The 16th century Casino dell' Aurora is all that survives of Villa Boncompagni-Ludovisi, which was demolished in the 1880s to make way for housing.
Villa Ludovisi, with its extensive and enchanting gardens, stood on the site of the ancient Horti Sallustiani (Gardens of Sallust). Much admired by a host of writers, including Goethe, Stendhal and Henry James, Villa Ludovisi occupied an area of over 30 hectares (65 acres), from Porta Pinciana to Porta Salaria.
The Casino dell' Aurora takes its name from the Sala dell' Aurora, the ceiling of which was painted in 1621 by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri (1591-1666), better known as il Guercino. He was assisted byAgostino Tassi (1580-1644), who painted the architectural details.
The ceiling depicts Aurora, goddess of the dawn, riding through the brightening sky in a horse-drawn chariot.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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