Fig. 5 - Plan of the Accademia with its main rooms (elaboration from Winnefeld 1895)
The Accademia

The building of the Accademia is at the center of the Accademia Esplanade and consists of a large porch surrounding an inner garden (a ‘secret garden’) along which were arranged several other rooms. About 40% of it is still standing, the rest has collapsed; the plan of the missing parts was reconstructed by Herman Winnefeld1, who copied the fundamental of Giovan Battista Piranesi published in 17812 (plan figure 5, plastic model figure 6, aerial view figure 7).



Fig. 6 - Plastic model of Villa Adriana by Italo Gismondi, 1956: the Accademia with its main rooms (photo Marina De Franceschini)
Fig. 7 - Aerial view of the Accademia with the visible standing structures (© Microsoft Virtual Earth)
Fig. 8 - The three rooms presently used as hay-lofts (AC9-10-11), with the tower that can be seen from the Canopus (photo Marina De Franceschini)

On the northern side of the porch is the so called Belvedere (AC153), a very airy curvilinear entrance pavilion with open colonnades, decorated by fountains. Near the Belvedere, three rooms (AC9-10-11) survived almost untouched with their barrel vaults; they are presently used as hay-lofts, on top of which was built the columbarium tower visible down below from the Canopus (figure 8).

The central porch (AC7-8) (figure 9) was double on its western side (AC6), while on the oriental one are the larger and most monumental rooms of the building, aligned along a main longitudinal perspectival axis, with a series of see-through rooms oriented from north-west to south-east. Piecing together the actual remains and the information provided by the plan of Piranesi, we can reconstruct some of these rooms (see below figure 12).


Fig. 9 - The inner porch of the Accademia(AC7-8) in its present state (photo Marina De Franceschini)

Starting from north, there is a first quadrangular court (AC41) once surrounded by a porch, after which is a second larger court also with a porch (AC60) whose southern door, flanked by two semicircular niches and two oblique corridors (figure 10), gave access to the so called Temple of Apollo, the most imposing hall of the whole building.

Only half of the Temple of Apollo (AC78) is still standing, and we will describe it later. On its souther side, a door opened towards a third court surrounded by a porch, the so called ‘Zooteca’4 (AC88) whose southern side was curved (figure 11), and had a central door towards the last room (AC89), which terminated the axial series of see-through rooms.

Fig. 10 - The southern door of Court AC60 towards the Temple of Apollo, flanked by two niches (photo Marina De Franceschini)
Fig. 11 - The so-called Zooteca (AC88) with the axial door towards room AC89 (photo Marina De Franceschini)

East of the Temple of Apollo was room AC79, the most luxurious of the whole building, once completely covered with marble slabs reaching up to the ceiling; on the opposite side, the vestibule AC76 connected the Temple with the central porch (see plan figure 5).


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1 Winnefeld 1895, tav. X.
2 Piranesi 1781, tav. III.
3 The numbering of the rooms is the one used in our Accademia Project, which surveyed and studied the building since 2005.
4 This name was invented in the XVI century by Pirro Ligorio, who thought that in the Zooteca were kept the animals for the sacrifices occurring in the nearby Temple of Apollo.