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Villa Mondragone on TV Show

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:39 am
by proto57
In the Italian TV show Il Processo (The Trial), episode 1, the Villa Mondragone is used in a short scene. It is not named, nor is the Voynich manuscript. I thought it was interesting anyway, as I was surprised to see it pop up while watching the show.

The Trial is currently on Netflix. As for the Villa, they cut scenes before and after which try to imply that is it nearer the center of a town. The show is shot in Mantua, Italy, for the most part, so maybe that town is Mantua, or part of it. Of course, the Villa Mondragone is actually in Frascati.


Above is one of the actors approaching the front of the Villa. Below you can see the group shot from the 2012 Voynich 100 annual conference. The windows we are standing in front of are those large, circular topped windows seen in the above shot from The Trial. This photo is credit Michelle Smith, who is standing first row, fourth from left (next to Philip Neal, to the left of her):


Below, the same actor is entering the rear courtyard:


My shot of the same courtyard from 2012:


Here the actor has entered the colonnaded patio at the rear of the Villa Mondragone:


And this shot, from Klaus Schmeh's video on the Voynich 100 Conference, you can see parts of the columns, and the tile floor:


That is Elonka Dunin on the left, and Susi White, from Mariepierre Escoubas Benveniste on the right. She is holding either Elonka's or Klaus's replica Voynich Manuscript.

Another shot, by me, of that patio. It is a bit to the left of the screenshot from The Trial:


But again, you can see those diamond shaped floor tiles. It seems The Trial producers either replaced the tables and chairs with the ones we see, or the Villa has changed them from those cast iron ones seen in the 2012 shots.

It would have been fun if some character in the show mentioned the Voynich... and that would have not been so unusual, as the Manuscript is a well known association with it. But it was not to be.

The show is entertaining, by the way.

Re: Villa Mondragone on TV Show

Posted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:53 am
by proto57
... I had missed the significance of the use of the Villa in the show: It is meant to be the home of a key character, the wealthy father of the main defendant. You can see him in the patio screenshot, the older man with a large white beard and dark sunglasses.

In later episodes... I think, for one, episode 6... the Villa is revisited again, showing several interior shots. I believe in one of them, the character shown above... a lawyer... walks through the room which was used for the lectures at the Voynich 100 conference. But perhaps some shots were taken in another building? I'm not sure, entirely.. but still, interesting.

Of course the Villa Mondragone has been an interesting destination for centuries. High level Jesuits would summer there, when the college was closed. And by the 19th century, it was already a tourist destination, and appeared in more than one guide books. As I wrote on my blog, "In the summer it was a retreat for high ranking Jesuits, and even, a tourist attraction. Really anyone could get permission to visit. The photographer who took pictures of it for a 1912 tourist book was the same photographer who took pictures of Voynich’s bookstore in 1908." That particular book was "The Old Gardens of Italy, and How to Visit Them", by Elizabeth Le Blond. The section on the Villa Mondragone begins on page 149.

She was quite well known in her time, not only as an accomplished photographer, and one of the first female cinematographers, but famously as an accomplished mountain climber: ... s-Whitshed. It seems that most of her photographs are now lost, otherwise I would have made some effort to track them down. I had at one time hoped other pictures of the Villa, which she surely must have taken, might still survive. I've also wondered if she used pictures for the tourist guide that she already had from her visit in 1908, for the Helen Zimmern article, or if she went back to take more in 1912. I guess we may never know...