Villa Torlonia Museum, Park and The Casino dei Principi (The House of the Princes) In Rome

"Villa Torlonia Museum, Park and The Casino dei Principi (The House of the Princes) In Rome" submitted by RomeTour Editorial Team and last updated on Sunday 29th May 2011

Villa Torlonia Museum, Park In Rome, Italy

The Torlonia Museum is located in one of the numerous new-built or adapted palaces of 19th century belonged to this noble family of bankers. Since the 17th century the building and adjoining to it were occupied by the water-mill and factories, using the energy of the Acqua Paola.

In this palace were disposed 620 pieces of Greek and Roman statues collected by the founder of the dynasty, Giovanni Torlonia, absorbing some other collections including the famous one of Giustiniani. This museum of sculpture, undoubtedly the greatest and the most important museum that could be possessed by the private owner, was dismantled in the 60's by the same owners to adapt the palace territory for the utilitarian needs, transporting a part of the collection in Villa Albani and placing the rest in the underground area. More details: Villa Torlonia Museums

Villa Torlonia Park:

Stroll through Villa Torlonia park in Rome on a pleasant evening and you’re bound to see at least several couples rolling around on the grass, locked in love’s embrace. Giovanni Torlonia purchased this land in 1796 from one of Rome’s most powerful clans, the Colonna, which had vineyards here. He then paid the noted Italian neoclassical architect Giuseppe Valadier to make the already grand-looking buildings and grounds even grander.

There are three main buildings on the grounds – the Casino Nobile (palace), the Casino dei Principi (House of the Princes), and the Casina delle Civette (Little House of Owls). The interest of the visitors who come to Villa Torlonia lies in its beautiful park (there is an artificial lake too), in the different architectural styles of the buildings -such as the Medieval House, the Lemon-House (today it is a bar-restaurant) or the Red House- and in the figure of Benito Mussolini who lived in the Casino Nobile until 1943.

Built for aristocrats-come-lately, the Torlonia family—the Italian Rockefellers of the 19th century—this villa became Mussolini's residence as prime minister under Italy's king and is now a public park. Long neglected, the park's vegetation and buildings are gradually being refurbished. Newly restored is the Casina Nobile, the main palace designed by the great architect Giuseppe Valadier. A grand, Neoclassical edifice, it comes replete with a gigantic ballroom, frescoed salons, and soaring templelike facade. While denuded of nearly all their furnishings and art treasures, some salons have important remnants of decor, including the reliefs once fashioned by the father of Italian Neoclassical sculpture, Antonio Canova. In the park, a complete contrast is offered by the Casina delle Civette (Little House of Owls), a hyper charming example of the Stil Liberty (Art Nouveau) of the early 1900s: the gabled, fairy-tale-like cottage-palace now displays majolica and stained-glass decorations, including windows with owl motifs, and is a stunning, overlooked find for lovers of 19th-century decorative arts. Temporary exhibits are held in the small and elegant Il Casino dei Principi (The House of Princes), designed in part by Valadier.

The Casino dei Principi (The House of the Princes)

The House of the Princes took on its current neo-sixteenth century aspect, rich in internal and external decoration, following the redevelopment by Giovan Battista Caretti, between 1835 and 1840, as the wish of Alessandro Torlonia (1800-1886).
The Casino dei Principi (The House of the Princes) at  illa Torlonia Museum, Park
The initial nucleus of the House was a modest rural building of the Abbey vineyards, which had been present in the area for at least a century. The idea of giving this building a main role in the architectural structure of the new Villa had already occured to Giuseppe Valadier, prior to Caretti’s work.

Valadier was, most probably, responsible for the transformation of the basic House, giving it a ground plan very similar to the present one, in the period around 1802, during which he is attested to have worked at the Villa Torlonia, and in 1818, when the structure had already been modified and employed as an architectural quinta obliqua, which carried the view of the visitors, whether proceeding along the Viale di lecci, or crossing along the Via Nomentana, to the focal point of the building.

Giovanni Torlonia, having risen to the title of marquis in 1797, retained Giuseppe Valadier for the renovations to his estate, in keeping with the standards, expected in noble Roman villas of his day. From 1802-1806 Valadier converted the building housing the owner's quarters into an elegant Palazzo. Even more impressive were the renovations to the small Casino Abbati, now known as the Casino dei Principi (prince's bungalow). He also built the stables and landscaped the grounds. His large neoclassical villa, the Casino dei Principi, later became the Mussolini family home (1925–43) and, towards the end of WWII, Allied headquarters (1944–47). These days it’s used to stage temporary exhibitions.

After a long period of restoration work the Casino dei Principi reopens to the public on 2 March with a museum annex.

The building was used by Prince Alessandro Torlonia during sumptuous society events organised in the Villa bearing his name, guests could watch performances from the Casino's beautiful balcony.

The piano nobile (first floor) was completely covered with wall paintings of ancient Greece, Imperial Rome and the Gulf of Naples, only the latter have survived however. The museum which has been created in the Casino contains four fine statues from the Cavaceppi collection, they are Modesty (Pudicizia), the Priestess, Diana and the Faun.
Villa Torlonia Museum Park
Sphinxes
The four winged Sphinxes, from an original group of six, of which two are now in the Villa of Federico Zeri in Mentana, come from the complex’s park. Set on a stone base, they stood, in pairs, at the entrance to the Villa.

After the entrance was demolished in the early 1900s, so that the Via Nomentana could be widened, the travertine sculptures, with their wings partially removed, were placed at the entrance to the House of the Princes.

The sculptures were made by Clemente Massimi and Girolamo Sartorio (three each), to a design by the architect Giuseppe Valadier, in the early years of the nineteenth century.

Also See:

Villa Torlonia, Museums [Casino Nobile, Casina delle Civette (Owls), Casino dei Principi (Princes)]

Services

Entry Price:

Address
Via Nomentana, 70 - 00161 Roma (The ticket office is also at this address)
Zone: Quartiere Nomentano (Roma nord)
Villa Torlonia Museum, Park and The Casino dei Principi (The House of the Princes) is Shown By "Map G Zone" As "16"
Direction: On public transport from Rome Termini Station, Go to bus stop TERMINI, Take line 90 (L.GO LABIA) to 4 stops, Get off at stop NOMENTANA/VILLA TORLONIA, Walk 200 metres on via Nomentana.
Info and booking: tel. +39 060608 (daily from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm), For groups 060608 every day 9.00 am - 9.00 pm (additional cost for reservation € 25,00). For schools 06 42888888 moday to friday 9.00 am - 6.00 pm - saturday 9.00 am- 1.00 pm. With the booking it is possible to skip the line by going directly to the ticket office.
E-mail: vill...@comune.roma.it
Internet: http://en.museivillatorlonia.it/

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