi that create an illusion of a loggia with marble columns and arches that open onto a panoramic view of Rome. The perspective is very accurate from a fixed point in the room, and it shows landmarks such as the Castel Sant'Angelo, the Vatican, and the Janiculum Hill. The frescoes also include scenes from ancient Roman history and mythology, such as Romulus and Remus, Aeneas and Anchises, and Hercules and Cacus.

  • The Alexander Room

    This room is painted with frescoes by Sodoma that illustrate scenes from the life of Alexander the Great, such as his marriage to Roxana, his conquest of Darius' family, his visit to Diogenes, his encounter with Thalestris, and his death. The frescoes are influenced by Leonardo da Vinci's style, and they also contain portraits of Chigi's friends and relatives as well as erotic motifs.

Additional tips or recommendations for visitors are: to book your tickets online in advance to avoid queues; to check the calendar of events for special exhibitions or concerts; to explore the garden with its fountains, statues, and plants; and to visit the nearby Palazzo Corsini, which houses an art gallery with works by Caravaggio, Rubens, Van Dyck, and others.

Lesser known stories and Interesting Facts

  • The wedding banquet of Agostino Chigi

    In 1519, Agostino Chigi married Francesca Ordeaschi, a courtesan who became his mistress and bore him several children. The wedding banquet was held in the Villa Farnesina, and it was a lavish and extravagant affair. According to the chronicler Paolo Giovio, the guests were served with dishes of gold and silver, which were thrown into the Tiber river after each course. The banquet also featured musical and theatrical performances, fireworks, and a mock naval battle on the river.

  • The secret passage of Cardinal Farnese

    In 1579, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese acquired the Villa Farnesina from the heirs of Agostino Chigi, and he gave it his name. He also owned the Palazzo Farnese on the other side of the river, and he wanted to connect the two buildings with a secret passage. He commissioned the architect Giacomo della Porta to build a tunnel under the Tiber, but the project was never completed due to technical difficulties and floods. The remains of the tunnel can still be seen today near the Ponte Sisto.

  • The legend of the nymph Farnesina

    According to a legend, the name Farnesina derives from a nymph who lived in the villa's garden. She was so beautiful that she attracted the attention of many men, but she rejected them all. One day, a young shepherd named Farnese fell in love with her and tried to woo her with his songs and flowers. The nymph was moved by his sincerity and agreed to marry him, but on their wedding day, she disappeared into the water of a fountain. Farnese was heartbroken and died of grief, and his name was given to the villa and the family that later owned it.

  • The graffiti of Goethe

    In 1786, the German poet and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited Rome and stayed in a nearby inn. He was fascinated by the Villa Farnesina and its frescoes, and he wrote about them in his Italian Journey. He also left his mark on one of the walls of the villa, where he carved his name and the date with a knife. The graffiti is still visible today in the Hall of Perspectives, next to a window on the right wall.

Historical Background

Villa Farnesina is a Renaissance villa located in the Trastevere district of Rome. It was built between 1506 and 1510 by the architect Baldassare Peruzzi for the banker Agostino Chigi, who wanted a lavish residence to host his parties and display his art collection. The villa is famous for its frescoes by Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giulio Romano, and other artists, depicting scenes from classical mythology and literature. The villa also has a beautiful garden overlooking the Tiber river, where Chigi planted exotic plants and animals from his travels.

The villa was acquired by the Farnese family in 1579, hence its name. It was later used as a residence by several cardinals and ambassadors, until it became the property of the Italian state in 1927. Today, it is open to the public as a museum and a cultural center, hosting exhibitions, concerts, and events.

Nearby Restaurants

  • Antica Pesa A historic restaurant that serves traditional Roman cuisine with a modern twist. Try the cacio e pepe, the carbonara, or the lamb chops.
  • La Gensola A cozy trattoria that specializes in seafood dishes. Enjoy the fried calamari, the spaghetti alle vongole, or the grilled octopus.
  • Spiritual A vegetarian and vegan restaurant that offers healthy and tasty options. Sample the quinoa salad, the veggie burger, or the chocolate cake.

Nearby Attractions

  • Santa Maria in Trastevere One of the oldest churches in Rome, dating back to the 4th century. Admire the stunning mosaics, the medieval paintings, and the Romanesque bell tower.
  • Ponte Sisto A pedestrian bridge that connects Trastevere with the historic center of Rome. Enjoy the views of the river and the cityscape, especially at sunset.
  • Gianicolo A hill that offers panoramic views of Rome and its monuments. Visit the statue of Garibaldi, the fountain of Acqua Paola, and the puppet theater.


Villa Farnesina is a must-see attraction for anyone who loves art, history, and nature. It is a perfect example of how the Renaissance culture flourished in Rome, thanks to the patronage of wealthy and influential families. It is also a place where you can experience the charm and beauty of Trastevere, one of the most authentic and lively neighborhoods in Rome.