Rome truly has it all – beaches, parks, fountains, ancient ruins, museums, galleries, access to Vatican City and vast collection at Vatican Museum, Pieta, many churches and places I could climb too… All the things I am always after when going away. Perhaps this is why I would be more than tempted to come back.
We were lucky to have the whole week just for Rome – no, I am not saying this is enough, but it was plenty. We suffered every night after our intensive exploring but we enjoyed it even more. We had countless cups of coffee as whenever you buy it, it tastes divine!
White wine in a jug from a beach cafe and fresh pizza with jamon Serrano and cheese – I could not stop eating pizza in Rome as I could not stop eating sea food when we went to Portugal.
Rome is predictable with its most famous sights but has some hidden gems too. I have heard about Coliseum, Forum Romano, Fontanne de Trevi and Spanish Steps, we even went to see Ponte Milvio and we left our lock there too!
But few days before we travel to Rome I was told to visit Villa Borghese Park and quite unusual gallery there. You have to book your tickets in advance, you are not allowed to take any pictures inside and you have only 1 hour for your visit – this made me wanting to go there no matter what, as with this kind of restrictions it must have been very interesting place!
The park itself is vast (80 hectare) and supply the old city with clean and fresh air all year round. Countless numbers of ponds and fountains, villas and art you can stumble upon during your stroll.
Beautiful place for a walk and catching your breath, great to have a picnic in and enjoy your lunch break if you lucky to work nearby. Rome is lucky to have it!
The historyof this biggest public park in Rome is quite interesting too. In XVI century it was a vineyard but at the beginning of XVII century cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of Pope Paul V, change it into a park.
It was first park in Rome designed by Landscaper Domenico Savino da Montepulciano. The Villa was designed by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, who used the sketch from the cardinal himself. The first design of the park was rather formal and full of geometric shapes, very nit and tidy but later on more natural way was adapted, changing the area into light and enjoyable place.
At the end of XVII century park gained an artificial lake and a small island with Ionic temple, dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing.
The park became public in 1903 when the city of Rome bought it from Borghese family.
The Museo e Galleria Borghese has a quite beautiful collection of sculptures by Canova and Bernini, including ‘Abduction of Proserpina by Pluto’. You will find many paintings by several masters including Titian, Rubens and Raphael.
The settings are quite cute and romantic, as you are ushered to use your allocated time to the full. This is what makes a big difference between visiting huge museum with vast collection on display and small place like Villa Borghese – the feel of intimacy is quite capturing. Furthermore – this place was a home for someone once and as it was converted into a museum – it is still holding lovely homely feel. You are captured by not only art but by rooms themselves, tastefully designed for living and not changed that much later. You will stumble upon beautiful mosaics as well as paintings and statues from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. This place is a real treasure hosting the collection started by Cardinale Scipione Borghese.
Cardinale collection grew up to 800 paintings dating from the Renaissance to the Baroque. It includes important and ancient sculptures and an impressive real estate assets. Some of them were later on sold, some were kept for us to enjoy them today.
If you are in Rome, do not give this place a miss – book here to avoid disappointment and then have a pleasant afternoon in the park, before you rush to admire other great sights in Rome!