A bit of history about the Borghese Gallery
The building that houses the Borghese Gallery is a work of the architect Flaminio Ponzio that for order of Cardinal Borghese began its construction in 1612. In 1613 Ponzio passed away and the works were finished by Giovanni Vasanzio (Jam van Santen) who projected the facade with a U shaped terrace and decorated the whole with niches, openings, classics statues and reliefs.
Between 1730 and 1800 Prince Marcoantonio IV Borghese ordered the redesign of the gardens in the English style and in 1775 under the direction of the architect Antonio Asprucci the sculptures and antiques of the Borghese were reordered according to a thematic criterion. At the end of the 18th century, the building was transformed into a genuine public museum.
In 1902, the Borghese family, unable to meet the maintenance costs of the villa, sold the collection to the Italian State and in 1903 the gardens of the Casina Borghese were segregated to be sold to the city hall of Rome, which made them a public park.
The building was completely restored between 1995 and 1997 by rebuilding the double staircase of the portico, as well as its interior.
What is the Borghese Gallery nowadays?
Currently the Borghese Gallery is located in the impressive gardens of the Borghese Villa and it is one of the most prestigious art museums of the world. The gallery is recognized throughout Europe as it exposes in its interior much of the collection that began Cardinal Scipione Borghese between 1576 and 1633.
This magnificent exhibition is located along both floors of the building and in about 20 rooms decorated. On the top floor there is a large gallery, rich in famous works such as the Venus Victoriana of 1805, known internationally as Paulina Bonaparte, the most famous piece of the museum and practically its symbol. The ground floor is mainly dedicated to sculpture and classical antiquities, however we can not fail to appreciate its striking mosaics and frescos decorating ceilings and walls that have been preserved over the years.
The museum houses an important collection of works by renowned artists such as Bernini, Tiziano, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens, Botticelli and Canova. The sculptures of Bernini and Canova that we can see in each room give the museum a touch of class and distinction.
Curiosities about the Borghese Gallery
Did you know that the history of Villa Borghese started at the beginning of 1600 with Cardinal Scipione who was nephew of Pope Pablo V? A famous Pope for having performed many public works in Rome, like the fountains known by his contemporaries as "Pontifex Maximus."
Did you know that in 1808 as a result of the deficit in the Borghese legacy, Prince Camillo Borghese, Napoleon's brother in law, sold several of the sculptures and antiquities to the emperor. For this reason, the Borghese Gladiator, one of the most admirable statues of the collection is currently in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Why visit the Borghese Gallery?
The Borghese Gallery in Rome is one of the most fascinating museums in Italy. It is located in an old palace of the XVII century and is the ideal setting for the exhibition of famous masterpieces in the world. The original collection was built by Cardinal Borghese, gifted with great artistic taste and exceptional intuition. The Cardinal was able to create a beautiful collection dedicated mainly to the expressions of ancient, renaissance and contemporary art.
One of the qualities of the Galleria Borghese is its compact and accessible character which allows visitors to go through it comfortably in about two hours.
Other attractions in the area
Two steps from the Borghese Gallery you will find the gardens of Villa Borghese located on the Pincian hill, between Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna. It is currently the third largest park in Rome with its 9 entrances of which 6 are monumental gates.
Piazza di Spagna with its famous stairways, Spanish Steps, built at the beginning of the 18th century, connect the square with the Church of Trinità dei Monti. This is one of the most popular squares in Rome and is located in one of the best areas of the city, Via dei Condotti, a famous street for shopping.
Very close to Piazza di Spagna, there is the Ara Pacis Museum which contains the Ara Pacis of Augustus, an ancient monument that was inaugurated in the year 9 BC.