Villa Torlonia

Typology: Historical park, villa


Address: Via Nomentana, 70
Zone: Quartiere Nomentano (Roma nord)
Second Entrance: Via Lazzaro Spallanzani
Zone: Quartiere Nomentano (Roma nord)
Second Entrance: Via Siracusa
Zone: Quartiere Nomentano (Roma nord)


Opening times

From 1 October to 31 March from 7. 00 19.30
From 1 April to 30 September from 7. 00 to 20.30
Closed: 1st January, 25 December

Bicycles are not allowed

> Accessibility - services available
- entrance accessible in part, no lift
- wheelchair-accessible pathway, gravel paths
- suitable toilets, only inside the Museums
- services for blind and visually impaired people

At Villa Torlonia the first tactile map of the Historic Villas, a new tool for inclusion in the framework of the accessibility projects of the Musei da toccare programme.
Positioned in the park of the Villa, at the main entrance of Via Nomentana n.70, the tactile map of the place in relief (design "for all") facilitates, in a clear and simple way, the orientation in the wonderful garden of the most recent noble Roman villa both to people with visual disabilities (blind, visually impaired and with problems of colour perception) and to normally sighted people.
The technical characteristics of the lectern also allow the map to be used by people with motor disabilities (empty space below the sloping plane to accommodate the wheelchair).

In December 2006, the landscaping and restoration of the green area in the northern part of the park was completed, including the furniture.
The Jewish catacombs cannot be visited.
In 2013, the restoration of the Theatre and the Moorish Tower and Serra Moresca was completed and the Serra Moresca opened to the public on 8 December 2021.
The Theatre reopened to the public on 7 December 2013 and is once again used to host theatre performances, conferences, exhibitions, cultural events and guided tours.


> Accessibility - services available:
- partially accessible entrance, no lift
- accessible wheelchair path, gravel paths 
- accessible toilet, only inside the museums
- services for blind or partially sighted persons

Today's events


Villa Torlonia is located along the Via Nomentana, just opposite Villa Paganini. This consular road was the favourite way for Roman nobles to build their suburban residences located just outside the city walls. These were mostly country villas, obtained by renovating rural houses. Villa Torlonia, the most recent of the Roman aristocratic villas, still retains a particular charm due to the originality of the English landscape garden and the rich quantity of buildings and artistic furnishings scattered throughout the park. The monumental entrance to the villa is located on Via Nomentana at number 68 and is marked by two small temples on Ionic columns and two lanterns surmounted by eagles on the uprights of the wrought iron gate. The current layout of the residence, which is not open to the public, is almost entirely due to the architect Caretti. The main entrance to the palace was turned towards Via Nomentana by Caretti, who added a majestic colonnade. Of particular interest: the Obelisk in pink granite, sculpted in Baveno by Alessandro Torlonia and erected in 1842; the Honorary Column and Theatre, which recalls the grandeur of the Pantheon; the Villino Medievale built by his sons for Giulio Borghese, who lived there until his death in 1915; the Limonaia, a simple building with the coats of arms of the Colonna and Torlonia families on the main façade (in memory of the marriage between Alessandro Torlonia and Teresa Colonna); the Villino dei Principi, in neo-Renaissance style decorated by Caretti; the Scuderie Vecchie, characterised by a beautiful marble sculpture in the form of a horse's head; the Scuderie Nuove, a low yellow building that now houses an old people's centre; the Villino Rosso, which houses the seat of the Academy of Sciences; the Serra Moresca, inspired by the architecture of the mosque in Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada; the Campo dei Tornei, a vast square of medieval inspiration on which there are three pointed pavilions enclosed with wooden boards; the Casina delle Civette, created by the architect Jappelli as a Swiss hut; the Temple of Saturn, adorned with bas-reliefs, which together with the Nymphaeum were the only buildings to escape destruction after part of the garden was expropriated to widen the Via Nomentana.

Historical notes
Originally the agricultural property of the Pamphilj family, it was purchased at the end of the 18th century by the banker Giovanni Torlonia, who commissioned Giuseppe Valadier to transform the agricultural property into his own residence, by building the Casino Nobile and the Casino dei Principi.
In 1832, the heir Alessandro Torlonia continued the embellishment works, through the construction of other buildings, still visible today, such as the Temple of Saturn, the fake ruins in neo-classical style, a Tribune with fountain, an Amphitheatre and the characteristic Café-House. The landscaping in the southern part of the park was in the style of romantic gardens, with the addition of ponds, irregular paths and new buildings conceived in the eclectic spirit: the Swiss Hut, the Greenhouse, the Tower, the Moorish Grotto and the Tournament Grounds. After a long period of abandonment, the villa became the residence of the Mussolini family in the 1920s. In 1978 Villa Torlonia was acquired by the Municipality of Rome and transformed into a public park. At present the villa has regained its ancient splendour, offering the public three museums: the Museum of the Casina delle Civette, dedicated to stained glass, the Museum of the Casino Nobile, which houses the Museum of the Villa and the collection of the Roman School. The Casino dei Principi houses the archives of the Roman School and space for temporary exhibitions. There is a pleasant refreshment area at La Limonaia and, in the adjacent Villino Medioevale, the Technotown playroom.
Entrance to the archive/library is by appointment only (info on >site).
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More information
Between 1802 and 1806 Valadier converted the manor building into an elegant palace, transformed the small Abbati Casino into a much prettier building (the present Casino dei Principi), built the Stables and a majestic entrance (demolished when the Nomentana was widened). Valadier was also responsible for the arrangement of the park, creating symmetrical avenues, perpendicular to each other, at the intersection of which, in a central position, was the palace, with the northern elevation aligned with one of the entrances to the villa on the Nomentana.
Numerous works of classical art, mostly sculptures, were purchased to furnish the Villa.
When Giovanni died in 1829, his son Alessandro inherited the most significant properties: the Palazzo in Piazza Venezia, the Villa on the Nomentana and the Bank. In 1832, Alessandro commissioned Giovan Battista Caretti, architect and painter, to enrich and expand the estate. Caretti worked for the Torlonia family for about 10 years, availing himself of a large number of collaborators, painters, sculptors, architects, decorators and stonemasons, but he also personally carried out most of the wall decorations in the buildings he renovated.
As well as extending the old buildings, in keeping with the Prince's eclectic taste, Caretti also built a number of structures to decorate the park: the False Ruins, the Temple of Saturn, the Tribune with Fountain, an Amphitheatre, the Coffee House and the Chapel of St Alexander (the latter three no longer exist).
In order to design and carry out the subsequent works inside the Villa, Alessandro turned to two other architects: Quintiliano Raimondi, for the Theatre and the Orangery (today more commonly known as the "Limonaia") and Giuseppe Jappelli, who was entrusted with the arrangement of the entire southern part of the Villa. This area was completely transformed with serpentine avenues, ponds and exotic plants and scattered with buildings and furnishings of fantastic taste: the Swiss Hut (later transformed into the Casina delle Civette), the Greenhouse, the Tower and the Grotta Moresca, the Tournament Grounds.
The grandiose self-celebratory programme culminated in 1842 with the erection of two pink granite obelisks, dedicated to the memory of his parents Giovanni and Anna Maria Torlonia.
The new Torlonia heir, Giovanni, interested in reviving the family name, had the Villino Medievale, a new boundary wall, the Villino Rosso, the Villino di Guardia at the entrance to Via Spallanzani built and radically transformed the Capanna Svizzera, which took its present form as the Casina delle Civette.
Most of the new buildings were used as dwellings.
In 1925 the Villa was granted as a residence to Mussolini until 1943. In 1940 Mussolini, worried about the intensification of Allied bombing, had a shelter set up in the cellar under the "Fucino pond", which was soon deemed inadequate. The following year he had an air-raid shelter set up in the basement of the Casino Nobile and at the end of 1942 a bunker was designed and built from scratch under the square outside the Casino Nobile. In June 1944 the entire complex was occupied by troops of the Anglo-American command, who remained there until 1947.
In 1977 the Villa was purchased by the Municipality of Rome and since 1978 it has been open to the public. Since the 1990s, the Municipality has undertaken a series of major restoration works on both the park and the buildings. To date, the Casina delle Civette (home to the Museum of the Casina delle Civette), the Scuderie Nuove, the Villino Rosso, the Propilei, the Casino dei Principi (home to temporary exhibitions and the archives of the Scuola Romana), the Villino Medioevale (home to Technotown - a technological and scientific toy library) and finally the Palazzo (home to the Villa's collection and the works of the Scuola Romana) have all been completely restored. In December 2006, the landscaping and restoration of the green area in the northern part of the park, including the furnishings, was also completed. The Jewish catacombs cannot be visited. In 2013, restoration work on the Theatre and the Moorish Tower and Greenhouse was completed. The Theatre reopened to the public on 7 December 2013 and is once again able to host theatre performances, conferences, exhibitions, cultural events and guided tours.
The Serra Moresca opened to the public on 8 December 2021.

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Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Architectural and historical heritage

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Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Museums

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Culture and leisure › Cultural institutions › Academies and institutes
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Archaeological heritage
Hospitality › Food and drink › Restaurants
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Museums
Culture and leisure › Show venues and services › Theatres

For more information

Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Museums
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Museums
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Museums
Last checked: 2023-10-24 10:30
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