Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Casina della Civette, Rome

I visited the Casina delle Civette in Rome in March this year. I have tagged it 'Hidden Rome' amongst other things as the Villa sits outside the historic centre in an area that originally was fields and noble villas but has now been absorbed by the suburbs.

It sits in the grounds of the Villa Torlonia, the Torlonia were a family of bankers who were amongst the richest in Rome in the 19th century. Visit the website for the Museum here.
The Casina was originally the 'Swiss Cabin' designed by the landscape designer and architect Giuseppe Jappelli. In 1908 it was transformed into a “Medieval Hamlet”, by the architect Enrico Gennari. The small building became an elaborate residence with huge windows, loggias, porticos and turrets, decorated with majolica and stained glass. It became known instead as the 'House of the Owls' or the 'Casina delle Civette.' It is a strange mish mash of architectural styles.

Inside the house is richly decorated in an art nouveau style, one of the few (maybe even the only) such interior in Rome.

The staircase of the FourSeasons which runs against the building and leads outside. The sequence on the walls (not really visible in this photo) follows the theme of the four seasons: Spring, Summer and Autumn follow one after the other.
The rhomboid panels of glass in the ceiling were designed by Duilio Cambellotti and have the theme of migratory birds: “Swallows”, “Skylarks”, “Thrushes” and “Migrating Birds”.
Only “Migrating Birds” is an original piece; it survived, although in a terrible condition, and was put back in place after restoration. The other three were made in 1997 by the Giuliani Glass Works, based on the sketches on display in the Prince’s bedroom.
The Floor with inlaid flowers.

The Ceiling Fresco in the Room of the 24 hours, painted in1909 by Giovanni Capranesi an art nouveau interpretation of the tradition fictive arbour common in Italian villas.

The house also houses a collection of beautiful stained glass works by the artists from the workshop of master glassmaker Cesare Picchiarini (1871-1943).
Swallows by Cesare Picchiarini (1871-1943)

The magnificent peacock window by Umberto Bottazzi (1865-1932).

The fairy by Duilio Cambellotti (1876-1960)
The Swallows by Duilio Cambellotti (1876-1960)

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