Friday, October 1, 2010

Villa Borghese Tour

A visit around the most beautiful park of Rome, let’s go together, walking, jogging, by segway, by bike, or even with a golfcar. Send me a e-mail, I will give you all the information possible. Here is a small introduction for you about the park and its history.
In the heart of the city, between the Aurelian Walls and the modern areas of Parioli and Flaminio, close to the most important monuments of Rome but far away from the noises of traffic and of the modern and expanding urban metropolis, the Villa Borghese park occupies 80 hectares of green area.
Today the park is mainly organized as an English garden, commissioned by the Borghese princes and created in 1773 by the genius of the Scottish artist Jacob More together with the Roman architect Camporese. The park, before becoming public in 1902, was for almost two centuries the private summer resort and vineyard of the family (Borghese).
Villa Borghese is mainly a creation of Cardinal Scipione Borghese Caffarelli and a result of his taste for beauty. Scipione, nephew of Pope Paul V, shortly after his uncle settled on the papal throne, started to buy lands with the intention of creating a garden of delights for him and his guests, a place for his own pleasure but also a symbol of the social status of the family.
Originally, Italian gardens with antique sculptures surrounded the beautiful Casino Borghese, built by the architects Flaminio Ponzio and Giovanni Vasanzio and modelled on the example of the villas of classic Rome. The structure was thought to be used as a museum where to show his own marvellous collection of antique Roman and Greek marbles. In 1633, the park was substantially completed and it did not undergo any major changes until 1766, when prince Marc Antonio Borghese undertook a detailed program of renovations combining elements of neoclassical style of French taste with picturesque architectural elements of fake ruins reminding the Ancient Roman power, typical of the English conception of beauty of the century.
Thus, the gardens were decorated with new precious elements like fountains, new buildings and even a lake, giving the park new and atmospheric viewpoints and prospects. The casino was also redecorated in the XVII century under the direction of Antonio Asprucci and with several other genius artists becoming, together with the park, one of the most famous attractions for the noble and important travellers coming from all of Europe for their Grand Tour.
Unfortunately, between 1801 and 1806 Camillo Borghese, Paolina Bonaparte’s husband, sold many ancient sculptures and paintings of the family collection to Napoleon, many of which never came back and are now shown at the Louvre in Paris.
Further enlargements took place in the nineteenth century with the acquiring of new plots of lands near Porta Pinciana and Piazza del Popolo, which were annexed to the original park by architect Luigi Canina, who took care of the extension project. He added new innovative architectonical solutions like the famous Propilei and the Roman Arch. The park became one of the most loved shelters for romans and foreigners who could, paying a ticket, enter the park, admire the monuments hidden in the nature and take part in the spectacular events organized for visitors, like flamboyant and colourful fireworks, watergames in the fountains or in the lake and horse races.
In 1901, the Italian State acquired the entire monumental complex, the Villa Borghese with the Casino and its art pieces and the Pincian side on Piazza del Popolo, and gave it in 1903 to the city of Rome, transforming the ancient delight garden of the Borghese family in the first public garden of the city.
We remind you that the garden also houses one of the most famous and visited museums of the city: the Galleria Borghese, where it is possible to admire paintings and sculptures made by some of the most important artists of art history like Rafael, Titian, Caravaggio and Bernini, surrounded by outstanding decorations like spectacular frescoes and stuccoes and powerful mosaics and sculptures of the Roman times.

© Christiaan Santini

-Practical informations-
Days and timetables are subject to change depending on your wishes and the opening hours of the monuments
Languages:           italian / english / español / nederlands
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About Us

Christiaan Santini, Rome, Italy / - Tour Designer, Tour Guide, Tour Manager / Official Tour Guide license issued by the Regional Administration of Rome (nr. 4545) / p.iva: 12307641006 / c.f.: sntcrs79e19h501o / Nationality: Italian-Dutch

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