Villa Lante, which has charmed Finns for decades, will close its doors to visitors and tourists in Rome on the last day of May.
Pantheon round roof, of Viktor Emanuel II imposing monument, church domes to the naked eye. The view from the terrace of the office of the Finnish Institute of Rome, Villa Lanten, has enchanted countless Finns for almost 70 years.
The building standing on top of the Gianicolo hill is the only Renaissance villa owned by the Finnish state. The Institutum Romanum Finlandiae operating there was once Finland’s first foreign institute. Around 200 Finns have lived and worked in the building every year.
“When [edesmennyt Jenny ja Antti Wihurin rahaston perustaja] Antti Wihuri once came to see the building, he said that this is like Finland owning all of Rome”, says the institute’s administrative manager Linda Jokela.
Now, however, there is a two-year break to admire the landscape. The building is being renovated, during which the institute will move to temporary premises. The contract is implemented under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. Parliament approved its cost estimate of 6.25 million euros last year.
The doors of the place close to visitors and tourists on the last day of May.
Villa Lanten The 500-year history is present in a concrete way, for example, in the walls of the salon decorated with frescoes. On one wall is scratched the date of the sack of Rome, May 6, 1527. On another, someone has drawn a coat of arms, perhaps in the 18th century. The house itself is built on top of the ruins of an ancient villa.
“Since Villa Lante has been declared a national monument in Italy, the repair plans had to be approved by the Italian archaeological antiquities authorities. The appearance of the house must not be changed,” says the superintendent Simo Örmä.
The party floor, preserved in the building’s renaissance outfit, will remain as it was. On the other hand, the water pipes, electrical wires and heating system will be renewed in the residential floors.
Finnish Roman Institute aims to strengthen Finns’ connection to ancient history by conducting humanistic research and teaching. In addition, writers, visual artists and musicians come to work at Villa Lante’s residence.
“We offer Finns the opportunity to come to the center of European culture for a longer period of time to get to know archives, museums and libraries. The history of antiquity is also our history, our own self-knowledge,” says the director of the institute Ria Berg.
On the upper terrace of Villa Lante Jutta Laitila and Susanna Rämö finishing their lunch under the blazing sun. Laitila studies cultural history at the University of Turku, Rämö studies history at the University of Helsinki. Both have spent three months in Rome on a scientific course.
“In that time, there have been both artists and scientists from different fields, from graffiti art to classical violin and from biology to art history. This is a meeting place for people from different fields, which is not the same in Finland,” says Rämö.
The institute enables Finns to meet international experts, the women praise. At the same time, Finland’s own recognition is growing.
“If we weren’t here so visibly, other places wouldn’t be so aware of what’s happening in the Finnish scientific world,” says Rämö.
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