Villa Giulia National Museum, Rome

"Villa Giulia National Museum, Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 28th April 2011

Villa Giulia National Museum, Rome

It was realized for pope Julius III in 1551-55, by enlargement of his family property extending on the greatest part of the hills and plains between Porta del Pololo and Ponte Milvio. It was composed of three centers, the oldest one was named "old vine-yard", the second was the "vine-yard of the port" (as it stood on the riverbank, where a specially built port gave the possibility for the pope to arrive here from Vatican by water way), not existing anymore; the third center comprehended the principal construction and was named 'Vine-yard of pope Julius", erected by Vignola and B.Ammanati, with participation of Michelangelo and G.Vasari.

The splendor of the villa didn't last for a long time, with the death of Julius III, his inheritor Paul IV gave it in the property of the Holy See. So, the degrade and division begun.

He created the Via Giulia as a kind of urban renewal project with a vision of a wide, straight alley to house all the government offices of the Vatican. The project was only partly realized, but the street remains, running from the Ponte Sisto, under an arch by Michelangelo, past some of the most elite shops in Rome up to the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. The street was designed by the same architect who was in charge of the new Basilica of Saint Peter being built at the same time across the Tiber. The Via Giulia is quite 'modern' in that it runs in a straight line, something of a relief for anyone who has gotten lost in the cobblestone maze that comprises the Centro Storico. Please note that the word 'modern' is relative and so can be applied to something dating back to Renaissance in Rome.

The Old vine-yard was given by Pius IV to his nephews Borromeo as their residence. The principal palace was used for accommodation of foreign kings and queens and great personalities, waiting for their solemn entrance to Rome from Porta del Popolo. The villa's maximum state of abandon took place in the 19th century, when it was turned into a store and a military hospital.

In 1889 it became a seat of just established "Museo d'arte etrusca e di antichita' preromane", now the National Museum of Villa Giulia/The National Etruscan Museum (Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia), one of the most important in Rome. Its vast Barberini, Castellani, Pesciotti, and other Collections include Etruscan documents and monuments found in Latium, Umbria and Etruria.

Via Giulia offers a walk unusual in Rome for several reasons. It is wide enough that you are not dodging cars and scooters or inhaling their fumes; arrow straight, so you will not get lost; intimate and quiet enough to appreciate what you are seeing.

Via Giulia starts with an ivy-covered arch, designed by Michelangelo; it was part of another unrealized plan, this one to connect the Palazzo Farnese (now the French Embassy) with the Villa Farnese, on the other side of the Tiber. The connection was never made, so the arch instead functions as a sort of majestic entryway.

Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia (National Museum of Villa Giulia/The National Etruscan Museum)
Piazzale di Villa Giulia, 9,
00196 Rome, Lazio, Italy
Shown By "Map B Zone" As "1"
Transit: Flaminio (725 m S), Metro A
Tel: 06 3226571
Hours: 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM
Admission: Adult €4; Senior (66+) Free; Child (0-17) Free
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