Photograph taken in 1913 of the new addition to the Villa Aldobrandini built in the mid 19th Century along Via Panisperna to the design of G.B. Benedetti.
Francesco Borghese-Aldobrandini bought back the villa and garden from General Miollis’ heirs in 1830. In 1846 his son Camillo undertook a new restoration/modification project which included the construction along Via Panisperna at a right angle to the 17th Century villa of a large edifice, designed by architect G.B. Benedetti. This building, in a rather spartan neo-renaissance style, matches the one on the other side of Via Panisperna. The same architect apparently designed the nymphaeum with the statue of Venus
which still stands today opposite the entrance to the Villa from Via Panisperna. Much of the interior decoration of the Villa - grotesques, landscapes in pastels - was carried out in this period.
By mid 19th Century the unification of Italy was under way thanks to the politico-military initiative of the House of Savoy. Rome became the capital of Italy in 1871 and the Papal State was confined to the Vatican City.
One of the first major urban development projects to be undertaken was the creation in 1873 of Via Nazionale linking the Termini Railway Station to the city centre. The northern flank of the garden of the Villa Aldobrandini was cut away and a high retaining wall was built along the new Via Nazionale to support the remains of the hill on which the garden is located. The pavillion-tower designed by Lambardi, which by then found itself situated a few metres above street level, no longer served its former function as entrance to the villa.
Detail of the plans for Via Nazionale (1873):
The retaining wall supporting the remains of the garden of the Villa Aldobrandini after the construction of Via Nazionale (on the left). The lowering of the street level has left the door of the pavillion-tower designed by Lambardi (on the right) suspended above ground. Two other pavillion-towers in the same style were built on Via Nazionale, one at the corner of Via Nazionale and Via Mazzarino, the other at the corner of Via Nazionale and Largo Magnanapoli.