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Borghese Gardens Hides The Delightful Villa Borghese

Jul 16, 2008
In some ways Rome is like any big city in the world because it is constantly on the go with outdoor activities for the citizens and visitors to the city. So when you visit Rome, the pace of seeing and enjoying such a busy metropolis can wear out even the most intrepid traveller. So to find that peace and quiet where you can still enjoy the best of Rome in a more tranquil setting, head to Villa Borghese.

While Villa Borghese is not the largest facility of its kind, the 148 acres has a lot to offer, including many museums, aviaries and a wonderful and relaxing artificial lake. In the 16th century Cardinal Borghese bought the vineyard and transformed it to fit his vision that was inspired by Versailles. The Cardinal himself drew the initial designs, sketching out a villa that he later saw constructed to fit his vision.

It was the 18th century that brought the artificial lake to Villa Borghese along with a wonderful small temple that is dedicated to the god of Healing.

Just as Cardinal Borghese took great pleasure in admiring the peacocks, ostriches and other exotic birds in the aviaries where gazelles once stayed, these birds are there for your enjoyment as well.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Villa Borghese was handed over to the city of Rome for a public park. Since then much has been done to improve the location, including the addition of a number of temples, many artistic fountains and many fine sculptures just as can be found in the city. When admiring the sculptures around the grounds, don't be surprised if you find the original Tritons exactly like the ones you saw at the Fountain of the Moor in the Piazza Novona. These sculptures at Villa Borghese are the originals for that fountain. The ones you see in the Piazza are replicas that were made in the 19th century.

This delightful 100 year old park offers delights and new things to discover whenever you are there. It is not uncommon at the appropriate time of year to find Siena Square in the park hosting horse jumping competitions that you can enjoy. There is a tranquil botanical garden for you to linger in and it is common to find outdoor concerts being performed at the Piazza di Siena Amphitheater. And not far from the botanical garden you can find a stunning Baroque arch that dates to the 18th century entitled the 'Arco di Settimio Severo'.

If you get a bit faint from hunger, not to worry, there is a small bar in the center of the Villa where you can find tasty and authentic Italian pasta or just sit back and recuperate your energies over a Campari. And when you are ready to move on, not far from the cafe are the pavilions that were shown at the 1911 Word Exposition.

Of the many great things to see and do at the Villa Borghese, probably the museums draw the most attention.

Naturally you will find a good representation of Bernini sculpture on display since that artist is the man most often credited with designing many of the outdoor fountains in Rome. The Museo e Galleria Borghese does not disappoint, so you can find such brilliant Bernini pieces as Bernini's Abduction of Proserpina by Pluto here. This gallery is well diversified with the artwork of a number of well respected artists including Titian and Raphael.

Another museum that gets a great deal of tourist attention is the Museo Nazionale Etrusco that is on display at the Villa Giulia. The Villa's name originated from the first owner of the property. Pope Julius II used it for his summer home starting in 1553. The name of the museum is accurate because inside you will find many artworks from the Etruscan collection that had been found during excavation near Rome.

It is easy to find the entrance to the Villa Borghese because it can be found just north of the Spanish Steps. Navigate to that location and you will find the entrance at the end of the Via Veneto and above Piazza del Poppolo and the Porta Pinciana. The Villa Borghese is a wonderful place to spend a morning and get that rest and quiet that is so helpful during a busy tourist schedule and to recover in time to go out for an exciting time exploring the Roman nightlife.
About the Author
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