Villa Borghese: 148 Acres Of Tranquil Rome Delight

by Ava Kammer

It is a characteristic of a lively metropolitan city like Rome to have an active and energetic outdoor life. So when you are a tourist in Rome, the fast paced city lifestyle is thrilling to be a part of. But before long the time will come when you will want the peace and quiet of the country. And there is no better place to find that tranquillity than in Villa Borghese.

While at only 148 acres, the Villa Borghese is not the largest facility of its kind, it has a lot to offer including museums, aviaries and a lovely artificial lake. The origin of the facility dates to the 16th century when Cardinal Borghese created the park using geometric landscaping to capture some of the feel he had experienced at Versailles. In fact, the basic design of the villa was based on a sketch by the Cardinal that the developers used to create the park.

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.

Cardinal Borghese’s love of birds is reflected in his aviaries at the site where he could keep and enjoy exotic peacocks, ostriches and other lovely species on the grounds where gazelles used to graze.

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.

For 100 years the Villa Borghese has welcomed the public to enjoy the many delights it contains. There are numerous seasonable events you may come across on your visit, including horse jumping events in Siena Square. The beautiful Piazza di Siena amphitheater commonly is used for outdoor concerts which you can take in before touring the botanical gardens. And take time to admire the lovely Baroque 18th century arch called the ‘Arco di Settimio Severo’.

If you feel your appetite come up, you don’t have to leave Villa Borghese to attend to your need as there is a quaint bar in the middle of the park where you can get some authentic Italian pasta or just sit back and enjoy a leisurely Campari. As you lounge in the cafe, you may be able to spot an installation of several pavilions from the 1911 World Exposition that is on display in the park for you to enjoy.

Without fail though, most tourists are drawn to the many museums that have become popular on the grounds of Villa Borghese.

One reason for the popularity is you can find some sculptures by Bernini on display at The Museo e Galleria Borghese and you can compare those here to the many fountains in the city of Rome that Bernini designed and built. A notable piece that is worth the stop is a Bernini sculpture entitled Abduction of Proserpina by Pluto. But this gallery is home to a number of famous Renaissance painters, including Raphael and Titian.

The original summer residence for Pope Julius II that he used in 1553 can be found in the Villa Giulia. The name of that villa, the Museo Nazionale Etrusco lets us know that a tour of the museum will let us see some fascinating Etruscan art works that were found in excavations in the hills that surround Rome.

It is not hard to find the entrance to Villa Borghese as they are located north of the Spanish Steps. Look between the Porta Pinciana at one end of the Via Veneto and the Piazza del Poppolo and you will find the entrance to the park. You will be glad you did because spending a few hours in the Villa Borghese is fun, relaxing and a great way to continue sightseeing in a more tranquil environment. After passing an afternoon in this scenic park, you will be ready to get back to the city for a busy touring schedule or a fast paced social time in the exciting world of Rome’s nightlife.

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