The Italian government entrusted Villa Gregoriana Park to FAI in 2002 in order to carry out a major restoration project. After extensive work, FAI opened the park to the public in 2005, however due to the site's fragile ecosystem, it has been necessary to implement an ongoing restoration and maintenance program to prevent further damage. The park is now visited annually by more than 40,000 Italian and foreign tourists.
The park was commissioned by Pope Gregory XVI to rebuild the bed of the Aniene River, which was damaged by a terrible flood in 1826. It was in 1835, after the Aniene River had burst its banks yet again, that Pope Gregory XVI decided to transform this enchanting but extremely dangerous location into a model of integration between art and nature. The project involved digging a tunnel through Mount Catillo in order to deviate the river and thus preserve the town of Tivoli. Subsequently, an extraordinary natural garden was constructed, which is dominated by the acropolis housing Vesta and Tiburno's Temples. As you pass through the thick woodland of the park, you will discover the delightful combination of the majestic landscape and the tranquility of the paths that meander through it. Inside the complex can also be found the Caves of Neptune and the Caves of the Sirens, which form part of an incredible series of gorges and cascades, as well as the Great Waterfall, with its whirling mass of water that seems to fall directly onto those who pass in front of it. It should come as no surprise that this uniquely beautiful site became a popular destination on the European Grand Tours of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Due to the delicate state of this park which was forged by both man and nature over many centuries, Villa Gregoriana requires constant maintenance in order to limit the damage caused by natural phenomena, and to guarantee the safety of the thousands of people who visit the site each year.
After nearly 10 years since opening to the public, the following measures will be necessary to restore the monumental entrance, and to ensure that the park's footpaths and slopes meet safety requirements:
- Restoration of historical parapets and stabilization of the footpaths: restoration and conservation of the stone wall coverings and reinforcement of the base of the footpaths;
- Restoration of monumental entrance and historical ticket office: restoration of the external plaster and grouting of the entrance stairs;
- Reinforcement of the slopes: adjustment of the hydrological system to prevent further erosion due to winter precipitation;
- Landscape restoration: preservation and maintenance of plant life, removal of surface debris from stone walls, careful pruning and creation of new plantings.
Thanks to our generous members and donors, Friends of FAI was delighted to provide a grant of $300,000 to the restoration of this important site.
Luciano and Giancarla Berti
Martin Cohen and Sharleen Cooper Cohen
Ronald and Barbara George
Peter and Elbrun Kimmelman
Dick and Pam Kramlich
Peter and Merle Mullin
Steven and Harriet Nichols
Andy and Mary Pilara
Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem
Jay and Deanie Stein