The villa was named “Belvedere” for its splendid view of Rome. The monumental facade facing the city, with in the background the wooded scrub of the hill, appears at the end of a long path lined with holm oaks that with their intertwined branches form a tunnel of green vegetation. The severe “urban” facade is countered by the villa’s back facade with its light and airy loggias, opening onto a spectacular view that continues down the slopes of the hill.

The original building, donated in 1598 by Pope Clement VII Aldobrandini to his cardinal-nephew Pietro, was rebuilt by Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno and Giovanni Fontana and in 1603 it was ready to receive the Papal court. Later the “Teatro delle Acque” was completed with its many niches and statues and a very high central cascade, with a system of fountains flowing down the hill towards the so-called “colonne d’Ercole”, two richly decorated Solomonic columns. In the right-hand wing of the exedra, on the same level as the palazzo, is the Sala del Parnaso or di Apollo. The fountains and original water features outlined complex symbolical itineraries, that celebrated the family that commissioned the work. The supply of water necessary to work the complex hydraulic system caused arguments with the owners of neighbouring properties, particularly with the Borghese family, who during Paul V’s Papacy (1605-1621), had begun a settlement policy on the Tuscolo hills creating an actual “Stato borghesiano”, Borghese state. The gardens at the back, bordering with a thick holm oak and cypress wood are set out with paths lined with hedges, balustrades with vases of myrtle and pomegranate, and citrus plants espaliers, while in the shade of centuries-old plane trees flowering camelias and hydrangeas can be admired.