A collection of ceilings from old Italian villas. In 2007, I joined the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art for a two-week adventure exploring the historical villas and gardens of the northern Italian Lake District. Instead of grouping my collection by each individual villa, I thought it would be more interesting to present my photos taken on this trip by ceiling, wall, and floor treatments. This first post is all about fancy ceilings.
Should you come upon an empty sarcophagus, consider placing it in your grand garden and planting it with seasonal color. This photo was taken September 2007 in the gardens of Villa Carlotta on Lake Como. I think. I’m not sure, but I am pretty sure. If the date and time on my digital camera can be relied upon, then this was taken in the gardens of Villa Carlotta.
The last post linked you to Wikipedia’s page on the Visconti crest. Since that post was strictly about fig ivy, I didn’t want to include the above photo. So I’m showing it to you now. In it, you can see how the Visconti crest is interpreted on Villa Balbianello’s balustrade. It seems to me that the artists, rendering the crest in both locations, had problems creating the baby, and both figures ended up resembling a “man” child. Which is probably a good thing.
I joined The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America in September of 2007 on a two week tour of the Northern Italian Lakes, where we visited numerous villas and gardens. I could not pass up this experience knowing that a lot of these places are not usually open to tourists and that seeing all of them as an individual tourist would be next to impossible. This was the chance of a lifetime. The lakes we visited were first Lake Maggiore, then Lake Orta, third was Lake Como, fourth was Lake Lugano, and the last stop was Lake Garda.
I’m not posting this for its view and history. I want you to notice those huge snaking coils of fig ivy all of which belong to one single plant. Just one. I don’t know how many years it took to train it to its current shape. Speaking of snakes, the Visconti family owned this villa at one time, and their emblem/crest, which is carved onto the stone balustrades, shows a huge snake devouring a child. How they came up with that design is a mystery to me. Perhaps the Viscontis are responsible for training the fig ivy into its current serpent shape. But probably not.