The Lante family

lante coat of arms
The Coat of Arms of Marcello Lante

The Lante family was originally a merchant family from Pisa. One member of the family, Gerardo Lante, bought a vineyard on the Roman hill of Gianicolo. His son, Michele, was the first Lante to settle down permanently in Rome. He also sold a part of his father’s vineyard to Baldassare Turini. When Turini died in 1551, the heir of Michele Lante bought the estate from his nephew.
When Michele Lante married Antonina Astalli, he became a relative of the Roman noble families. Through the marriage of Marc’Antonio, Michele’s grandson, the family got united with the Della Rovere family of popes and dukes and Marc’Antonio became the Duke of Bomarzo. From the 17th century onwards, members of the Lante family reached high ecclesiastical posts. Probably the most important figure of the family was Marcello Lante, the bishop of Todi, whose coat of arms can still be seen on the ceilings of the institute’s and the director’s office. His name was among the candidates for the pontificate in the conclave of 1623. Marcello’s sister was married to the brother of Pope Paul V who was a member of the Borghese family and thus the Lante family had quickly became part of the highest nobility in Rome.
We don’t know a lot about those 250 years that the villa belonged to the Lante family. They had a citypalace in the center of Rome, at Piazza Sant’Eustachio, which meant that the villa was not a permanent accomodation. Around the villa there was a about nine hectars big garden, from the monastery of Sant’Onofrio all the way to porta S. Pancrazio. A part of the old garden was destroyed when pope Urban VIII built the walls around the Gianicolo in 1640. As a compensation for their loss the Lante family got the beautiful villa Bagnaia near the city of Viterbo. The villa is famous for its gardens and fountains.