LIGORIO, Pirro
(b. ca. 1500, Napoli, d. 1583, Ferrara)

Biography

Italian architect, garden designer and painter. He was also an antiquarian and published several books on Roman antiquities. His most famous projects, the Villa d'Este at Tivoli (1560-69) combined all these interests.

In September 1550, before his employment at the Vatican and during his study of classical antiquity, Ligorio was hired by the Cardinal of Ferrara (Ippolito II d'Este) to accompany him to Tivoli. There, while the Cardinal served as governor, Ligorio managed his antique collection and served as a top advisor. The villa, which still stands in its original state, has a planted landscape and a vast terraced garden with spectacular fountains leading up to the huge house.

Ligorio also built the Casino of Pope Pius IV (Casina di Pio IV) in the Vatican Gardens (1558-62) and the Rotunda with Baldassare Peruzzi. He decorated his works with profuse stucco ornament; the Casino is a good example of his decoration.

Ligorio also published a work on Roman antiquities and compiled an influential collection of Roman inscriptions, many of which were later found to be fraudulent.