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Romance of Roman Villas (The Renaissance)   By: (1850-1922)

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In "Romance of Roman Villas", Elizabeth W. Champney takes readers on a captivating journey through the stunning period of the Renaissance. With her rich and descriptive prose, Champney skillfully paints a vivid portrait of the opulent villas that played a pivotal role in the awakening of the Italian Renaissance.

From the very first page, the author's passion for the subject matter shines brightly, evoking an infectious sense of curiosity in readers. Through meticulous research and expert storytelling, Champney presents a comprehensive overview of the architectural marvels that graced the Roman countryside during this transformative period in history.

The book ingeniously weaves together narratives of both art and history, making it a compelling read for enthusiasts of both disciplines. Champney delves deep into the cultural context that birthed these magnificent villas, shedding light on the political, social, and economic factors that influenced their construction and purpose. Her ability to seamlessly blend facts with anecdotal tales of famous historical figures truly brings the past to life.

One of the greatest strengths of "Romance of Roman Villas" lies in its visually stunning descriptions. Champney's words transport readers to a time when grandeur and elegance reigned supreme. Whether describing the intricate frescoes adorning the walls or the immaculately kept gardens that surrounded these villas, the author's attention to detail is simply captivating.

Additionally, Champney's research is exemplary. Throughout the pages, she expertly analyzes surviving architectural remnants, historical accounts, and artistic masterpieces, providing readers with a well-rounded understanding of the villas' construction and significance. While the amount of information presented might overwhelm some readers, the author's engaging writing style makes the journey both accessible and enjoyable.

Furthermore, Champney's inclusion of illustrations and photographs heightens the immersive nature of the book. These visual aids help readers visualize the magnificence of the villas and better understand the Renaissance aesthetic. It is evident that the author has meticulously selected these depictions to enhance her narrative and ensure a complete and immersive experience for readers.

However, there are moments when the book feels a little dense, particularly during the more technical explanations of architectural methods and influences. While these sections might cater more to architectural enthusiasts, they could potentially deter those seeking a more casual read. Nevertheless, Champney wisely balances these detailed descriptions with colorful anecdotes and personal stories to maintain a well-rounded reading experience.

Ultimately, "Romance of Roman Villas" is a delightful exploration of one of the most captivating periods of art and architecture. Elizabeth W. Champney's passion, meticulous research, and evocative writing style breathe life into the history and beauty of these Renaissance villas. Whether one is an art enthusiast, history buff, or simply curious about the wonders of the past, this book promises an engaging and enlightening journey through time.

First Page:



[Illustration: Pope Julius II. Viewing the Newly found Statue of the Apollo Belvedere

From the painting by Carl Becker. Permission of the Berlin Photographic Co.]

(The Renaissance)



Author of "Romance of the Italian Villas," "Romance of the Feudal Châteaux," "Romance of the French Abbeys," Etc.


G. P. Putnam's Sons New York and London The Knickerbocker Press 1908


In came the cardinal, grave and coldly wise, His scarlet gown and robes of cobweb lace Trailed on the marble floor; with convex glass He bent o'er Guido's shoulder.


Still unrivalled, after the lapse of four centuries the villas of the great cardinals of the Renaissance retain their supremacy over their Italian sisters, not, as once, by reason of their prodigal magnificence but in the appealing charm of their picturesque decay.

The centuries have bestowed a certain pathetic beauty, they have also taken away much, and the sympathy which these ruined pleasure palaces evoke whets our curiosity to know what they were like in their heyday of joyous revelling.

If we run down the list of the nobler villas of Rome we will find that, with few exceptions, they were built by princes of the purple, and that the names they bear are not Roman but those of the ruling families of other Italian cities... Continue reading book >>

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