One of the most celebrated gardens in early modern Rome was built by Cardinal Federico Cesi (d. 1565) near St. Peter’s Basilica. Earlier studies of the site have concentrated on the famous sixteenth-century antiquities collection displayed in the garden. The Afterlife of the Cesi Garden: Family Identity, Politics, and Memory in Early Modern Rome shifts the scholarly focus to also examine the changing appearance, functions, and the broader social, political, and economic significance of the garden for the Cesi family and for the city of Rome over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Through a close analysis of visual evidence, unpublished archival documents, and a plan of the garden by the architect Giovanni Battista Contini (d. 1723), Katherine M. Bentz demonstrates that the long post-Renaissance afterlife of the Cesi Garden reveals the ways in which politics shaped specific urban environments in Rome, how aristocratic Romans considered and used gardens over generations, and the vital and symbolic role that the garden played for centuries.

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