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Visiting Galleria Borghese: the most famous art collection in Rome

Galleria Borghese Rome

Plan your visit of Borghese Gallery in Rome

Surrounded by an 85-hectares garden right in the centre of Rome, Villa Borghese has a collection of pieces of art of inestimable value that have been put together mostly by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, starting from 1605. To get through the 20 exhibition rooms with sumptuously decorated walls and ceilings, I recommend the Villa Borghese tour of the Galleria Borghese Museum and its famous art collection in Rome.

The most important names in art

Among the many artists that enrich this unique art collection in Rome with their works, there are the most representative names of the 17th century. Firstly, the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which was sponsored by Cardinal Scipione Borghese at the beginning of his career and for whom Bernini created many sculptures still in the Borghese Gallery. The Rape of Prosperina and the David are two amazing examples of the long list of works realized by this artist.

Rape Of Proserpina in Galleria Borghese in Rome

A creation of Antonio Canova, which is often hosted in the most famous museums of the world, is shown off too in the Borghese Gallery: the portrait of Pauline Bonaparte, married to Camillo Borghese, as Venus Victrix is just incredible in all the details carved in the marble.

The paintings of the Borghese Gallery

Michelangelo Merisi, aka Caravaggio, painted ‘David with the head of Goliath’ in 1609 for Cardinal Scipione to try to obtain from his uncle, Pope Paul V, the grace for the murder of Ranuccio Tomassoni. This is only one of the curiosities behind the creations of this inimitable artist. Inside the Borghese Gallery, there are also his ‘Madonna dei Palafrenieri’ and 2 paintings of the Greek god Bacchus, in one of which Caravaggio portraited himself.

Caravaggio is not the only one artist housed in the Gallery. Inside Borghese Gallery you could admire Tiziano’s ‘Sacred and profane love’, Correggio’s portrait of Danae, which is a part of a series of paintings of Jupiter’s loves, and one of Antonello da Messina’s portraits; along with Domenichino’s ‘Hunting of Diana’, which was firstly stolen by the Cardinal from the artist while in prison and then reimbursed to him, there is Raffaello with his ‘Deposition of Christ’, stolen in 1608 from the Baglioni Chapel in St. Francis Church in Perugia with the complicity of the Friars, and the ‘Portrait of young woman with unicorn’.

The deposit and garden of the Villa Borghese

In a separated part of Villa Borghese, there is also a deposit of 260 paintings which are ordered for painting schools and thematic areas and can be discovered by paying a specific ticket. This exhibition is worth a visit as well as the temporary expositions that are programmed every year in the rooms of Villa Borghese.

Villa Borghese in Rome

Finally, while walking around the garden, don’t miss the temple of Asclepius, on the little island in the artificial lake, the Water clock, the Fountain of the seahorses and the temple of Diana. There are also many commemorative monuments dedicated to the famous writers Goethe, Victor Hugo and Lord Byron.

Photo credit: Rape of ProserpinaVilla Borghese

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