The beautiful Casino del Bel Respiro, which is generally ascribed to the Baroque sculptor Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654), lies in Villa Doria-Pamphilj, Rome's largest park. The property came to be known as del Bel Respiro (of Beautiful Breath), as it stands on high ground where the air was thought to be more pure.
The extensive grounds (445 acres) were originally laid out in the middle of the 17th century for Prince Camillo Pamphilj, nephew to Pope Innocent X (r. 1644-55).
A century later, in 1760, the then head of the family, Prince Girolamo Pamphilj, died without any direct male heirs. A dispute broke out regarding the inheritance and in 1763 Pope Clement XIII (r. 1758-69) granted Prince Giovanni Andrea IV Doria the right to take the name, arms and properties of the Pamphilj family. The Prince’s claim was based on the marriage between his father, Giovanni Andrea III Doria, and Anna Pamphilj.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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