Villa Medici

Top choice palace in Tridente, Trevi & the Quirinale

Image by DEA / A. DE GREGORIO Getty Images

This sumptuous Renaissance palace was built for Cardinal Ricci da Montepulciano in 1540, but Ferdinando de' Medici bought it in 1576. It remained in Medici hands until 1801, when Napoleon acquired it for the French Academy. Guided tours take in the wonderful landscaped gardens, the cardinal's painted apartments, and incredible views over Rome – tours in English depart at 11am and 3.30pm. Note the pieces of ancient Roman sculpture from the Ara Pacis embedded in the villa's walls.

The villa's most famous resident was Galileo, imprisoned here between 1630 and 1633 during his trial for heresy; Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg stayed here in the 1960s. There are up to 19 resident French-speaking artists and musicians, with exhibitions and performances at the end of February and June. There's a lovely, high-ceilinged cafe (open from 8am) that serves reasonably priced panini and prosecco-fuelled lunches. You can also overnight at the villa, for a price.