At the beginning of the 19th century the brothers Francesco and Alessandro Papafava dei Carraresi, friends of such leading figures in the arts such as Antonio Canova, Angelica Kaufmann, Sir Thomas Lawrence and Giuseppe Jappelli, decided to transform the 16th-century hunting pavilion on their estate Frassanelle into a splendid Neo-classical-style villa. It was an impressive undertaking at that time as the brothers decided to equip the buidling with a proper plumbing system; a vast series of cisterns collected water which seeped down from the surrounding hills to feed the system.
Before remodelling the hunting pavilion set on a hill in the midst of the property, on their visits to Frassanelle the family had lived in the extensive 17th-century farming estate at the foot of the hill. A monumental staircase was built to connect the old farm buildings to the main façade of the newer villa.
The estate also includes two family chapels which face each other across the piazza in front of the rear façade of the villa (now the main entrance) and a delightful small Greek temple “in antis” (built by the Venetian architect Giuseppe Jappelli) set in a clearing in the midst of the park.