Villa Aldobrandini – not so much “in” Frascati as “above” Frascati, given its position on a panoramic hill overlooking the Lazio city – is home to beautiful frescoes by Cavalier d’Arpino and Domenichino.
The former, born Giuseppe Cesari (1568-1640), had Caravaggio among his pupils and created works that impressed even the French writer Stendhal – who stated, “In the vast field of the arts, I cannot find anything that is superior to the ‘Judith with Holofernes’ Head’ in Villa Aldobrandini. Yet travelers seem to ignore it…”
Unlike others, Goethe did visit the beautiful villa built by Pope Clement VIII between 1598 and 1621 thanks to the collaboration of three great architects: Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno and Giovanni Fontana.
Like Stendhal, the German poet was deeply impressed by some of the villa’s frescoes – namely those by Domenichino (born Domenico Zampieri, 1581-1641):
It is the greatest delight to see how, in the Apollo room of the Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati, Domenico has placed Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the most fitting surroundings; and in this connection we like to remember that our experience of the most joyful events is doubly blissful if vouchsafed to us in a splendid landscape, indeed, that moments which were in themselves indifferent are raised to high significance by a worthy setting.
Enjoy this doubly blissful, wonderful place.