When painting a mural, the final result will only be as good as the surface beneath it. Good preparation is extremely important. Luckily, the stucco was in excellent condition. The first day is always spent doing the basics -- priming (Zinsser Smart Prime), and then sketching the design. The next day, I painted in the basic shapes, and began some of the details. At this point, any adjustments can be made, because it's nowhere near being finished.
I did make some adjustments at this point, and was happy with my progress at the end of Day 2. The next two days were spent building up the layers of paint, thus enhancing all the details of the mural. The clients wanted the overall look to have an ancient "Pompeii" feel to it. That was easy to achieve, because of the rough stucco surface of the wall. If a perfect, crisp, realistic look was preferred, this could not have been achieved on the stucco, and other provisions would have had to be made. The clients were thrilled with the results, and love coming out of their house every evening to be reminded of their visit to Villa D'Este in Italy.