Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta

Italian Embassy, 3000 Whitehaven St. NW, Washington D.C.

During the 15th century, Italian villas witnessed an incredible transformation, going from fortified country houses to places of entertainment and leisure, and in the process, experiencing deep remodeling during this transition. Used to entertain guests and as a retreat from the noise and confusion of the streets and piazzas, these villas often featured gardens emulating those of ancient Rome, adorned with an array of statuary.

For this program, excerpts from the newly released documentary Villa Visconti Borromeo Litta: four centuries of history will be screened with a presentation by Film Director Francesco Vitali and Dr. Allison Luchs, Curator of Early European Sculpture at the National Gallery of Art, who will illustrate the tradition of sculpture gardens in Renaissance Italy and two masterpieces from Villa Litta now part of the NGA’s collection.

To enhance the audience’s appreciation of the documentary, the screening will be accompanied by a concert featuring some music by the composers who enjoyed the patronage of the Villa’s residents during the 16th-18th centuries. Directed by Tina Chancey of Hesperus, the musical performances will feature Mezzo-soprano Kristen Dubanion-Smith and tenor Rob Petillo joined by William Simms, theorbo and renaissance lute, Elizabeth Field, baroque violin, Paula Maust, harpsichord, and Dr. Chancey, renaissance violin and viola da gamba.