Villa Borghese, Rome
The great families of Papal Rome had their palaces in the city and their villas in the country, which might be just outside the city or even further afield, sometimes as far away as the Alban Hills. It is always necessary in Rome, therefore, to distinguish between the palazzo and the villa associated with a particular family name. The Borghese family, which produced Pope Paul V (1605-21), several cardinals and other important figures, had this villa built on the outskirts of Rome for Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese in 1613-16.
Villa Borghese Map
Transit: Metro: Flaminio and Piazza di Spagna (line A); Bus: 3, 52, 53, 490, 495, 510; Tram: 19, 19b, 30, 30b.
Villa Borghese Highlights
Museo e Galleria Borghese
At the east end of the gardens is the Borghese (by Giovanni Vasanzio, 1612-15), which now houses the Museo e Galleria Borghese, with the collection of antiquities assembled by Cardinal Scipione Borghese.The ground floor has a loggia of five arcades, over which is a large open terrace. The art-loving Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a great collector of antiquities, also commissioned work from contemporary artists. His collection of antiquities formed the basis of the Borghese Museum - though during the Napoleonic period Camillo Borghese was compelled to sell some works to the Louvre. At the beginning of the 20th century the collection of pictures was formed into the Borghese Gallery. The five fragments of a mosaic pavement from Torrenuova, contained in the richly decorated entrance hall, date from the fourth century and show gladiator contests and hunting scenes. The Baroque ceiling frescoes, by Mariano Rossi, represent "Camillus after the parley with Brennus, commander of the Gallic army" and "Allegory of Time". Outstanding works of sculpture in the museum include Canova'a figure of Pauline Borghese as Venus (1805); David with his sling (1623-24), commissioned from Bernini by Scipione Borghese; Apollo and Daphne, a masterpiece by Bernini, depicting the transformation of Daphne into a laurel-bush to save her from pursuit by Apollo; the Rape of Prosperina, also by Bernini (1621-22); the Sleeping Hermaphrodite (a Roman copy of a Greek original); Aeneas with his father Anchises, by Gian Lorenzo and Pietro Bernini (also son and father) and Bernini's Truth revealed by Time.The picture collection includes works by Raphael (among them an Entombment), Botticelli, Pinturicchio, Perugino, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Sodoma, Dürer, Lotto, Domenichino ("Diana the Huntress"), Caravaggio (Madonna dei Palafrenieri), Rubens, Correggio (Danae), Bernini, Bassano, Van Dyck, Titian (Sacred and Profane Love), Bellini, Paolo Veronese and Antonello da Messina (Male Portrait).
There is a small zoological garden in the park, built in 1911 and modeled on the Hamburg zoo. The enclosures reflect the animals' natural habitat as closely as possible. The zoo is still a popular attraction, even though the enclosures are outdated and in process of renovation.