On 7 May Villa Aldobrandini opens its doors as part of the second round of rarely-accessible Roman art and archaeological tours organised by cultural association Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), in collaboration with the city.
Titled Cosa FAI oggi (which means literally what are you doing today) the initiative follows the 19th Day of Spring event in March. Situated near the Markets of Trajan, where Via Nazionale, Largo Magnanapoli and Via Panisperna converge, despite its central location it is likely that the villa is unknown to many people.
Originally from Florence, the Aldobrandini family was at the height of its powers when Ippolito Aldobrandini became Pope Clement VIII in 1592. In 1600 the pope bought a large site on the Quirinal hill from the Vitelli family and donated it to his nephew Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini. The existing buildings were demolished to make way for the construction of a new villa, designed by Giacomo della Porta, while the cardinal set about decorating his new home with a vast collection of art and filled the gardens with marble statues.