Rome’s Villa Farnesina was originally built in the early 16th century for a wealthy Renaissance banker as his summer retreat. The villa and gardens are in the Trastevere district, which used to be outside the city center, and are now open to the public.
The wealthy banker for whom the villa was built had the good sense to hire some of the era’s best artists to decorate the interior, so it’s a stop well-suited to art lovers. Today, these pieces of art are one of the top reasons to visit. The best-known artist represented is Raphael, who painted lovely frescoes on the ground floor.
All of the Villa Farnesina’s main rooms are open to the public, including the ground floor loggia where you can see the famous Raphael fresco called “The Triumph of Galatea.” Other frescoes by artists such as Baldassarre Peruzzi (who designed the villa) and Sebastiano del Piombo are on upper floors of the villa.
There are guided tours in English at Villa Farnesina given each Saturday at 10am, and English audio guides are available at any time for €2. Some Trastevere tours include the Villa Farnesina, though many only reference it from the outside.
Hang onto your Vatican Museums ticket - if you visit the Villa Farnesina within seven days of your Vatican Museums visit, your Villa Farnesina entry is reduced by €1.