Villa Torlonia in Frascati: a day trip
If you find yourself in Rome and you want to spend a day just outside the Capital, Villa Torlonia in Frascati offers a great opportunity for a relaxing and cultural visit.
Villa Torlonia is another example of the villa intended for intellectuals’ otium. It was Annibal Caro who, in 1563, demanded its construction; he later on retired there and spent the last period of his life working at his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid, enterprise that earned him his fame.
The Villa had in the following years several owners, always remaining close to the papal circle. In fact both Pope Paul V and Gregory VX spent here their days.
The change of ownership among the different aristocratic families resulted in a great economic investment in the estate and in the involvement of several important architects. Pope Gregory XV’s family, who owned the property during the first decades of the 17th century, appointed for instance Carlo Maderno to take care of the projects for the arrangement of the villa.
The extremely rich history of this place has unfortunately been lost. Subsequent to the dramatic bombing that affected the city of Frascati in September 1943, Villa Torlonia was in fact irredeemably damaged. The building was then completely demolished, and a new residential building was realized where it used to stand.
What remains today of Villa Torlonia is the wonderful park, under public ownership since 1954. It is enough, however, to understand how beautiful and the magnificent the villa probably used to be. The park is in fact organized in terracing, where areas with small and quite thick groves alternate with other ones with the typical flower-beds of the formal Italian gardens.
What instead is still untouched in Villa Torlonia’s park are the amazing jeux d’eau connecting the different levels of the garden and culminating in the Nymphaeum and in the water theatre realized by Carlo Maderno, crown jewels of this park that still can recount the glory of its history.