The villa comprises, besides the actual building, a landscaped Italian-style garden, fountains and numerous smaller buildings, including a ruined temple, the ancient architectural fragments built and served as a ruin built as a kind of aviary. The villa opens up to the visitor to a building brochure whose basement is made up of a Serliana, the Piano Nobile of a series architravierter windows between pilasters. The overall system can recognize references to Hadriana Villa at Tivoli.
The villa was primarily the list of outstanding, comprehensive and located in ever-changing antiques and paintings of the cardinal, the not insignificant was composed in its significant parts of décor to the Villa Hadriana. For its construction, the Cardinal sold by and by a part of his collection, which - like the " Antinous Albani " - is now in the Capitoline Museums. The remaining antiques include Greek originals, the Roman Hermen, reliefs and marble vessels, and the frescoes of the Tomba Francois in Vulci. The painting collection unites works by Perugino, Jacopo Tintoretto, Giulio Romano, Luca Giordano, Jacques -Louis David, Anthony van Dyck, Gerrit van Honthorst, Jusepe de Ribera, Jacques Courtois, Luigi Vanvitelli and others.
In 1761, Anton Raphael Mengs was mediated by Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the contract for the artistic design of the villa, for which he created the fresco Parnassus in the salon of the villa. It is considered a central work of German classicism. Winckelmann, a friend of the Cardinal and very encouraged by this designed, mainly the program for the design, to the execution of Paolo Anesi participated. Winckelmann himself was appointed as librarian of Cardinal and primarily responsible for the cataloging of the collection of antiquities.
With the capture of Rome on February 10, 1798 Napoleon's General Louis -Alexandre Berthier, the villa was confiscated as property of the Albani, numerous pieces of the collection, something the colossal bust of Pallas Athena and the relief of Antinous, managed to Paris. What could not be taken away, was often shattered. In 1815, the confiscated items were returned from France.
The villa was owned by the family until the last Albani, Antonietta Litta Albani, the Principe Carlo Castelbarcos married. In 1866 came from Cesare Pompeo Castelbarcos the villa to the banker Alessandro Torlonia and the Torlonia family, in whose possession it is today. With the change of the owner of numerous pieces of the collection were placed in the Museo Torlonia, the preparation of the remaining collection was reorganized. The coin and medal collection of Cardinal was bequeathed to the Vatican Library. Sarcophagi, columns and other sculptures were distributed to different locations, the Antinous relief and numerous other antiquities is still in the Villa Albani, in 1870, the surrender of Rome was signed.
The villa is not accessible as private property to the public and is opened with special permission only scholars and students.