Located inside Rome’s second biggest park, you will find the estate of one of the most powerful families that set the artistic taste in the city. Cardinal Scipione Borghese, Pope Paul V’s nephew, had a villa built in 1613 in his family estate just outside the gates Rome. It had a pleasure garden of the kind that had become famous during the Renaissance and whose archetype can be seen at Villa d’Este in Tivoli. It had paths in the green, fountains, tombstones and of course ancient statues and architectural works. In the middle of this garden there was a casino where Cardinal Borghese had started collecting antiquities and ancient archeological findings. But the Cardinal, who had very sophisticated tastes and a very fine knowledge in the arts, kept adding pieces to his already fabulous collection. He was friends with some of the most important and talented artists of his time, including Bernini and Caravaggio, whom he sponsored, paid and protected like a new Mecenate. Cardinal Scipione Borghese was enthusiastic about art and the collection kept expanding.
The private villa becomes a museum
Built during the XVII century to be a museum you will revisit the rooms created to launch the Baroque style in Rome. Our guide will take you through the process of creation of the gallery’s main masterpieces, giving you details about the artists whose works are collected here, about their time, and Scipione Borghese’s ruthless passion for art. Fully reopened in the late 1990s after a 14-year restoration, the Borghese Gallery is a must visit for lovers of classical statues and mosaics, Renaissance paintings, and most of the finest marble sculptures of the Baroque era. We will also take you on a walk around the beautiful grounds of Villa Borghese, where you will witness the change from a private secret garden to a public city park and finally arrive to the Pincian hill for a breathtaking view of Rome.