This charming property of the Odescalchi family is located north of Rome, on the Via Aurelia, in the old town of Santa Marinella, known as one of the loveliest seaside resorts of Lazio area. Located overlooking the sea in the oldest part of the village, the castle was part of the system of maritime defensive fortresses of the Holy See.
Important example of military defensive architecture, the fortress was used as a bulwark in defense of the Roman countryside from possible attacks, both of Saracens and pirates, maintaining its function through the many changes of ownership, from Vico Lords to the Anguillara, the Orsini, the Barberini families and the Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Sassia who owned it several times.
Once the requirements of protection of the coast were not needed anymore, at the end of nineteenth century, the castle, together with the Santa Marinella estate was auctioned and bought by Prince Baldassarre Odescalchi in 1887 for an amount close to three hundred thousand liras.
Around five hundred hectares dominated by the Castle with a few buildings: the church in front, still existing, the inn and some modest dwellings occupied by laborers and fishermen.
But the elevated position above the sea level, the exposure to the southeast, the protection of the coastal strip made by Tolfa mounts, the generally mild climate in all seasons, gave Prince Baldassarre, senator of the kingdom and great expert of art, the idea of creating around the castle one of the first modern resort centers, transforming the small fishermen’s village into an elegant élite seaside resort.
From those years, the residential function of the castle became predominant, and the castle was transformed into a comfortable mansion surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean park.
Still now, walking the park of the Castle from the driveway, entering the courtyard, getting out and looking out over the sea, it is a fantastic sensory experience for all those who are lucky enough to visit this rare and precious corner of the Mediterranean landscape. The light, the breeze, the scent of the sea surround the gardens of a magical yet spontaneous atmosphere.
Thanks to the ideal microclimate, the many species of palm trees combine with botanicals essences typical of the Mediterranean area (privet, wild olive, Pittosporum, agaves).
Spring and summer offer blooming roses, agapanthus, plumbago, bougainvillea and wisteria with its characteristic purplish color. Extraordinarily unique is the presence within the courtyard of exceptionally large cactus plants, that Prince Baldassarre brought back from his travels in South America. Those beautiful cactuses give generously of nocturnal summer blooms.
Inside the courtyard of the castle you can admire the small private church wanted by the Barberini family at the end of the seventeenth century. The chapel, dedicated to St. Marina, is adorned with a precious white and blue glaze ceramic, where it appears a rare depiction of the saint who gave her name to the town.