Overlooking Lake Albano, also called the Lake of Castel Gandolfo rises a small town in the province of Rome, known as the Pope's summer residence. Several historians identify the town to the legendary Roman city Alba Longa, mother of Rome and the capital of the Latin League, while the current name, however, derives from the presence here of a castle built by the Gandolfi family in the XII century.
Conquered by the Romans in 658 BC, in 398 BC, during the siege of Veii, who dug a tunnel of about a mile through solid rock to adjust the water level of Lake Albano. At the beginning of the year 1000, the territory of Castel Gandolfo was partly under the control of the Abbey of San Nilo in Grottaferrata, in part, assigned to the Gandolfi family of Genoa and Lombard origins. The ownership of the castle and estate passed, then, to Capizucchi, the Savelli, and finally to the Apostolic Chamber. In 1623 Pope Urban VIII transformed the former residence of the Savelli into the Papal Palace and the city became a favorite residence of cardinals and prelates until 1870. Later in 1929, the Italian Republic recognized the ownership of the palace to the Vatican State.
Sites of Interest:
- the remains of a Roman villa that belonged to the Tribune Publius Clodius Pulcro, located at the XIV mile of the Via Appia;
- the remains of the palatial villa of Domitian, which was developed on three terraces of about 500 square meters each and is currently located inside the Villa Barberini, an extra-territorial area that belongs to the Pontifical Villa properties;
- the Doric-Nymph (I century BC), located along the shores of Lake Albano;
- Bergantino or the Nymph of Diana's Baths, which was originally part of the monumental structure of the villa of Domitian, is overlooking the shores of Lake Albano and seems to refer to the cave-nymph of the villa of Tiberius in Sperlonga;
- the Emissary of Lake Albano, dug by the Romans in 396 BC in the bare rock;
- the Collegiate Church of St. Thomas of Villanova, built by order of Pope Alexander VII Chigi, who entrusted the project to Bernini. It has a Greek cross with a dome resting on thin pillars in Doric style, the stucco decorations are by Antonio Raggi, while the main altar is a painting of the Crucifixion by Pietro da Cortona;
- the Church of Our Lady of the Lake, located along the shores of Lake Albano and inaugurated by Pope Paul VI in 1977;
- Villa Torlonia, built in the XVI century and restored in 1817 by architect Giuseppe Valadier;
- Villa Chigi, built by Cardinal Flavio Chigi, nephew of Pope Alexander VII, in the crater of the dried lake of Turno;
- Cibo Palace, built by Cardinal Camillo Cibo together eponymous villa has a beautiful marble portal is supported by columns;
- the Papal Palace (or the Apostolic Palace), built by Pope Urban VIII, who commissioned the project to Maderno. This estate belongs to the extraterritorial domain of the State of Vatican City;
- Papal Villa, also extra-territorial domain of the State of Vatican City, is composed of three structures that are clearly distinguishable: the Papal Gardens, Villa and the Villa Barberini Cybo.