Villa Torlonia
Via Nomentana 70 - 00161 Roma

Info and reservation :

Cooperativa IL SOGNO
Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. +39/06/85.30.17.58 - Fax +39/06/85.30.17.56
Email : service@romeguide.it

The Villa Torlonia was begun for the banker Giovanni Torlonia by the neo-Classic architect Giuseppe Valadier in 1806 and finished for his son Alessandro. After a period of disuse this was the state residence of Mussolini in the 1920s. He paid an annual rent of one lira. Mussolini and Prince Torlonia constructed a bomb shelter in the 3rd and 4th century Jewish catacombs that lie beneath the villa's famous landscaped park.
The Villa houses part of the Torlonia collection of neo-Classic sculpture. In the park is a kiosk in the Moorish taste, one of thirteen garden pavilions representing exotic parts of the world. Villa Torlonia, the most famous 'English' landscape garden in Italy, became a part of the public park system of Rome in 1978. The Villa was abandoned and allowed to decay in the decades following the war, but has recently been restored and opened to the public.

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Info and reservation :

Cooperativa IL SOGNO
Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. +39/06/85.30.17.58 - Fax +39/06/85.30.17.56
Email : service@romeguide.it

Jewish Catacomb in Villa Torlonia

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© Roma sotterranea 2006
Two separately-excavated catacombs unite to create an extensive ancient Jewish cemetery below the grounds of the public park of the "Villa Torlonia" on the via Nomentana northeast of Rome. The catacombs were discovered by accident in 1918 during work below the stables of Mussolini's residence; further excavations by the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology in 1973-1974 clarified their origins as separate hypogaea, incorporating also abandoned water conduits and other subterranean caverns. Epitaphs to non-Jews were recovered in the same area, but the vast majority of funerary material found in the catacomb excavations indicated that Jews had used the cemetery between the third and fifth centuries A.D.; the area, in fact, was known through the Middle Ages as the "Campo dei Giudey" (sic) or "field of the Jews" (not to be confused with that near the Porta Portese in Trastevere).

The Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma has sent notice that, at the present time, it is not possible to visit the Villa Torlonia Catacombs, even for study purposes. Serious complications over the presence of noxious gasses in the galleries and the conservation of paintings and other artifacts left in the site has delayed the project to re-open the catacombs to the public for well over a decade. The situation may soon change, thanks to generous funds provided by the World Monuments Fund and Samuel H. Kress Foundation to the Roma Capitale campaign for the conservation and documentation of the site by the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma in collaboration with an international team of scholars and other experts. A campaign to photograph many of the artifacts and topographical details in the catacombs was carried out by Dr. Silvia Dayan for the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma between 1989 and 1991.

For details about the current status of this project, and possible future access to the Villa Torlonia catacombs, one should contact the Office of the Archaeological Inspector for the via Nomentana region, Dr. Maria Rosaria Barbera at the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma, at the address provided above. A fairly recent article in the Italian magazine L'Espresso (May 4th, 2000) and a communication by Dr. Barbera at a conference on Jewish culture in Italy at Ravenna in May of 2001(in press) provide the general details on the catacombs and their restoration.

A successful conclusion to this planning and work will make available to scholars the full extent of material and information still contained in the catacombs. From a general perspective, however, these catacombs have been better studied than the other ancient Jewish cemeteries at Rome (!) New inscriptions and other artifacts discovered during the PCAS excavations are in the excavation report published in the Rivista di Archeologia Cristiana 52, 1976 by U. M. Fasola pp. 7-62; the full corpus of inscriptions from the Villa Torlonia catacombs is found in volume II of David Noy's sillogy of Jewish Inscriptions in Western Europe: The City of Rome (Cambridge, 1995), which also provides and English summary of Fasola's topographical study of the site.

© 2002 International Catacomb Society

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Info and reservation :

Cooperativa IL SOGNO
Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. +39/06/85.30.17.58 - Fax +39/06/85.30.17.56
Email : service@romeguide.it

Opening hours
From the last sunday in March until the 30th September: 9.00-19.00;
from the 1st March until the last Saturday of March and from the 1st October until the last Saturday of October: 9.00-17.30;
from the last Sunday of October until the 28th February: 9.00-16.30;
24th and 31st December: 9.00-14.00
(the ticket office closes fourty-five minutes prior to closing)
Closed Monday, 1st January, 1st May and 25th December

How to arrive

On public transport from Rome Termini Station
Go to bus stop TERMINI
Take line 90 (L.GO LABIA) to 4 stops
Get off at stop NOMENTANA/VILLA TORLONIA
Walk 200 metres on via Nomentana

On public transport from Rome Ostiense Station
Go to stop metropolitan station PIRAMIDE
Take METRO B (REBIBBIA) to 4 stops
Get off at stop TERMINI
Go to bus stop TERMINI
Take Line 90 (L.GO LABIA) to 4 stops
Get off at stop NOMENTANA/VILLA TORLONIA
Walk 200 metres on via Nomentana

On public transport from Fiumincino
Take Line FR1 (Settebagni) to 9 stops
Get off at stop NOMENTANA
Go to stop VAL D'AOSTA/STAZ.NE NOMENTANA
Take Line 84 (P.ZA VENEZIA) to 7 stops
Get off at stop NOMENTANA/VILLA PAGANINI
Walk 100 metres on via Nomentana

Museo delle Civette

A lift is available for the disabled.
A guide in Braille is available for visually impaired visitors on request from the Bookshop staff.

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Info and reservation :

Cooperativa IL SOGNO
Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. +39/06/85.30.17.58 - Fax +39/06/85.30.17.56
Email : service@romeguide.it

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Info and reservation :

Cooperativa IL SOGNO
Viale Regina Margherita, 192 - 00198 ROMA
Tel. +39/06/85.30.17.58 - Fax +39/06/85.30.17.56
Email : service@romeguide.it