The houses on the Palatine, which were brought to light in the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum offer an accurate picture of the private residence of the Roman era in which the decoration sometimes are of great splendor. The murals and mosaics, which became customary in Rome’s most elegant homes and villas (famous frescoes of the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta, now in the Museo Nazionale Romano), gave special vividness to the rooms where tables and tripods were placed in bronze, wooden chairs and sofas, marble, ivory and iron.
In Rome stucco decoration was widespread. A characteristic of Roman houses was a room for the banquet (triclinium), which contained three beds on three sides, both for the frescoes (which at times contained an explicit invitation to joy) and a wealth of other objects (lamps , statuettes, etc..) assumed a particularly festive purpose. Simpler however, was the bedroom (cubiculum) that was located over the bed, isolated in a bend of the wall or placed on a raised floor, also contained boxes and cabinets of wood or bronze. The sobriety of manners and life of the Middle Ages is also the appropriate human habitation, often narrow and poor. But in the Gothic period, although simple, already showed a certain sophistication: the use of tapestries began to spread and the furniture is often reflected in both form and ornamentation to contemporary architecture. Examples are the wardrobe of The X V sec. Padua (the sacristy of the Arena), and the few pieces of furniture which appear in the Giotto frescoes in Assisi, including a series of benches and chairs. At this time a piece of furniture appeared to replace the Roman sarcophagus, which is the body, destined to have a long history, sometimes from great artists painted and decorated with stucco reliefs. In northern Europe and especially in Germany remains a taste goticizzante up about half of 500, as it appears from the interiors, it represented in many paintings of Flemish school and stylistic research is intended simply to cover new materials, and inlaid with virtuosity. In Italy, however, by the fifteenth Fa undergoes a major evolution in conjunction with other arts. The fine houses of princes and rich merchants are the faithful mirror of the transformation taking place in Italian society.The desire to beautify the house leads to the creation not only of individual artifacts, but also harmonious environments, in which every element is subordinate to the other. Some of these environments, perfectly preserved fifteenth-century Florentine palaces are located in the Palazzo Venezia in Rome and the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino. Note the severe furniture, often carved and sometimes painted, pay attention to the gay colors of the tiles and the vivid colors of the paintings with objects rendered in bronze, copper or wrought iron and precious fabrics (damasks, velvets, etc…)Even the fixed parts of the ego such as ceilings and floors, agree in style with the other elements that make up the environment. The walls are almost always painted or covered with inlays of wood, as in the wonderful study of the Duke of Montefeltro (Urbino Ducal Palace), a jewel of harmony of composition.