The park in Rome's Villa Torlonia contains a fairytale house dedicated to owls.
Hidden away in the grounds of Villa Torlonia - off the tourist trail - is a remarkably unexpected building that seems to have fallen straight out of a fairytale.
Known as the Casina delle Civette, or the little house of the owls, this curious complex was designed originally, in 1840, as a "Swiss cabin" for Prince Alessandro Torlonia.
However the casina later underwent significant changes, transformed into the style of a "mediaeval hamlet" at the request of Prince Giovanni Torlonia the younger, who lived there until his death in 1938.
The building is a glorious homage to art nouveau, embellished with stained glass, mosaics, coloured ceramic tiles, mullioned windows and turrets dotted around its gables of varying heights.
Expect to marvel at its romantic motifs of owls, swans and peacocks - all bespoke creations - while the nooks and crannies of its beautifully restored interior are a delight to explore, particularly for children.
Visitors should note that although entry to the surrounding park is free, tickets for the Casina delle Civette must be bought at the Villa Torlonia palace, which is much nearer the main entrance than the little house of the owls.
Open Tues-Sun 09.00-19.00. For full visiting details see Villa Torlonia website.
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Casina delle Civette: Rome's House of the Owls
Via Nomentana, 70, 00161 Roma RM, Italia
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