Born in the town from which he takes his name, Vignola studied in Bologna and moved to Rome in the 1530s. He made drawings of Roman antiquities for a proposed republication of Vitruvius' De architectura. In 1550 he was appointed architect to Pope Julius III and designed the Villa Giulia (in collaboration with Vasari). It was a summer villa based on the garden letters of Pliny the Younger. In 1554 he designed the first church with an oval dome (S. Andrea). After the death of Julius III, Vignola worked mainly for the Farnese family. He designed the Villa Farnese at Caprarola and was also involved with the Villa Lante. Vignola was a dominant infulence on Mannerist gardens and architecture.