The South Façade

General view of the south façade of the villa (ISAL Photo Archive-BAMS Photo Rodella)
General view of the south façade of the villa (ISAL Photo Archive-BAMS Photo Rodella)

The south façade features a monumental neoclassical inspiration, animated by an avant-corsp of three sections designed by Pelagio Palagi. The short stairway above the three, large, arched openings on the ground floor is an element of mediation between the interiors of the Villa and the garden, and is flanked by two large statues by Antonio Galli and Luigi Marchesi. These depict friendship and hospitality, and in addition to their allegorical and decorative value, they also have a clear political and didactic function.

The lower part of the central avant-corp of the front of the Villa is made up of arches on top of which four smooth Tuscan columns with finely carved Corinthian capitals are laid. These are topped by a tall entablature and a triangular tympanum decorated with allegorical figures in relief. On the Tympanum Pelagio Palagi modelled his composition of the sculptures on the “Triumph of Cybele”, goddess of nature and wild animals, according to the usual iconography: a female figure seated on a throne flanked by two lions; the goddess holds a tambourine and wears a turreted crown. The lions represent the mythological characters, Melanion/Hippomenes and Atalanta, transformed by Zeus and condemned to pull the chariot of the goddess as punishment for desecrating the Temple of Cybele. Other half-lying characters flank the goddess: Dionysus, Ceres, Attis and the nymph, Sangaride.
The entire façade has a strong component of horizontality emphasized by bands that separate the three floors. The lower floor, painted in cream-colored plaster, is crossed by a series of rectangular windows topped by a horizontal border and framed by two semi-circle arches in the lateral avant-corps. The off-white upper floor is characterized by rectangular windows with triangular tympanums, which become lighter in the third floor where they are surrounded by a simple frame. The lateral avant-corps vary the motif of the smooth Tuscan columns and are marked by pilasters with Corinthian capitals. A denticular frame supports the surrounding parapet: from the upper cornice, as in the north façade, some statues are staring into the garden.
The entire composition is typically neoclassic in style, characterized by a balanced simplicity that does not stifle a monumental composition obtained by the use of giant statues.