I have been fortunate enough this year to have traveled to the Italian countryside twice with one of my favorite clients. When you are on location with a local production company in the region that you are shooting in, you very often have access to places that tourists and quite frankly some locals never get to see. This was the case when we got to shoot at a Popes summer residence in Frascati. Frascati, known as an affluent weekend retreat for nobles and wealthy Romans, is about 45 min. outside of Rome. The quaint little square is flanked by gorgeous palazzos’s. At the very center of the village, at the top of the hill is the summer residence of the Pope. It has been a Popes residence since 1680 and is maintained by the Borghese family.
There were Carravagios, Bernini’s and Botticelli paintings hanging on the walls. The gardens were overgrown and exquisite, with pots full of ivy and flowers. There is this amazing quality when things, and gardens and architecture get old and patina sets in. We are so often trying to achieve that look of decaying oppulence.It is so elusive visually. One of the things that was apparent was that there was rich, deep, vibrant color that had mellowed and faded. The sense that there was a monochromatic color palette was an illusion. Infact the unification of the palette came solely from aging, and like a good wine, or soup the blend is perfect. Italian style, which is a style that is so complex has always facinated me. Even in the most ornate and decorative examples of architecture and art, there is a simplicity in form and underlying structure. It truly is classicism at its finest. Square rooms, center doorways with symetrically placed windows, usually dressed with paneled shutters are what you find in classic Italianate design. Even in gardens, there are center entrances, and a uniformity in the arrangement of pots and benches. And a symetry in the planting of trees and flowers as well .