Villa Fabri, to "give joy to his descendants"

Villa Fabri was built from its foundations in the late sixteenth century and inaugurated in 1603 by Girolamo Fabri “to give comfort in his old age, to give joy to his descendants and the town, with an extensive view over the pleasant valley of Spoleto, near the Town of Trevi, surrounded on all sides by tall trees and a delightful garden”.

In 1638 it passed to Girolamo's sons. In 1633 it was sold to Luca Venturini. It was purchased by the Onori-Roncalli family of Foligno in 1676 and then in 1742 by the Carrara (later Carrara-Rodiani) family of Terni, from whom it passed by marriage to the counts of Porta di Roma.

In 1891 Monsignor Giuseppe Giovanni Hais, bishop of Hradec Kralove, purchased it for the Collegium Bohemicum in Rome and expanded it by adding the right wing. From the 1940s until 1988 it hosted the Pontifical Ethiopian College in the summertime. It was later sold to private individuals and then passed to the Municipality of Trevi.

Who painted the vaults of rooms? Zuccari, Baroccio, or Salimbene?

Invidiam calco et fortunam supero

The historian Durastante Natalucci of Trevi described it thus in 1745: “the vaults of its rooms are painted prettily by a most skilled hand believed by some to be that of Zuccari or Baroccio, others that of Salimbene”.

The ceilings of the first floor halls feature remarkable, extensive frescoes, well preserved throughout, from the first half of the seventeenth century. At the center of the vault in the atrium is a depiction of Glory with the words Invidiam calco et fortunam supero (I crush envy and conquer fortune). The side sections portray the allegorical figures of the four seasons with their zodiac signs set in tondos. The lunettes show views of pleasant landscapes.

In the first hall, the largest, is a portrayal of a figure appearing at a faux door; on the vault are scenes from the Old Testament: the judgment of Solomon; Joseph escapes seduction by the wife of Potiphar; Susannah tempted by the elders; Samson betrayed by Delilah; David gazing upon Bathsheba. The scenes are all framed, and beneath them appear the allegorical figures of the virtues between palm branches and garlands: Concordia, Tranquillitas, Magnificentia, Liberalitas, Nobilitas, Prudentia, Pax, and Amicitia, with the coats of arms of families that had possession of the villa and their relations.


In the hall that follows on the right, the center of the vault depicts Religion, and on the four sides are the Military Arts, Literature, Hunting, and Marriage. The next hall portrays the stories of the prophet Daniel: Belshazzar's feast; the Prophet unmasking the priests of Bel; the Prophet in the lions' den and the Prophet Habakkuk being transported by the Angel while bearing food; the Prophet's accusers set upon by lions.

To the left of the entrance, the first hall has a vault with a central panel depicting St Paul the First Hermit; the side panels show Sts. Anthony, Macarius, Onuphrius and Jerome with praise for their acts, and the allegorical figures of Temperance, Virginity, Frugality, Poverty, Charity, Vigilance, Loyalty, and Amiability, with little putti bearing the coats of arms of cardinals, including that of Cardinal Ermino Valenti.

The next hall, which is oval in shape, has at the center of its vault an architectural background with the Sts. Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt, Sophronia, and Dymphna in glory: the sides depict scenes from their lives.

The Collegium Bohemicum

The Collegium Bohemicum left behind monochrome graffito depictions of Prague and five other Bohemian cities on the villa's main facade, and the richly painted chapel; in the apse are depictions of the Bohemian saints, with Saint Wenceslas, martyr and patron saint of the Czech Republic and Bohemia, at the center.

The external decoration of the building and place of worship was completed between 1912 and 1914 by the artists B. Cila and Pantaleone Mayor. The latter was a Benedictine monk from the Monastery of Prague and a follower of the Beuron School, an art movement that flourished in late nineteenth-century Sweden under Peter Lenz, who became the Benedictine monk Dom Desiderius Lenz. In an essay published in the periodical Studium dated January 1929, Giovanni Battista Montini (Pope Paul VI) called it ”one of the best defined currents in contemporary sacred art. It is pure religious art”.

The decoration of the Bohemian Chapel is the second most important work of the Beuron School after the Crypt of Montecassino. The Benedictine Beuron School of Art would serve as a bridge towards Art Nouveau and modernity. Now home to the offices of the municipal tourist office, the Umbria Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Route Association and the Villa Fabri Foundation, the villa is used by the municipal authority as an extraordinary venue for cultural initiatives.

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Trevi Municipal Tourism Office
Villa Fabri, Trevi 06039 Perugia - Umbria - Italia

tel:0742 1970830
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