Bramante's nymphaeum in Genazzano, Italy
Bramante's nymphaeum in Genazzano, Italy in 1977

In the Italian town of Genazzano, there is a 16th-century nymphaeum, or shrine to the nymphs, attributed to Donato Bramante, the architect and painter known for designing the earliest example of High Renaissance style architecture in Rome.

Though never finished, Bramante’s nymphaeum was inspired by the Basilica of Maxentius and the frigidarium of the Roman baths. It was conceived as a summer pavilion in which to meet and hold theatrical performances.

This photo was taken during a study project carried out by participants of ICCROM’s Architectural Conservation Course (ARC) in 1977. The study generated a series of photographic documentation and measured drawings of the nymphaeum, including plans, elevations and sections, which are held in our archives.

Several restoration works have taken place over the years to stabilize the monument, which has appeared in its current state of ruin since the early 19th century. Its structural issues are thought to be due to erosion caused by a nearby stream.

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