The elegant Renaissance villa and the vast farmland around it were donated to the Scuola Normale in 1968 by Count Lorenzo Passerini of Cortona. He was a descendent of Cardinal Silvio Passerini (1469-1529), Bishop of Cortona, who had the stately building constructed as evidence of the power obtained by his own noble family, which had remained loyal to the Medici dynasty. Passerini, protected when he was young by Lorenzo il Magnifico, and then by Giovanni, future Pope Leone X, was governor of Florence, ambassador of Perugia and tutor regent of the nephews of Clement VII. The construction of the villa was commissioned at the beginning of the 16 th century; the artist chosen was the architect and painter Giovanni Battista Caporali, pupil of Perugino. The decision to locate the villa outside the town, near a spring called Cumula, on a hillside of olive and cypress trees, lead to the choice of a fortified structure with a 42-meter-high tower and an impressive battlement wall from which the Trasimeno Lake can be seen. The interior is composed of a spacious, arcaded courtyard with a central well. Opposite the courtyard from the entrance there is the Chapel, with Luca Signorelli's "Baptism of Christ", in unfortunately bad condition. Vasari wrote of this painting that Signorelli "was not able to finish it because he died while he was working on it". On the ground floor there is also the "Sala del Papacello", named for the local painter who frescoed it, Tommaso Bernabei, called the Papacello and pupil of Giulio Romano. His choice of colors was sometimes uneven, but his narrative technique was very lively: he painted a cycle of Roman Histories, from the Battle of the Trasimeno to the one between Orazi and Curiazi, to the heroic deaths of Lucrezia and Virginia. On the other side of the building there is the Cardinal's hall, frescoed in 1819, from which one can reach the Renaissance gardens with a central pond and Etruscan sarcophagi. On the floor above, besides the rooms for the student guests, the old laundry drying room has been converted into a large hall for relaxation and recreation.
via Case sparse n. 193 - 52044, Cortona (AR).
Caleri Albino + 39 3687386544
Caleri Alessio + 39 3387043596
Andreani Enzo + 39 335.8196313
Sorvillo Francesco + 39 338.8371243
Pesci Giorgio + 39 360.957648
Terontola-Cortona (11 Km from town; taxi are available)
Camucia-Cortona (5 Km from town; taxi can only be booked by phone.)
Pisa or Florence airport.
By car: see map below
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