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Fodor's Italy 2014
Villa Aldobrandini Review
Frascati was a retreat of prelates and princes, who built magnificent villas on the sun-drenched slopes overlooking the Roman plain. The most spectacular of these is still owned by the Princes Aldobrandini and dominates Frascati's main square from the top of its steeply sloped park.
Built in the late 16th century and adorned with frescoes by the Zuccari brothers and the Cavalier d'Arpino, the hulking villa takes second place to the park, which is open to the public and is a marvel of baroque fountains and majestic box-shaded avenues. There you can see the magnificent "water theater" that Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, Pope Clement VIII's favorite nephew, built to impress his guests, thinking nothing of diverting the water supply that served the entire area in order to make his fountains play. The gigantic central figure of Atlas holding up the world is believed to represent the pope. You can also see another water theater in the grounds of nearby Villa Torlonia, which is now a public park.
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