Cardinal Prospero Publicola Santacroce
View of Villa Gerocomio
Prospero Publicola Santacroce (1514-1589) was born in Rome and was created cardinal by Pope Pius IV in 1565. He was Camerlengo of the Sacred College of Cardinals from January 9, 1581 to January 8, 1582.
In 1579, he purchased a strip of land four miles east of Tivoli on which he planned to build his retirement villa. Built on the remains of an ancient Roman villa, its name, Villa Gerocomio, comes from a Greek word meaning retreat for the aged. The reverse of the medal shows how Santacroce envisioned the villa, with a garden, fish pond, grove, aviary, and other accompaniments. However, it seems that the plan was never realized as there are no traces of the structures on the grounds.