Monday, March 04, 2013

Frescoes and Papal Conclaves

Much of the world will be following the upcoming Papal conclave including those of us who are not Catholic. Two aspects of the conclave especially intrigue me: the white smoke signaling the election of a new pope and the conclave's location in the Sistine Chapel. I have toured the Sistine Chapel on three separate occasions, and each visit was never long enough to soak in the Chapel's beauty. Although the term "awe-inspiring" is used with too much frequency today, I do believe that Michelangelo's frescoes are indeed just that. I can only imagine what it must be like to meet beneath such a masterpiece.

So, in honor of the Sistine Chapel, the Papal conclave, and all of the other activity swirling around the Vatican at the moment, I am posting some photos of Italian houses (and one Spanish house) that also boast breathtaking frescoes. For someone who lives in a late 1960's high-rise, I can only assume that it must be pretty glorious to cast one's eyes on these frescoes everyday.  I even managed to find the fresco featured above, which was conceived by designer Renzo Mongiardino.  Considering that it depicts a bishop, it seemed the appropriate photo to lead off this post.

The library in Villa Burlamacchi Rossi in Gattaiola.

The library in a home in Palma de Mallorca. (Yes, technically this home is located in Spain rather than Italy, but I do love that frescoed ceiling.)

In an old Venetian palazzo, a bedroom was once a reception room.

A room with 18th century decorations in Villa Malaspina near Carrara.

Restored frescoes from the 17th century grace the walls of this Renzo Mongiardino decorated space.

The two photos above were taken at a villa that overlooks Genoa. The villa was built at the end of the 16th century.

Photos #1 and #6 from Roomscapes: The Decorative Architecture of Renzo Mongiardino; #2-#5 from The Anti-Minimalist House (Archives of Decorative Arts); #7 and #8 from Living Well.


  1. Great post! I recently walked into an apartment in NYC's Chelsea. An L-shaped studio with 8 foot ceilings, the walls were painted with an illusionist garden scene, the furnishings "held in place" from the "gardens and countryside beyond" by the encircling painted balustrade and painted columns, which made the room area seem like a commodious loggia overlooking an endless landscape. No matter how long you looked, the illusion of space never disappeared. Frescoes can be brilliant.

  2. How I adore frescoes. Have a client that painted them on her tennis court walls!(She is italian) Great Photos.

  3. The frescoes are gorgeous. The lamp in the 4th photo is pretty great, also. Thanks for a trip back to when art ruled the world.

  4. Just Verte Style10:41 AM

    Once again, a delicious post! If one doesn't own a palazzo with the real thing, a wallpaper version might do. But then you wouldn't have the rest of the room. Sigh...

    Jennifer, you must possess the most beautiful collection of old books! I look forward to each and every post.