Rome - amazing villas, palm trees and colorful glass

We arrived in Rome at noon on a fast train from Napoli that was only 6 minutes late, hurray! So much for lowered expectations...

The closer we walked to our hotel, the bigger and more elaborate the houses got.

What you see when you walk out of the hotel door. Yeah, we were living in the slums...
We hadn't made any plans for the day, but with the entrance to the Villa Torlonia park just a few meters down the street, this was a no-brainer.

The park is really beautiful with lots of palms, pine trees and the occasional obelisk.
Fountain palm!

One of several houses that the Torlonia family built here. It's like walking through a "pick your dream house" catalogue!
The Owl House - pictures from the inside a little further down.

We didn't get closer to this one, but it's so pretty.
The hidden one
We took a lunch beak in the park's garden restaurant La Limonaia where I got my beloved Lemonsoda - in front of a little lemon tree.
Casino delle Nobile - we bought museum tickets and and rented an audio guide to go on a tour of this and the Owl house and it was so worth it! 
The Torlonias were really rich and had the money to design every room in a different style. This is just a humble side room by the entrance.
The bath - painted after the ancient Roman fashion we saw the day before in Herculaneum.
A painted ceiling
The ball room, such beauty and opulence!

From one room to the next
Hercules room
View to the park
The Egyptian room - depicting scenes from the lives of Cleopatra and Marcus Antonius
Having a seat
There were many more spectacular rooms. If you go to Rome, I very much recommend a visit!

Clouds had gathered over the city and gave the scenery a dramatic look as we walked over to the Owl House - la Casina delle Civette.
Outside view of the swallow window that we later saw from the inside.
Eclectic is the word again!
This building's main feature are the stained glass windows, mostly in Art Deco style, showing plants and birds. There are also framed sketches of window designs on the walls.

The Owl, one of the recurring elements in the house.
Not a window per se, more a work of art in glass. There used to be exhibitions and contests for stained glass art in Rome.
"The Idol"
The Rose room
Many rooms have tile floors or mosaics to match the windows, like this one.
Ivy on the floor and in the window
This must be my favorite - it takes my breath away every time I look at it!
You can concentrate on each of the three elements separately - the swallows, the cloudy sky, the branches - and find new beauty every time.
OK, these peacocks are not too shabby either!
Our last stop, the Casino dei Principi.
We only took a quick tour because it was starting to rain outside. The ground floor had a little exhibition of opera costumes and sketches for stage and costume designs.
The rest of the building showed paintings by Oppo. 

We hurried back to the hotel through the light rain and spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our room so that we would be fresh for the next day.