Monday, October 12, 2020



Via Calandrelli 25

The original smaller area of the villa was owned by the Abbey of Sts. Clement and Pancras and later was sold to the Mignanelli family

It was donated in 1654 to the Cardinal Antonio Barberini who commissioned the construction of the CASINO (tha main building)

It was bought in 1710 by Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, who transformed into a farm still mantaining it, however, with great finesse

In 1749 it was bought by Cornelia Costanza Barberini wife of Giulio Sciarra Colonna who later gave to the villa the current name

In 1811 the villa was enlarged incorporating the adjacent Crescenzi Garden for Maffeo Sciarra

In 1886 a large part of the villa was divided in allotments for the construction of residential buildings for Maffeo II Barberini Colonna II who had the remaining part of the villa rearranged by Giulio De Angelis (1850/1906)

In 1902 it was bought by the American diplomat George Wurts who had the main building rebuilt and decorated the villa with statues from the Visconti Castle in Brignano in Lombardy and would eventually leave the villa as a donation to the Italian state after his death, provided that it would be transformed into a public park

On the death of George Wurts in 1928, his wife Henrietta Tower Hurts actually donated it to the Italian State but it was opened as a public park only in 1931 following the passage of jurisdiction from the Italian government to the City of Rome in 1930

"George Wurts not surprisingly chose the villa on the Janiculum Hill as a place of delights, an alternative to his townhouse Palazzo Antici Mattei, following a habit, common to many English, Central European or American families, to choose the Janiculum Hill as a place to live (interesting continuity with the foreign ethnic groups which inhabited Trastevere and this very area since the ancient Roman times), a custom made topical by the possession of Villa Farnese-Aurelia by the American Clara Jessup Heyland, now the headquarters of the American Academy" (Carla Benocci - Verdi Delizie: le ville, i giardini, i parchi storici del Comune di Roma)

In 1906 it was discovered, in the slope towards Via Dandolo, the so-called Syriac Sanctuary during the works for the construction of a building in medieval style known as CASTELLETTO (Small Castle) intended to house the staff of the villa

1908 new ENTRANCE with pillars on Via Calandrelli by Pio Piacentini (1846/1928)

The building was renovated in 1932 by Alberto Calza Bini (1881/1957) and Mario De Renzi (1897/1967) to become the ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI STUDI GERMANICI (Italian Institute of German Studies)

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