Villa Borghese is an expansive construct that was built at the behest of Cardinal Scipione Borghese by the architect Flaminio Ponzio. Cardinal Borghese had produced some sketches of what he envisioned as his “villa suburbana,” or party villa. It would be situated on the perimeter of the city and would house the sizable collection of art that the Borghese had begun to amass beginning in the early seventeenth century. The Villa Borghese now houses the Borghese Museums, properly referred to as the Galleria Borghese. Visitors to Rome now have the luxury of seeing some of the most important pieces of art produced throughout this vibrant period in the history of European art, all in one place. There are also a variety of Villa Borghese restaurants in Rome and plenty of accommodations in the area should you want to stay nearby the Borghese Museums.
Travelers must understand that the villa which houses the art is in many cases as impressive as the art itself, making the actual seventeenth-century home an attraction in and of itself. When you visit today, you can enter into rooms that contain early Baroque sculptures such as Bernini's David and Apollo and Daphne. There is a whole room dedicated to the work of Caravaggio as well. The interior design and elaborate decorations will keep your eyes wandering back and forth from the amazing art. Entrance to the Villa and the Galleria Borghese requires reserved tickets. People get two hours each between the operating hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the week.
Flaminio Ponzio brought the vision of Scipione Borghese to life, not only with the design and construction of the Villa Borghese, but also with the surrounding gardens, that are now quite distinctly a tourist attraction all on their own. The villa was a veritable paradise on earth on the outskirts of Rome, complete with nearly 150 acres of finely manicured gardens, and a variety of exotic birds roaming the grounds like ostriches, peacocks, and colorful cranes. Trickling streams also ran through the lush gardens where the Cardinal and his family would entertain. Although the residence was already a masterpiece on the outskirts of Rome, it was about to undergo a significant renovation, both the villa and the gardens.
The inspiration for the late eighteenth-century renovation came from Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese, who set out to convert the layout of the gardens to that of an English landscape garden. He also concentrated his efforts, along with the architect Antonio Asprucci, on renovating the, by the, outdated leather tapestries and other such decorations that remained from the remnants of medieval times. The Villa Borghese was brought up to modern standards, for luxuriant opulence that is, and more accurately reflected the major influence that the Borghese family exerted in Rome. Cardinal Scipione Borghese had been the earliest patron of Bernini and bought extensively from Caravaggio. These two artists and others including Raphael, Rubens, and Leonardo da Vinci are all on display.
It will be easy to find Villa Borghese restaurants in Rome, and plenty of cafes and bars to have a drink after exploring the museums. What will be hard is dragging yourself away from some of the most brilliant works of art, and beautifully sculpted gardens in all of Europe. The Borghese Museums have the double distinction of being world-class museums, and also the second largest park area in the city of Rome. When you visit, you can alternate from strolling in the gardens to perusing the various galleries in the Villa Borghese.
If you are planning a trip to Rome and are making a list of the potential attractions you are interested in seeing, the Villa Borghese is among the best things to do for art lovers. Be sure to keep an eye out for the alluring Villa Borghese restaurants in Rome as well.