The charming Hoot Owls

casina civette - Hoot Owls

Rome, the Italian capital, in recent centuries this ancient city has been the cradle of noble families that inherited their houses improperly called “Villa”, such as Villa Ada, Villa Borghese and Villa Torlonia.

Improperly because these “villas” are not only houses but also large parks, “green lungs”, several were used as hunting grounds and they have been turned into public parks thanks to their surface areas; some of which are also the dwelling of museums.

This is the case of Villa Torlonia… with a charming park and 3 museums: Casino dei Principi, Casino Nobile and the Museum of hoot owls; the latter is a very special museum and we tell about it, today.

The building dated 1840 Alessandro Torlonia wanted it. It was known as the “Swiss hut” for its rustic exterior look, it was very similar to a Swiss chalet. It had a major renovation in 1908 thanks to Giovanno Torlonia Jr, nephew of Alexander; he used it as his home until 1938, when he died.

This is a strange and unique building… it’s called “hoot owls” for the recurring presence, almost obsessive, of the subject of the owl. The huge glass window that shows stylized owls but also in decorations and furnishings of the interior. This presence was desired by Prince Giovanni lover of esoteric symbols.

Moreover, in the second decade of the 1900, the architect Vincenzo Fasolo personalized exterior with Art Nouveau decorations and inside whit polychrome majolica, wrought iron, carved wood and other special works.

During World War II the structure was severely damaged during the Anglo-American occupation and, after years of decline, in 1991 the building was further damaged by fire. Then the Municipality of Rome, from 1992 to 1997, meticulously and artistically restored this ancient wonder.

Today the “hoot owls” is much more… over to the window with the representation of owls, It’s possible to see a lot of other windows with polychrome decorations, which have become the distinguishing feature of the building and then there are artistic plasters, mosaics and decorative paintings into the interior that contributed. According to the ideas of the prince, everything contributed to the living comfort… and, we can only to be agree with him!


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