VILLAS OF THE 'CASTELLI ROMANI'
VILLA BORGHESE - (Frascati)
A very modest villa, compared to the others. It belonged to cardinal Ferdinando Taverna who, in return sold it, in 1614, to cardinal Scipione Borghese. In 1869, the surrounding area containing, the gardens and the building was owned by Saverio Parisi while the rest was absorbed by villa Mondragone, owned, at the time, by the Jesuits Priests.
The final layout was completed by cardinal Scipione Borghese who could count on his uncle, Pope Paul V. The Pope encouraged him to add new land and enlarging the villa itself, since the Pope himself was a frequent visitor of the premises. To ease the distance between the estate and Rome, the Pope had a road especially built for this purpose.
Architect Girolamo Rainaldi, former assistant of Domenico Fontana, was commissioned the embellishment works. Villa Borghese, was one of the last villas built in the Frascati area, thus, represents the synthesis of all the others villas previously built, especially with Villa Mondragone.
The structure is a results of many elements combined together of which, the central one, is the more relevant.
VILLA MUTI - (Grottaferrata)
Villa Muti dates its origins way back in 1579, created by monsignor Cesaroli and past, in 1595, on to monsignor Pompeo Arrigoni, an auditor of the Sacra Rota (the Vatican's Court of Law) who was elevated to cardinal the following year. He wanted a building which stood simple but severe at the same time. He also gave a great deal of attention in planning the surrounding landscape, especially the gardens.
As some other villas, this one also was erected on an old roman structure: the villa of Marco Petronius Onorato, a roman knight. When cardinal Arrigoni passed away, the estate, was divided in two parts (1629). One went to monsignor Diomede Varesi, and the other to monsignor Ciriaco Rocci.
In 1802, monsignor Angelo Cesarini, now owner of part of the structure, receives important visitors, such as: Pope Pius VII, the king of Sardinia: Carlo Emanuele IV, and the cardinal bishop of Frascati.
Following this period, the villa returns under the property of Achille Muti-Bassi.
To be seen, in the villa, are the frescoes of major artists of the Barocco (Baroque) style, such as: Giovanni Lanfranco, Pietro da Cortona, Ludovico Cigoli and Domenico Passignano, all dating from the 16th century, and the beautiful surrounding English-park, very large and very well kept, adorned with fantastic sculpture, typical of the Manierismo style. Unfortunately this villa, now owned by a real-estate company, its not open to the public.
VILLA SORA - (Frascati)
Today an Institute belonging to the Salesian priests - Istituto Salesiano Villa Sora - being built toward the mid of the XIVth century by the Moroni family, is considered to be one of the oldest in the world,
It was known as the Pope's Villa, since, in 1582 gave hospitality to Pope Gregorius XIII and cardinal, and future Saint, Carlo Borromeo.
In 1600, the villa was sold, by the Moroni, to Giacomo Boncompagni, son of Pope Gregorius XIII and marquis of Sora (a city in the Lazio region). The estate remains property of the Boncompagni family until 1896, when it was sold to Tommaso Saulini who, after a few years, sold it to the Salesiani fathers.
The original site was made up of a building with a central courtyard, a belvedere tower facing north, with a gorgeous look of Rome, and a smaller tower facing east. The architect is unknown, and there is little left of the original walls since it was bombed in 1944. Only the façade and some internal walls, the central lounge and a small chapel, were recovered through a thorough work of restoration.
The 'Sala Zuccari' lounge has frescoes and decoration made by Federico Zuccari, a noted painter who lived in the XVI century and, also, a small monument stands in the villa's premises as a reminder of all the people who died in the bombings during WWII.