The villa was commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Albani in 1718 (and completed in 1726). He was a great lover of archeology and was attracted by numerous Roman finds in the area.
Perhaps the villa was designed by Alessandro Specchi, the designer of the Porto di Ripetta, who had already worked in the cardinal’s residence at the Quattro Fontane. His style is late baroque where the characteristics of neoclassicism are already present.
The cardinal’s behavior, however, was not very sensible and he sold many of the findings to the Polish king and to other illustrious personalities until Pope Clement XII Corsini decided to buy personally a large part of the collection of statues, busts and coins.
Most of the works in Cardinal Albani’s collection that he had brought to Rome in his residence-museum were then stolen by Napoleon during his conquest of Italy.
Since the end of the eighteenth century the villa has had a time of decay and for a period has even been transformed into a barn until 1852 when it was bought by Pope Pius IX Mastai Ferretti. The villa then became the pontiff’s summer residence.
With the unification of Italy, the great building was destined for humanitarian and medical purposes.
Today the villa houses a medical centre of the Local Health Authority. In summer its gardens are open for cultural events and concerts.