Villa Torlonia’s Gardens

October 20, 2008 / Art & Archaeology
Perhaps no one wanted to have anything to do with it given its final tenant (Mussolini called it home in Rome before and during the war). Fact of the matter was that this magnificent example of neo-Classical architecture and its gardens suffered decades of neglect after World War II. Fortunately, the city of Rome finally bought it and made into a public park, recently conducting a full renovation of both the buildings and the grounds.

The Villa was Giovanni Torlonia’s way to show off his newly acquired banking wealth as immodestly as possible. But it was Alessandro, Giovanni youngest son, who took the villa to its current splendor by commissioning the landscaping of the grounds and acquiring major works of art for the gardens.

Enormous palms, magnolias, umbrella pines, and cypress trees are present throughout. Statuary, fountains, obelisks, and garden nurseries abound. All these have been brought back to life. Word has it that an entire collection of oriental Camelias have been brought in and might be in bloom in spring 2009 …

For the first time in ages not only the Villa’s interiors, but its magnificent gardens too will be visible in all their over-the-top immodest splendor. Giovanni’s son, Alessandro … a chip of the old block?

Talis pater, talis filius . . like father, like son.

Lisa Finnerty

by Lisa Finnerty

Founder of Secret Gardens Italy,, a tour company of the grand and historic Italian gardens, and, a social network for gardeners.

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