We’re all about taking in insanely beautiful views wherever we can get them, but did you know there’s an actual architectural structure that’s used to help maximize view potential? You’ve definitely seen them, you just might not have known that they have an intended purpose and proper name. They’re called belvederes, and here’s what you should know.
First things first, the word belvedere is actually derived from the Italian belvidere, which means beautiful view, and that’s exactly the purpose of these structures. They’re built to help take advantage of something scenic, and they can come in many different forms. Pope Innocent VIII had a small pavilion built above Vatican Palace in 1484, Villa Belvedere, which started a trend of creating belvederes in the 16th century.
What you’ll typically see is something in the upper part of a building, like a turret, cupola, or open gallery. But you could also have something that’s totally stand-alone as well. A paved terrace with a good view that’s not attached to a building at all is also considered a belvedere—make sense?
Another form they can take is the polar opposite. Rather than being a separate entity, they can also be a whole building entirely. The Belvedere in Vienna, which is a giant palace, is considered a belvedere (hence its name). It’s set on a sloping hill looking out on a formal French garden, complete with fountains and statues.
If you want to see how a belvedere can be integrated into your own home and feel fresh and modern, watch episode 1 of Sarah Off The Grid with Sarah Richardson. The Canadian designer built a belvedere for her dream home, and it is serious goals.
Though it’s technically considered the third-floor, it’s actually a belvedere, and functions like a sunroom. It’s a place to relax, hang out, and enjoy the gorgeous views. Oh, and bonus? It’s got all the light and airy feels.