Romes mayor, Walter Veltroni has opened the newly restored Casino Nobile, the main villa in Villa Torlonia park. The villa has been returned to its original splendor with marble, mouldings, chandeliers, frescoes and mosaics, as it was when it became home to Benito Mussolini and his family in 1925. The villa is perhaps the most beautiful 18th century building in Rome, according to Eugenio La Rocca , superintendent of fine art for the city council.

At the end of the war the villa was used by the commanders of the Anglo-American liberating forces and then in 1977 the whole park, and all the buildings in the park, was sold to the city council by the Torlonia family and then was left to decay for several decades.

The public will be able to visit the Casino Nobile on free guided tours until 15 June. As well as seeing the splendid rooms they will also be taken below ground to see the anti-gas bunker and the air-raid shelter built for the Mussolini family, as well as a second century Christian tomb which was discovered in the course of the restoration. The Casino Nobile will eventually house the Museo della Villa and will have paintings from the 19th century on display on the top floor.

To book a places for the guided tours of the Casino Nobile tel. 06 82059127