From my villa in Rome I can see part of these gardens. They are with the city wall and I can see lots of tree tops and a rotunda. Worth exploring I thought. It took me some time to find an entrance, a panini, hot chocolate and gelati later I found it.
The Villa Sciarra is steeped in lore: in ancient times the grounds were considered the sacred grove of Furrina, an ancient Roman goddess associated with water; Caesar was said to have hosted Cleopatra in the gardens; and in 1906 an ancient marble statue of Bacchus with gilded face and hands was unearthed on the property. It must have been quite a garden in its day. Today it has the remains of many fountains, a children's playground, plenty of seats and is used primarily for people to wash their dogs in the fountains and let them dry off running around the unkept lawn areas
As I was leaving I did notice a Friends of the Gardens notice, and some evidence of their efforts. The gardens are i a super easy location, hilltop with great sunsets overlooking the rest of Rome, Church spires everywhere.
Another fountain features four sphinxes personifying the human vices wrath, lust, greed, and gluttony. The villa’s tower over the 15th-century house completes the scene with a panoramic view that one can hardly believe.
The villa changed hands many times, and was given its current title when it was acquired by the Colonna di Sciarra family in 1811, when the estate was enlarged. In 1902 a wealthy American couple, George Wurts and Henriette Tower, reassembled and restored the estate. They renovated the house in the neo-renaissance style, decorated the land with statues, planted exotic flora and brought in white peacocks to stroll the grounds.
After Wurts’ death, Tower donated the villa to the Italian state as a public park in 1932.