The Bosco Parrasio aka the Teatro degli Arcadi lies more or less halfway the Via Garibaldi on the slopes of the Janiculum Hill in Rome. Since 1725 it is the seat of the Accademia dell’Arcadia, an organization founded when a number of Roman artists and intellectuals decided to start a counter movement against the then popular baroque movement in art, which according to the Arcadians was devoid of good taste. The Arcadians’ aim was to return to the more sober, pastoral style of ancient Greek and Roman art.
Bosco Parrasio Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via di Porta San Pancrasio, 32. Address and opening hours: The villa and the park are both private property and cannot be visited.
History and description
The group had obtained possession of the terrain through a donation to the Accademia dell’Arcadia by the Portuguese king Giovanni V in 1724. The poets that were part of the group were all members of the circle of Queen Cristina of Sweden who had died in 1689. One year after the Queen’s death the Accademia was founded and the 14 original members elected Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni to be their leader.
The seat of a pastoral Accademia would necessarily have to be a forest and the Accademia changed residence a couple of times before being gifted the Teatro degli Arcadi. The forest of San Pietro in Montorio, the Villa of Count Mattei di Paganica and the Rialti Garden all served as the seat of the Accademia at one point or another. The name Parrasio was chosen for Parrasia, an area in Arcadia in ancient Greece. The terrain – originally belonging to the Livi family – was redesigned by Antonio Canevari, himself a member of the Accademia.
Canevari and Nicola Salvi designed the landsape in such a way as to create three levels, with steps on the sides. On the upper level the members of the group could read each other their poetry. The first level has a fountain.
The Serbatoio was consturcted by Clemente Orlandi in 1760 and served as the Accademia‘s archives and secretariat. It has a semi-circular facade with the laws of the Accademia, as laid down by Crescimbeni, inscribed on its side walls.
Initially the Arcadi were successful and many artists wanted to participate, but by the end of the 18th century fashions had changed, and the Accademia and the woods were abandoned and left to decay. After the restoration of the Serbatoio in 1838 it was reopened.
At the moment the Bosco Parrasio is still property of the Accademia. It is however rented out to the politician and former president of the Italian soccer union, Franco Carrara.
In order to obtain permission for a visit it is necessary to write to the Custode Generale dell’Accademia.