Built by Cardinal Scipione Borghese at the beginning of the 17th century, it is surrounded by one of the most beautiful and largest historical parks in Rome: the Borghese Park. The “palazzina Borghese,” also called Villa Pinciana, because it is situated on Monte Pincio, is a sort of “shrine,” where Cardinal Scipione’s extraordinary private collection was housed. Moreover, it was conceived as a place for contemplating nature: rare plants, animals and fossil specimen.
A zoological garden completes this “Theater of the Universe,” as the cardinal’s contemporaries called it. The art collection is considered one of the most elegant and important private art collections in Italy. It includes fine examples of ancient sculptures, reliefs, mosaics and works of art that first, Cardinal Scipione, and later, family members collected and commissioned. Some of the most important artists of their time are represented here: Bernini, Caravaggio. In fact, the Baroque master, Bernini, began his successful career working for the Borghese cardinal. You will enjoy his earlier group sculptures of Apollo and Daphne, Pluto and Proserpina, Aeneas and Anchises, as well as his David. You will also see the paintings of many other Italian painters, Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael and Veronese as well as a number of Flemish painters such as Rubens. You will find Canova’s sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte Borghese as Venus Triumphant (1805-1808), a fascinating masterpiece of neo-Classical art. One of the most famous Rome galleries!
Leaving the museum, you will walk through the park passing by an aviary, fountains, lakes, statues and then the “false ruins” that were typical garden decorative elements in the 19th century. At the western edge of the park, you will reach the Pincio terrace. From this vantage point, you will marvel at one of the most spectacular views of Rome. A very rewarding experience indeed!