The connection between the letters of Pliny the younger – first of all his descriptions of villas – and renaissance architecture is well known. In Hungarian scholarship Rózsa Feuerné tóth pointed out that in describing the palaces of Buda, Visegrád and Esztergom, Bonfini also used Pliny’s terminology. It is, however, strongly questionable that the adoption of the terminology also meant practical connections of construction between Pliny’s accounts and the Hungarian buildings, as the art historian hypothesized.
The paper is meant to provide addenda to this problem with the help of a concrete source, a Pliny codex of János Vitéz, which is annotated throughout in Vitéz’ hand. the focus is on the two most important texts, the description of Pliny’s villa in Laurentum (II.7, V.6), with an intention to explore whether inferences could be made from the paratexts by the high priest’s hand. the unfolding picture suggests a theoretical impact in the first place: apparently, what the Hungarian high priest particularly highly appreciated in the accounts was the formulation of space for the ideal humanist way of life, for absorbed studying. Library, bath, covered corridor, heated room, garden, quiet studies – these captured Vitéz’ attention during reading the text. the villa at Laurentum thus mainly epitomized a space as the venue of the ideal humanist life in Vitéz’ interpretation, serving otium, psychic and intellectual re creation. It is noteworthy that Bonfini lists the same elements – library, covered corridor, bath, garden – in his account of Esztergom castle in connection with János Vitéz, while it is only an unanswered question based on this source and our current knowledge of the Esztergom residence whether the Pliny studies of the lord of the castle did contribute to the high priest’s constructions or not. At any rate, the careful annotation of the Pliny text supports a positive answer to this assumption.