Villa Torlonia and the gardens that surround it formerly belonged to the Torlonia family; it was originally built in 1806 and has been much added to since. In 1925 the villa was given to Mussolini as a residence and he remained here until 1943; it was abandoned in 1945 and has recently been transformed into a park and museum.
Musei di Villa Torlonia, Via Nomentana 70, 00161 Rome, +39 06 0608
The Villa Borghese is the main building of a mansion that once belonged to Scipione Borghese, a cardinal and patron of arts. The gardens of the Villa Borghese are the second largest public park in Rome. Located near the city centre, the gardens were constructed to feature innovative elements such as waterfalls and bring an area of green to the city that remains a welcome feature. Main attractions within the Villa Borghese grounds include the Daini park, the Casino Nobile garden, the lake and the Galoppatoio.
Villa Borghese, Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 00197 Rome, +39 06 32810
Like many of Rome’s gardens, Villa Pamphili was once the holiday mansion of a wealthy Roman family. In the Villa Pamphili grounds, the largest public park in Rome, there are some buildings of great beauty, such as Villa Vecchia and Villa Nuova. The Italian government uses Villa Pamphili for some of its official receptions.
Villa Doria Pamphili, entrance Via Vitellia 102, 00152 Rome
Villa Madama was commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de Medici and its construction began in 1518. Named after Margaret of Austria, it is one of Rome’s most famous and most-imitated villas, with Renaissance-style terraced gardens – although it was never completed. Situated halfway up the slope of Monte Mario, a nature reserve, it is well worth a visit.
Villa Madama, Via di Villa Madama 194, 00194 Rome, +39 06 3691 4284
Not all the Rome’s villas are ancient; Villa Farinacci in the Petroselli park was commissioned in 1940 by Roberto Farinacci and is an interesting example of the period’s architecture. The building is surrounded by a 4,500-square-metre park.
Villa Farinacci, Viale Rousseau, 00137 Rome