Monday, October 3, 2011
The rich really knew (know) how to live....
This little temple ("tempietto") was never really a temple. It's a decoration in the style of a tholos, or ancient Greco-Roman round temple (usually dedicated to female divinities, if I remember correctly), for the garden behind the Villa Belgioioso....More......
Today, the villa is in downtown Milan, but it used to be on the outskirts of the urban area just inside the Spanish Walls.
The villa looked out over the new public park created by Piermarini at the end of the 18th century at the behest of the (then in charge of Milan) Austrian emperor.
In a whole lot o' land that had been confiscated from monasteries closed for corruption, or presumed corruption (the monasteries were rich, and their lands and money bags were tasty targets, corruption or no corruption).
It's something quite new! A countryside style villa *IN* town.
The countryside ambiance is preserved by the large English style park (meandering walks through seemingly spontaneously growing plants and flowing little rivers) behind the Neoclassical style villa built by Piermarini's pupil, Leopold Pollock in 1790 for...you guessed it!...a Belgioioso: Count Ludovico Barbiano di Belgioioso.
When the count died, the Cisalpine Republic (set up by Napoleon in Italy...after liberating it--temporarily--from the Austrians, but before turning Italy into a kingdom, after having crowned himself emperor...yeah, I know...it's a confusing period in Italy's history) acquired the villa in 1802 to give it to Napoleon, who lived there with his wife Josephine Beauharnais, then--when it was renamed the royal palace for reasons cited above--by Josephine's son, Eugene Beauharnais, viceroy of Italy. The villa passed to the Austrians--naturally--after their return to power, and so the general in charge of feisty Milan, Johann Joseph Franz Karl Radetzky (to whom is dedicated the famous Radetzky March) lived there from 1857-58, until the Italian bid for freedom finally made permanent headway.
It was a civic seat of government until just a few years ago, when it was beautifully and aptly transformed into a museum for 19th century art.
Watch out, though... the villa's garden still may be limited to parents with small children.
I took this snap on the 12th of April, 2006, at about 5:30 P.M.
If you're interested in the (horrifically complicated) needlepoint/cross-stitch diagram of this snap, see my other blog, Ars acupicturae stellae - Star's Needlepoint Art: http://arsacupicturaestellae.blogspot.com.