In 1504, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the future Pope Paul III , acquired the estate at Caprarola. He had designs made for a fortified castle or rocca by the architects Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Baldassare Peruzzi . Surviving plan drawings by Peruzzi show a pentagonal arrangement with each face of the pentagon canted inwards towards its center, to permit raking fire upon a would-be scaling force, both from the center and from the projecting bastions that advance from each corner angle of the fortress. Peruzzi's plan also shows a central pentagonal courtyard and it is likely that the later development of the circular central court was also determined by the necessities of the pentagonal plan. The pentagonal fortress foundations, constructed probably between 1515 and 1530 became the base upon which the present villa sits; so the overall form of the villa was predetermined by the rocca foundations .Subsequently, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese , a grandson of Pope Paul III , and a man who was known for promoting his family's interests, planned to turn this partly constructed fortified edifice into a villa or country house. In 1556, he commissioned Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola as his architect , building work commenced in 1559 and Vignola continued to work on the villa at Caprarola until his death in 1573. Farnese was a courteous man of letters; however, the Farnese family as a whole became unpopular with the following pope, Julius III and accordingly, Alessandro Farnese decided it would be politic to retire from the Vatican for a period. He therefore selected Caprarola on the family holding of Ronciglione , being both near and yet far enough from Rome as the ideal place to build a country house GardensThe gardens of the villa are as impressive as the building itself, a significant example of the Italian Renaissance garden period. The villa's fortress theme is carried through by a surrounding moat and three drawbridges . Two facades of the pentagonal arrangement face the two gardens cut into the hill; each garden is accessed across the moat by a drawbridge from the apartments on the piano nobile and each is a parterre garden of box topiary with fountains . A grotto -like theatre was once here. A walk through the chestnut woods beyond, leads to the giardino segreto , or secret garden, with its well known casino.The Casino , a small habitable summerhouse with two loggie for al fresco dining. It was built probably on designs by Giacomo del Duca , with later alterations were made to the area around the casino by the architect Girolamo Rainaldi . The casino is approached by stairs contained between heavily rusticated grotto walls, with a central catena d'acqua , a cascaded rill or 'water-staircase', which the water flows down to a stone basin. At the top of the steps and set in an oval space are large statues of two reclining river gods to either side of a large central vase fountain. Stairs built into the oval walls lead up to the parterred terrace in front of the south facade of the casino. This part of the terrace is lined by stone herms with cypress trees. To the north of the casino is a private garden which steps up slightly and accommodates ros es.