On a recent Studio Rome itinerary we stopped in to visit Villa Torlonia, ducking out of a downpour just in time to take shelter in the grand palace. Remodeled by Valadier in the early 19th century for Prince Torlonia (and later inhabited by Benito Mussolini), today this well-restored building hosts a beautiful collection of neoclassical arts and crafts and, on the second floor, a collection of Scuola Romana paintings.
When the rain stopped we headed over to the magical Casino delle Civette, the first of many buildings to be restored in the park in recent decades.
This gingerbread-like swiss “cottage of the owls” is an astonishing melange of architectural styles. Artistically designed windows and doors, mosaics, marble sculptures, and wrought-iron frame work make this tiny house-museum a great place to see the work of early 20th century Italian craftspeople. http://www.museivillatorlonia.it
We ended our itinerary in the 21st century with a visit to the nearby MACRO museum, designed by French architect Odile Decq in the 1990s in the old Peroni beer factory.
MACRO is a city-run museum of contemporary art and hosts excellent temporary exhibits. We caught a great show about Italian Pop Art and the tail-end of William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments. This whole area is worth exploring for more time and luckily boasts some excellent food. I recommend Dai Toscani on Via Forlì or Ristorante Villa Paganini, in the park across from Villa Torlonia, but I’ve also eaten well at Osteria dell’Arco, Via Giacomo Pagliari 11.