The Villa Doria Pamphili is a seventeenth century villa with what is today the largest landscaped public park in Rome
. It is located in the quarter of Monteverde, on the Gianicolo (or the Roman Janiculum), just outside the Porta San Pancrazio in the ancient walls of Rome where the ancient road of the Via Aurelia commences. It began as a villa for the Pamphili family and when the line died out in the eighteenth century, it passed to Prince Giovanni Andrea IV Doria from which time it has been known as the Villa Doria Pamphili
During the defense of the short-lived Roman Republic in 1849-1850, Garibaldi hastily fortified three of the villas on the outskirts of Rome. The Villa Doria Pamphili lay near the scene of some of the fiercest hand-to-hand combat by the Porta San Pancrazio, as students joined Garibaldi's legions to defend Rome from the French troops that were eventually successful in reinstalling Pope Pius IX.
In the course of the French bombardment, the prominently-sited neighboring Villa Corsini-called dei Quattro Venti for its airy perch-was destroyed. In the aftermath prince Doria-Pamphili bought the extensive Corsini grounds, almost doubling the Villa Doria Pamphili's already extensive grounds, and erected on the former villa's site the monumental commemorative arch, also known as the ‘Arch of the Four Winds’, which has ever since provided the major access to the Villa's grounds. The Corsini casina near it, called the Palazzino Corsini, was not harmed. Today it is used for temporary art exhibitions.
New constructions extended and altered the Villa Vecchia
which was given a Romanesque styled façade that is not wholly successful. For the first time, Medieval sculptures were added to the Doria-Pamphili collection of Classical antiquities. At the turn of the 20th century, Art Nouveau interiors were added by Prince Doria Pamphili. The Casino del Bel Respiro, long secluded from public use, was bought by the Italian State in 1957 and used as the seat of a Ministry. Today its collection of antiquities and sculptures is open to the public as a museum.
The park has an area of 1.8 km². It was bought in 1965-1971 by the City of Rome from the Doria-Pamphilj family. Among its many beauties and pleasures, the villa is one of the best sites for bird-watching and for jogging in the city and is much frequented by the inhabitants of Rome, especially at weekends. The two sections of the extended villa grounds are divided by a road that runs partly in a narrow defile. In celebration of the Jubilee Year of 2000, a curved and arching pedestrian bridge by Massimo d'Alessandro was built to join the two sections more amenably.