The Casina delle Civette is a small museum in the Villa Torlonia Park in Rome. The “Little House of the Owls” is a fairytale-like mansion that used to be the residence of the Torlonia family. Apart from the permanent collection, the museum often organizes temporary exhibitions.
Casina delle Civette Rome
Opening hours and ticket price
The Casina delle Civette can be found in the Villa Torlonia Park (Via Nomentana 70 – 00161 Rome). District: Quartiere Nomentano. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 7 PM. (December 24 and 31: 9 AM to 2 PM. Closed: Mondays, May 1, December 25. Admission: 6 Euros (reduction: 5 Euros). Combi-pass Casina delle Civette + Casino Nobile: 9,50 Euro (reduction: 7,50 Euros). Admission is free for Rome residents on the 1st Sunday of each month. Roma Pass is valid. (Note that, during the Covid crisis, the Green Pass is required.)
Before the Casina delle Civette was transformed into its present status it was known as the Capanna Svizzera (“Swiss Hut”), a refuge from the official main residence of the Villa Torlonia, hidden behind an artificial hill within its grounds.
The Capanna Svizzera was designed in 1840, by Giuseppe Jappelli. Of that building, commissioned by Prince Alessandro Torlonia, there is not much left. The present Casina delle Civette consists of a main building, connected to a smaller house by means of a wooden corridor and an underground passage.
Giovanni Torlonia Jr. started the modifications in 1908. The architect, Enrico Gennari, turned the building into a dream-like struccture with big windows, loggias, porticoes, small towers and stained glass windows.
In 1914 Duilio Cambellotti added the big windows with rom 1916 inwards it began to be called the Villino delle Civette, because of a big window with two stylized owls surrounded by ivy and numerous other owl-themed decorations inside.
In 1917 Vincenzo Fasolo added the southern part of the building, with its Art Nouveau decorations.
The most obvious element amongst the many ornaments present in the Casina delle Civette is formed by the numerous stained glass windows. These were all done by the Cesare Picchiarini‘s workshop after designs by Duilio Cambellotti, Umberto Bottazzi, Vittorio Grassi and Paolo Paschetto.
Unfortunately, during the Allied occupation, which started in 1944 and lasted for 3 years, part of the building (and most of the park itself) was demolished.
The city of Rome acquired the Villa Torlonia in 1978, but didn’t do much with it until after a fire caused ulterior damage (1991).
In 1992 restoration work was started. It took 5 years to bring the park and the Casina back to its original splendour.