The Villa Medici is the seat of the French Academy in Rome and has been since 1803
Cardinal Ferdinand of Medici (1551-1609) was responsible for most of its present character.
In 1576, he put the Florentine architect Bartolomeo Ammannati in charge of the extension of the country pavilion he had bought from Cardinal Ricci’s heirs, in order to transform it into a palace able to show to the Romans his greatness and his ambitions, on the location of the legendary Luculus’ villa.
The mannerist painter Jacopo Zucchi carried out the inner decorations while Ammannati adorned the façade looking onto the garden with an extraordinary collection of ancient bas-relief.
The works lasted until 1587, when the Cardinal left Rome to become Grand-Duke of Tuscany