The Villa Medici is an architectural complex centred on the villa whose gardens are contiguous with the larger Borghese gardens, on the Pincian Hill next to Trinità dei Monti in Rome. The Villa Medici, founded by Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and now property of the French State, has housed the French Academy in Rome since 1803. A musical evocation of its garden fountains features in Ottorino Respighi's Fontane di Roma.
In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte moved the French Academy in Rome to the Villa Medici with the intention of preserving an institution once threatened by the French Revolution.
From that time on, the boarders no longer belonged solely to the traditional disciplines (painting, sculpture, architecture, metal-engraving, precious-stone engraving, musical composition, etc.) but also to new or previously-neglected artistic fields (art history, archaeology, literature, stagecraft, photography, movies, video, art restoration, writing and even cookery.) Artists are no longer recruited by a competition but by application, and their stays generally vary from six to eighteen months.