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Interpretive Text
Interactive Plan: Villa Mondragone
Interactive Plan: Villa Belvedere

Historical Documentation
James, “Roman Neighborhoods”

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Frascati Villas

Dates: Seventeenth century
Location: Europe -- Italy -- Lazio -- Frascati

Frascati, located in the Alban hills of Lazio, has been the site of country villas and the culture of villegiatura since the late Roman Republic. The area gained prominence after the election of Pope Clement VIII in 1592 when his nephew Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini construced his Villa Belvedere in the Roman Baroque manner on the slope of the Alban hills. The construction of the Villa Belvedere brought to an end the first major phase of villa construction, which had also included the Villa Mondragone (1565) and the Villa Muti (1579). In the second phase of villa construction, existing layouts were enlarged, and in the third and final phase, such gardens as the Villa Torlonia (1720) and the Villa Falconieri (1724–29) were adapted to the current taste. Because of the steep slope into which the villas were built, the villa and garden had to be carved into the hillside. The resulting plateaus supported by semicircular retaining walls lent themselves to the construction of water theaters at the end of steep cascades, features included in many of the Frascati villas.

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