The park is comprised of a 17th century villa commissioned by the princely Pamphili family, which serves as the nucleus to the expansive manicured gardens. Although a villa already existed at this time, when a member of the Pamphili family was elected Pope in 1644 (Innocent X), the family was inspired to make the villa reflect the new status of the Pamphili name. The current villa was completed in 1647, while the garden was completed in 1653. In addition to the expanded manicured gardens, the family built a casino (a small mostly social structure, not to be confused with a gambling establishment) to house their family and their art collection, known as the Casino del Bel Respiro.
Built upon a hill, the casino provided the perfect setting for a series of descending terraces. Together, the terraces included parterre beds, manicured woodlands, a fountain, grotto, and even a secret garden. Today, some of the features such as the Fountain of Venus by Algardi have been removed for preservation. These areas have been grassed over.
In the 18th century, when the Pamphili family line died out, the property was transferred to Prince Giovanni Andrea IV Doria, hence the name change to Villa Doria Pamphili. Due to a changes in tastes over the years, the garden style changed significantly. Today, in keeping with the original era of the property, the terrace levels have been redeveloped to reflect a 16th century garden design.
The City of Rome purchased the park and villas from the Doria Pamphili family In the middle of the 20th century. Today, the public park can be visited freely, whereas the Casino del Bel Respiro and Villa Vecchia are both museums of antiquities.
In addition to the terraced manicured gardens, visitors can explore long trails through areas of grass, woods, and even archaeological ruins, making Villa Doria Pamphili a perfect destination for everyone.
Pictures from Alinti, General Cucombre and Friar’s Balsam.