A Jacobite Gazetteer - Lazio

Grottaferrata - Villa Muti

Villa Muti
Visit of Pope Pius VII to Villa Muti

This villa, sometimes called Villa Arrigoni-Muti or Villa Muti-Arrigoni and formerly sometimes called Villa Cesarini, was owned by Monsignor Angelo Cesarini, one of the closest associates of King Henry IX and I. 1 Henry used the villa as a country residence. On October 14, 1802 he was visited here by Pope Pius VII and King Charles Emanuel IV of Sardinia (later King Charles IV). 2 Pope Pius VII paid two other visits to Henry at Villa Muti, October 3, 1803 and October 17, 1805. 3

The villa still retains much of its decoration from Henry's time, including frescoes by Domenico Passignano, Giovanni Lanfranco and Pietro da Cortona. There was formerly a plan to subdivide the villa into luxury apartments. However, the villa is now owned by the Comune di Grottaferrata. It is presently (2002) being restored and is not open to the public. Since at least 1998 there have been several proposals to open it to the public. 4 One such proposal is to use the villa as a university centre for the study of the Tusculanum villas. 5 The gardens are now in a state of disrepair.

One source says that in the villa there "is an interesting portrait of an officer in armour, holding a baton, while his squire offers him his helmet. Tradition says that this is James II of England." 6

Villa Muti
View from Frascati
Villa Muti
View from Via Pavoni

The villa is located to the south-west of the town centre of Frascati, across the municipal line into the neighbouring commune of Grottaferrata. The main entrance to the villa is at the intersection of Viale di Conti di Tuscolo and Via dei Sale. The villa can be seen through the trees on the hill above Viale di Conti di Tuscolo just past the Frascati Campo Sportivo (playing grounds). It can also be looked down on from the gardens of Villa Aldobrandini. The best views can be had from several side gates to the villa on Via Pavoni.


1 Angelo Cesarini was born at Perugia, Janaury 26, 1743, and died May 7, 1810. He was Rector of the Seminary of Frascati. He served as Henry's secretary at the Venice conclave which elected Pope Pius VII. In 1801 Cesarini was appointed to the titular dignity of Bishop of Milevi; Henry consecrated him a bishop, September 29, 1801. He was executor and chief-beneficiary of Henry's will.

2 Gaetano Moroni, Dizionario di Erudizione Storico-Ecclesiastico (Venice: Emiliana, 1861), CIII, 331-332; XXVII, 155. Edward Corp, The King Over the Water: Portraits of the Stuarts in Exile after 1689 (Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 2001), 100. A painting attributed to Louis Ducros (now in a private collection) records the visit.

3 Moroni, CIII, 332; XXVII, 156. After visiting Henry on October 17, 1805, Pope Pius VII went on to visit King Charles Emanuel IV of Sardinia (later King Charles IV) at Villa Lancellotti.

4 "Programma di Riqualificazione Urbana e di Sviluppo Sostenibile del Territorio (PRUSST) per l'Ambito Castelli Romani e Prenestini", http://www.comune.ciampino.roma.it/prusst.htm.

5 Daniela Fognani, "Un futuro universitario per Villa Muti", http://www.sedicinews.it/2000/001104/attualita45a-0411.htm

6 Helen Catherine Stewart, "Royal Exiles in Italy, 1717-1807", The Stewarts VIII (1947): 7.

Image 1 (Visit of Pope Pius VII to Villa Muti): Detail of painting attributed to Louis Ducros now in a private collection. Edward Corp, The King Over the Water: Portraits of the Stuarts in Exile after 1689 (Edinburgh: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 2001), 100-101.

Image 2 (View from Frascati): © Noel S. McFerran 2002.

Image 3 (View from Via Pavoni): © Noel S. McFerran 2002.

This page is maintained by Noel S. McFerran (noel.mcferran@rogers.com) and was last updated July 17, 2005.
© Noel S. McFerran 2000-2005.