A belvedere // or belvidere (from Italian for "fair view") is an architectural structure sited to take advantage of a fine or scenic view. While a belvedere may be built in the upper part of a building the actual structure can be of any form, whether a turret, a cupola, or an open gallery. Or it may be a separate pavilion in a garden, or the term may be used for a paved terrace with a good viewpoint, but no actual building.
On the hillside above the Vatican Palace, Antonio Pollaiuolo built a small pavilion (casino in Italian) named the palazzetto or the Belvedere for Pope Innocent VIII. Some years later Donato Bramante linked the Vatican with the Belvedere, under a commission from Pope Julius II by creating the Cortile del Belvedere ("Courtyard of the Belvedere"), in which stood the Apollo Belvedere, among the most famous of antique sculptures. This began the fashion in the 16th century for the belvedere.
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- Roth, Leland M. (1993). Understanding Architecture: Its Elements History and Meaning. Oxford, UK: Westview Press. pp. 342–3. ISBN 0-06-430158-3.