History, art and events at Villa Torlonia, noble Roman house
Rome is a city with an immense cultural and artistic heritage, whose history after the fall of the Roman Empire was closely tied to the great noble families like the Colonna’s, the Doria Pamphilj’s and the Torlonia’s. The architecture of the great aristocratic houses such as Villa Torlonia is an important part of the historical heritage of the eternal city, a cross of art, history and culture to discover the many facets of the capital.
The story of Villa Torlonia
Among the historical houses of the Roman nobility, Villa Torlonia stands out, in the Nomentano district, dating back to the 17th century. Originally, the villa was an agricultural estate of the Pamphilj's family, owner until the mid-1700s. The Colonna's purchased it, till the early 1800s, when the banker Raimondo Torlonia bought it.
In 1806, he began the construction of a majestic villa by the famous architect Giuseppe Valadier, who designed an accurate reconstruction of the two original buildings, creating what is now the current aspect of Villa Torlonia.
The two buildings were connected in a larger one, the stables and the Casino dei Principi were built. Valadier redesigned the whole surrounding area creating a big park, placing there the statues purchased by the Torlonia family. Raimondo's sons went on building new areas, chapels, shrines, temples, even two obelisks and several lakes within the park. Some of the structures are still there, whether others have unfortunately permanently got lost.
Between the two World Wars, it became the official residence of Mussolini, and after the Second War it was abandoned. Finally, the villa was bought by the Comune di Roma, in 1978, still dealing with the maintenance of the villa and the park, both public spaces.
The Musei di Villa Torlonia
As it became property of the Comune di Roma, Villa Torlonia started hosting several museums and spaces dedicated to exhibitions and cultural events, and concerts and musical events take place during the summer, in the park. The most important museum of Villa Torlonia is the Casino Nobile, located in the main building dating back to the mid '800s architect Valadier structural change.
Here you can admire beautiful decorative elements by well-known artists of the era, including Podesti, Fioroni and Thorvaldsen. The focus is the large dancehall, a place of great charm and impact, where the Torlonia's gave their lavish parties, able to host dozens of musicians.
Downstairs, the palace houses the Museo della Villa, a series of finely decorated rooms where all the most important and well preserved statues and furnishing elements have been placed. You can see the original furniture in the bedroom of Giovanni, Raimondo's grandson, used by Benito Mussolini, during the 1920 and 1940. Upstairs you will find the Museo della Scuola Romana, consisting of a series of rooms where over 150 works of the Roman school, drawings, sculptures and paintings were collected, realized by Italian and foreign artists. In Villa Torlonia, there are two other interesting museums.
The first is the Archivio della Scuola Romana, a collection of important works related to the historical and cultural movement, which had members such as Pirandello and Mafai. The second is the Casina delle Civette, a museum dedicated to a unique collection of works by Cesare Picchiarini, Umberto Bottazzi and other artists of the time, for a great look of this technique of the early '900s, its golden years.
Tickets and opening hours
The entrance tickets cost €9.50 for the Casina delle Civette and the Casino dei Principi, €7.50 the reduced one. The single entrance to the Casino Nobile costs €7.50 - 6.50€ the reduction - 6€ for the Casina delle Civette - 5€ the reduced ticket. Prices may change according to the exhibitions. Visiting hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm, and the entrance is completely free on the first Sunday of the month, a unique opportunity for all tourists visiting Rome who want to discover the beauty of Villa Torlonia.
Events and meetings at Villa Torlonia
The palace of Villa Torlonia and the surrounding garden are not hosting only museums, but are also one of the most fascinating frames in the eternal city, for cultural events and musical performances. Among the most anticipated events are the extraordinary night openings, where the spaces next to the Casina delle Civette hosts jazz, gospel, blues and folk music evenings, in collaboration with associations such as the Auditorium Parco della Musica and the Casa del Jazz.
Often concerts are totally free or require a few euros symbolic entrance fee.
There are theatre performances, readings, dance performances and projections of films and documentaries. All over the year, you can also watch art exhibitions, meetings where modern and contemporary artists exhibit their works into the internal spaces of the villa.
Currently, there is an exhibition of porcelain works by Annalisa Amedeo in Casina delle Civette, offering visitors a sensory journey among nature, history and art. Among the upcoming events scheduled there is a view inside the Casino dei Principi, collections of drawings of the '900s with masterpieces by artists like Ferruccio Ferrazzi Cerere and an exhibition of Andrea Viviani, 15 contemporary sculptures made by the artist in recent years.
How to reach Villa Torlonia
Villa Torlonia is located in via Nomentana 70, an area easily accessible by public transportation. From Roma Termini take bus 36 from Piazza dei Cinquecento, towards Pampanini, getting off after six stops at Nomentana Trieste, 200 metres by feet by the park entrance. From Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci Airport you can take the train line FR1, towards Settebagni for 9 stops, bus 84 toward Piazza Venezia for 7 stops and finally exit in Nomentana-Villa Paganini.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend Hotel Panama Garden, ideal for discovering Rome thanks to its strategic location.