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Guided visits to the Tuscolan villas, a UNESCO heritage site

The Tuscolane Villas are a complex of splendid Renaissance villas, mostly well preserved to this day, built by the papal nobility, between Frascati, Monteporzio Catone and Grottaferrata, on the slopes of the Tusculum Hill between the mid-16th and early 17th centuries. , where on clear days the view stretches from the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the hills of Sabina.

They all arise in the same places where Roman villas of imperial times had been built. Almost all have the facade facing Rome, so that guests could see the countryside around the city, the ruins of the aqueducts and the dome of St. Peter’s.

The Tuscolan Villas are ten so distributed over the territory of the Castelli Romani: in Frascati are Villa Aldobrandini, Villa Falconieri, Villa Lancellotti, Villa Sora, Villa Torlonia, Villa Tuscolana; in Monte Porzio Catone are site Villa Mondragone and Villa Taverna Borghese (Parisi); in Grottaferrata are Villa Grazioli site, Villa Muti.

Built by the papal nobility since the 16th century, the Ville Tuscolane were a symbol of prestige of the Roman aristocracy and were destined for the activity of representation and the summer residence of the papal court. From initial country houses surrounded by cultivated lands and woods, they became veritable noble palaces, thanks to the intervention of the most talented architects and artists of the 16th and 17th centuries (including Vignola, Martino Longhi the Elder, Vasanzio, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno, Giovanni Fontana, Borromini and the Vanvitelli).

The memories of Ancient Rome echo in the Villas and Renaissance gardens of Tuscolo. It is also for this reason that they were the destination of the “Grand Tour”, the formation journey of the offspring of the European aristocracy and of great travelers such as Goethe, Chateaubriand and many others, who came to visit the Italy.

An admirable example of Villas integrated into the landscape, the architectural and landscape complex of the Ville Tuscolane constitutes a heritage of extraordinary universal value, to be valued and protected in all possible ways.


Negotiations have already begun for the inclusion of the Tuscolan Villas in the UNESCO heritage.

The primary objective of UNESCO is to safeguard important sites, both from a naturalistic and historical architectural point of view, whose conservation, enhancement and maintenance is considered fundamental and unquestionable by the world community.

Why insert the Tuscolane villas?

The Tuscan villas represent a “unicum” that cannot be counted among the most important sites from the cultural and artistic point of view.

From the emperors to the popes, from the patrician families of ancient Rome to the aristocratic ones of the papal court: this is the ideal line of historical continuity between the Roman villas of imperial times and the sixteenth-century Tuscolan villas. The suggestion of the ancient memories has determined the construction of the sixteenth-century villas next to archaeological sites of ancient residences: the new plants overlap with the ancients exploiting what it serves as the terraces, the embankments, the cisterns.

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