Only the park and the so-called Teatro dell’Acqua (“Theater of Water”) remain of the original Villa Torlonia in Frascati. Since 1954, this former residence of cardinals and even a pope has been a public park.
Villa Torlonia Frascati
The address of the Villa Torlonia is Piazza Guglielmo Marconi – 00044 Frascati. Opening hours: Unknown.
History Villa Torlonia
Construction of the Villa began in 1563 with the vignetta, where the poet and secretary of Alessandro and Ranuccio Farnese, Annibal Caro, retired to translate the “Eneid”.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese had the small building converted into an impressive palace in 1607. He put three of the most famous architects of the time, namely Carlo Maderno, Flaminio Ponzio and Giovanni Fontana, to work adding fountains to the villa’s garden. They also had to build an aqueduct to supply water to these fountains.
In 1621, the mansion was bought by Ludovico Ludovisi, who had then just been elected Pope Gregory XV. He renamed the palace Villa Ludovisia. He had Carlo Maderno complete the nymphaeum, the Teatro dell’Acqua and some other structures.
In 1680 the villa came into the hands of the Conti family, who remained its owners until 1841. After this, the estate was sold to the Torlonia family.
In 1943, bombings was razed the palace to the ground. After the war, it was replaced by a more modern structure. The gardens tower above it and have been a public park since 1954.
To get there, one must first climb a monumental staircase. From the entrance, avenues lead to the different parts of the park, of which the Teatro delle Acque is still the most interesting structure.