Casina delle Civette, a Swiss hut in Rome

Casina delle Civette, a Swiss hut in Rome

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Rome is the eternal city, with a thousand wonders, with an invaluable history. Its attractions are known all over the world. Despite this, there are small wonders that are less known, but beautiful and worth a small visit. The Casina delle Civette is one of these.

Located inside the park of Villa Torlonia, one of the most beautiful and historic villas in Rome, the Casina delle Civette is a splendid residence that was the home of Prince Giovanni Torlonia jr., an eccentric and mysterious character who loved art and esoteric symbols. The Casina delle Civette is the result of a series of transformations and additions made to the original Swiss Hut, an alpine refuge built in 1840 by Prince Alessandro Torlonia, grandfather of Giovanni.

From Swiss Hut it was then transformed into a “Medieval Village” in 1908 by the architect Enrico Gennari, who gave it a fairy-tale appearance with turrets, loggias, porticoes and majolica. In 1916, the building took the name of “Villino delle Civette” for the presence of two stylized owls in a stained glass window made by Duilio Cambellotti, one of the most important artists of the Italian Liberty. The theme of the owl, symbol of wisdom and mysticism, recurs in many other stained glass windows, decorations and furniture of the Casina, wanted by Prince Giovanni, who was fascinated by the occult world.

In 1917, the architect Vincenzo Fasolo added the structures of the southern front of the Casina, enriching it with imaginative architectural decorations in Liberty style, such as the glazed tiles with bright colors or the vaulted portico in the South part of the building.

The Casina delle Civette is now a museum that preserves the works of art and the original furnishings of Prince Giovanni Torlonia jr., who died in 1938. The museum offers visitors the opportunity to admire the splendid polychrome stained glass windows, made by the workshop of Cesare Picchiarini on drawings by Duilio Cambellotti, Umberto Bottazzi, Vittorio Grassi and Paolo Paschetto. The stained glass windows represent naturalistic and faunal scenes, such as birds, butterflies and, of course, owls. The stained glass windows are considered a “unicum” in the international artistic panorama and were restored in 1997. The museum also houses pictorial decorations, stuccoes, mosaics, polychrome majolica, inlaid woods, wrought iron, wall fabrics and marble sculptures that show the refinement and taste of the prince for the living comfort.

The Casina delle Civette is a must-see destination for those who want to discover a secret and enchanted corner of Rome, where you can breathe the magical and mysterious atmosphere of the Italian Liberty.

You can found more about this secret spot in the official Visit Lazio website.

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