On my first visit to Italy, we were invited to stay with friends who had rented a large villa and invited their friends and family to join them. We decided to take them up on their offer, totally unaware that there was anything unusual about the home we were going to visit.
We walked through the doors, already in awe from the drive up to the villa from the street, past gently rolling hills and a huge kitchen garden that could provide enough for a restaurant.
My first view inside was of the dining room and living room, which were actually fairly simple in their decor. Then we turned and saw this room. I had no idea what the term trompe l'oeil meant, but soon found out.
Trompe l'oeil (French for 'deceive the eye'): visual deception, especially in paintings, in which objects are rendered in extremely fine detail emphasizing the illusion of tactile and spatial qualities.*
Or, an art technique dating back at least two thousand years, involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions.*
The sixteen foot walls were painted on directly, but the doors' grottesca painting was done on canvas which was then glued to the doors.
While the trompe l'oeil was not museum quality, it was utterly charming and awe-inspiring. I spent quite a while every day just gazing at all the scenes on the walls.
It was hard to leave the gorgeous Umbrian Villa Schifanoia.