Tuesday, July 7, 2020


Via Salaria 267

The actual area of the villa’s park is 150 hectares (370 acres) 3.4 times the size of the territory of Vatican City
It is the second public park in Rome in size after Villa Doria Pamphilj
In the 1600s it was a farm and the headquarters of the Collegio Irlandese (Irish College)
At the end of the 1700s it became the property of the Pallavicini princes and it was rearranged by the French architect Auguste de Chevalle Saint-Hubert (1755/98) as a landscape garden with the opening of geometric paths and small buildings like the Belvedere or the Cafehaus (Temple of Flora)

The park on various levels provided backgrounds and views congenial to the sensitivity of the Romantic period
In 1872 it was bought by the Italian royal family, the Savoy who transformed it since 1874 in an English country park by the landscape architect Emilio Richter
Richter moved about 25,000 m³ (20.2 acre feet) of land, created two lakes, built two large greenhouses for exotic species still existing and planted no less than 100,000 plants
Among the many varieties of plants and flowers in the park there are the rare dwarf palm and the aquatic fir from Tibet

“A typology that exploited and exalted the landscaped characteristics of the site, thoroughly reshaped by man. Determinants of this composition are alternating hollows and undulations of the land, with sudden forests by seemingly spontaneous open glades and trees in groups or isolated with the function of eye-catchers” (Sandro Santolini – Verdi Delizie, le ville, i giardini, i parchi storici del Comune di Roma)

In 1878 the villa was sold at preferential price to the administrator of the property of the royal family, Count Tellfner, who named it after his wife Ada
In 1904 Vittorio Emanuele III bought the villa again and it became a royal residence under the name VILLA SAVOIA (Savoy Villa) until 1946
It was in the Palazzina Reale of Villa Ada that Benito Mussolini was arrested on July 25, 1943 by order of King of Italy
At the fall of the monarchy, the villa was the subject of a long dispute, at the end of which a section (84 hectares - 207 acres - out of about 150 hectares - 370 acres - in total) remained private property of the Savoy later sold in different periods. It is the part that still retains traces of the eighteenth-century garden
The part by Via Salaria (34 hectares - 84 acres) was acquired to the public domain in 1957

Casino Pallavicini and Temple of Flora (Coffee-House)

Formerly known as Casino Calzamiglia. It is still inhabited by the heirs of the Savoy family
The monumental gate on Via Salaria dates back to 1795

“The Coffee-House stands out for architectural quality. (...) It testifies the imperial taste between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the new century. Its type, with pronaos and neoclassical façade, hides on the back an apse, which echoes the motif of the colonnade, overlooking an underlying basin shaped as an amphitheater with a central fountain in cast iron of the late-nineteenth century, the result of a romantic reshuffle of this place” (Sandro Santolini - Verdi Delizie, le ville, i giardini, i parchi storici del Comune di Roma)

Palazzina Reale

1873/74 with the supervision of the technical office of the Royal House Gennaro Petagna
The neo-Gothic tower was built by Emilio Richter to mask a water tank
In the years 1930/40 embellishments were added with the Secret Garden connected to the villa with new stairs adorned with statues and fountains
Now the building is home to the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

Royal Mews

Three buildings of which only the first towards south-west, the closest to the Palazzina Reale, was evidently designed as a stable in the years 1873/74 probably by Gennaro Petagna

Church of the Divine Love

Abandoned and badly damaged
The exterior dates back to the early 1800s, maybe designed by Fabio Puri De Marchis
Inside “Marble balustrade”, ALTAR in stucco and polychrome marble and “Crucifix” of the eighteenth century in papier-mâché
The building, however, is probably very ancient, identified in 1632 by Antonio Bosio as the CHURCH OF THE HOLY MARTYRS DARIA VIRGO AND CHRISTANTUS stoned, according to tradition in 257 under Valerian (253/260). Bosio identified two small buildings preexisting under the church, possibly dedicated to the two saints

Other houses

HOUSE TRIBUNA I, HOUSE TRIBUNA II, BARN now used as a riding center, HOUSE KNOWN AS “LA FINANZIERA” seat of the WWF and HOUSE OF MARES MOTHERS, so named because it was used for mares from the Quirinal Stables to give birth
In the south-west area of Villa Ada is the VILLA POLISSENA
On the hill now occupied by Forte Antenne was located the ancient city of ANTEMNAE (ante amnem = before the river), where the Aniene River joins the Tiber River
Inside the villa is visible the underground channel of the aqueduct AQUA VIRGO
In the area of the villa near Via Salaria were identified the catacombs of Trasone and of Priscilla


Via Aurelia Antica 12

About 1739 from a project by Alessandro Galilei (1691/1737) for the Cardinal Ferroni

In 1792 it was bought by the Duke Giovanni Torlonia
Later it belonged to the Valentini family and to the Giraud family

In 1849 it suffered serious damage during the siege of Rome by French troops

In 1854 it was bought by Filippo Andrea V Doria Pamphili who had it restored by Andrea Busiri Vici (1818/1911)

In 1863 it was bought by Bettino Ricasoli (1809/80), the mayor of Florence, and the second Prime Minister of Italian history in chronological order after Cavour
Bettino Ricasoli was also the inventor of the formula for the vinification of the Chianti wine: the product specification drawn up by him is still followed today with few changes

In 1907 the villa was bought by the Russian prince Lazarew Abamelek who had it restored by Vincenzo Monaldi and expanded to a total area of about 27 hectares (67 acres)
In 1914 prince Abamelek left it to the Academy of Russia in Rome and now it is the residence of the Russian ambassador


Corso Francia

1958/60 Vittorio Cafiero (1901/81), Adalberto Libera (1903/63), Amedeo Luccichenti (1907/63), Vincenzo Monaco (1911/69) and Luigi Moretti (1907/73)

Structures by Pier Luigi Nervi (1891/1979) and his son Antonio Nervi

“The international area in which attention for Nervi’s work grew faster was the United States of America. If the image of Nervi emerging from American journalism was that of a great architect-builder heir to a centuries-old tradition, whose method of work seemed to owe much to intuition and to artisan-like skills, in those same years, in Italy, two major events - the Olympics in Rome in 1960 and the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of national unity in Turin in 1961 - led to the contrary the name of Nervi in the foreground as a synonym for a constructive and technological modernization worth of representing the rapid transformation of the country” (Filippo De Pieri - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

1958/59 by Luigi Moretti