Villa Albani Torlonia ©FondazioneTorlonia Photo Lorenzo De Masi

Villa Albani Torlonia

Villa Albani Torlonia is a vast architectural complex built in the mid-18th century by architect C.. Marchionni (1702-1786) on an expanse of countryside planted with vines, levelled out following the water supply, by means of slopes and terracing. One of the highest expressions of the antiquarian taste for which Rome became the privileged destination of the Grand Tour, the project was created to house the prestigious collection of antiquities of Cardinal Alessandro Albani (1692-1779) from the fruitful dialogue with G.B. Piranesi (1720-1778), with the great engraver and cartographer G.B. Nolli (1701-1756) for the design of the garden, with A.Strigini for the fountain system and with 'the father' of art history, J.J.Winckelmann (1717-1768), librarian and confidant of the cardinal for the arrangement of the collection. A narrative inspired by ancient themes, designed through "emotional paths" to educate the visitor, whose gaze sweeps from the Sabine Mountains to the Alban Hills, following the two main perspective axes along which the park is divided: from the wood of tall trees and ancient domestic pines, along eight avenues of holm oaks leading to the large and geometrically ordered parterre. The inscription in bronze letters on the façade tells the story: "Alexander Albani vir eminentissimus instruxit et ornavit / Alexander Torlonia vir princeps in melius restituit" (The most eminent Alexander Albani built and adorned / Prince Alexander Torlonia restored and embellished).