La villa Montalto et l'idéal rustique de Sixte Quint
The villa Montalto and the pastoral ideal of Sixtus V
Series/Report no.Revue de L'Art;n° 173
Constructed, beginning in 1576 by the architect Domenico Fontana, the Villa Montalto, named after the Cardinal Felice Peretti Montalto, was for a long rime described as having surpassed the splendor of all the villas in Rome. Located to the north of the city in an arid and practically deserted zone, between vineyards, Antique ruins and early Christian churches, the villa occupies a privileged place within the history of urban landscape. Elected pope in 1585, under the name of Sixtus V, Felice made his villa the largest that had ever existed inside of the walls, establishing the upper city of the Monti, the Città Felice, as a new economic and religious center, crystallizing his ambitions for a major territorial reform. By simultaneously focusing on the gardens, the painted decorations, the literature, and the architecture of the villa, but also on its economic and social role, this article proposes an original interpretation of the Villa Montalto, demonstrating the fundamental importance of the imagined landscape in the Rome of Sixtus V. Through the ideal space of his villa, the Pope sought to propose a new model of economic and social development necessary to the reform of the then poor and insalubrious Rome. The ultimate goal was none other than the reestablishment of a Christian Eden on Earth. Sixtus V thus placed himself within the lineage which, since Adam, had attempted through the virtue of agricultural labor, to atone for the original sin.
RIBOUILLAULT, Denis (2011). « La villa Montalto et l'idéal rustique de Sixte Quint », Revue de L'Art, n° 173, p. 33-42.