Musei di Villa Torlonia

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Museo della Villa

The Casino Nobile, which is already a “museum” from an architectural and decorative standpoint, contains a small but excellent museum devoted to pieces of statuary from the Torlonia collection found in the Villa (much of the collection still belongs to the family and is conserved in the palace in Via della Lungara) and several chance finds that have enabled a further strand of the Villa’s history to be added to the collection.
The pieces displayed give a close idea of how the Torlonia family, in particular Giovanni (1756–1829) and his son Alessandro (1800–80) were for almost a century leading figures in the field of art collecting, a practice that had originated in at least the fifteenth century when distinguished families in Rome began to adorn their residences with fine works of art and furnishings.
The works exhibited are not all from the same provenance: they were in part produced by Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, a noted eighteenth-century sculptor, restorer and antiques dealer, following Giovanni Torlonia’s purchase in 1800 of all the works in Cavaceppi’s studio; others come from finds on the properties belonging to the family; and yet others are pieces of the Villa’s furniture that managed to survive various spoliations.
This nucleus of works was added to following a sensational discovery of several artworks in the basement of the Theatre in 1997. These were originally displayed in the principal palace but were removed from there at an unknown time and for an unknown reason. The discovery was of three large plaster reliefs by Antonio Canova, a woman’s head in the style of Michelangelo, several pieces of furniture from the Villa’s demolished chapel, and a splendid marble pediment taken from the tomb of Claudia Semne on Via Appia Antica.
The final section of the museum is the reconstructed Bedchamber of Giovanni Torlonia (1872–1938), with the pieces of furniture that were used by Benito Mussolini during the period he resided in the Villa (1925–43).

The “Berceau” Room

The ??Berceau?? Room

The “Berceau” Room

The “Berceau” Room takes its name from the decorative motif on the vault that simulates a pergola. 
At the centre there used to be a panel, painted by Domenico Del Frate, of putti fluttering around the Torlonia coat of arms. The walls were once decorated with views by Giovan Battista Caretti, but they have all been lost.

Low reliefs by Antonio Canova

The three stucco reliefs by Antonio Canova (originally there were ten) were inserted in the walls of the Salle à manger in the Palace of Villa Torlonia.
They were still in place in 1829 when the Villa was inherited from Giovanni by Alessandro Torlonia, but were lost during the redecoration of the room and its transformation into a “Ballroom”. This took place during the renovation of the building by Giovan Battista Caretti, works that began in 1832.
Fortunately, three of the ten reliefs were found in 1997 in the rooms under the Theatre. They have been identified as copies (with some variations) of the series known through other examples that are today in the Museo Correr in Venice and the collections of the insurance company Assicurazioni Generali.
The reliefs are of Socrates drinking hemlock (from Plato’s Phaedo), the Death of Priam (from Virgil’s Aeneid) and the Dance of the Phaeacians (from Homer’s Odyssey).

Sculpture
Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757 - Venice 1822)
Sculpture
Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757 - Venice 1822)
Sculpture
Antonio Canova (Possagno 1757 - Venice 1822)

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