Saturday, February 13, 2010

Torlonia Under Snow

Frequently I have mentioned that our local park Villa Torlonia is one of the former summer residences of the wealthy Torlonia family and the residence of Benito Mussolini during his time as Prime Minister of Italy (1925-1943. Prince Torlonia was a supporter of Mussolini and lived in the fanciful Casina delle Civette (House of the Owls) on the grounds while the Italian leader occupied the Casa Principale.

It is a wonderful space and well used by people in our neighbourhood. After Friday's snow fall a good number of us where out taking pictures and reveling in a view of the park that most people have never seen: the last big snow fall was back in 1986.
The Casa Principale, once the home of papal bankers and a prime minister, is now a very fine museum. It is fronted by a wonderful grove of palms weight down at this point by very wet snow.
This has sort of a Russian feeling to it but its actually the former Orangerie which was designed in a pseudo-Medieval style. It is now a very good and very popular restaurant. Their thin crust pizza is amongst the best in Roma.

Kids doing what any kids - and a few adults - would do after a snow storm: a snowball fight!

The park is in the English style with groves of Palms, pines, bamboo and oak dotted with statues, obelisks, fanciful ruins, ponds and lots of lawns to sprawl out on - when they aren't covered in snow.

Though these early flowering hibiscus seem to just shrug off the covering of snow, this poor cat doesn't appear to certain as to what's going on and has sought the safety of a bench. As with most parks in Roma the villa houses an unofficial cat sanctuary with groups of "cat ladies" who keep the felines fed and looked after. This poor puss has never seen snow in any of its 9 lives.

Hidden amongst the shrubs and undergrowth is the Moorish House - a wrought iron and stone fantasy which housed the greenhouse of the villa. It is currently being restored and should be magnificent when it is completed - in March of 2010 according to the notice!

The theatre is also being restored and was to be ready for August 2009 - we are still awaiting the grand opening and can only hope it will be done before we leave Roma in 2011.

By late afternoon all of the snow had disappeared and been replaced by puddles of water which are more typical of a Roman winter. But for a few hours this town was a bit of winter as I remember it.

13 febbraio - San Benigno di Todi
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Doralong said...

Very pretty! I myself have had enough snow this winter to last a lifetime!


oooh so lovely..almost makes me want it to snow here again.bwhahahahahahh

Anonymous said...

It's lovely Will! My memories are of the summer at Villa T. with the agapanthus blooming and the theatre and moorish house being restored (kind of look at the same stage of restoration as in the summer too!)