7 days in Rome and Pompei
Our 2nd day in town we had plans to head west — towards the beautiful Borghese Park. On our way there, we stopped by the Spanish Steps, an area famous for it’s shops and people watching, to browse the area. The steps were about a quarter mile from our apartment, leading to us spending a lot of time relaxing here between adventures.
After picking up a picnic basket (more on that later) we walked up to the entrance to Borghese Park. The park entrance sits at the peak of the a hill overlooking much of Rome — a great place to lookout at the city from. The park itself was scattered with interesting buildings, fountains, a theater in the round and quite a but more to look at. In our case though, we had a picnic to eat and a museum to tour.
At the foot of the Spanish Steps is GiNa, a small restaurant that offers sandwiches and other lunch fare. They also offer one unique item — picnic baskets to go. We carried our basic over to the a quiet spot on the park in front of a fountain and enjoyed a great meal.
My favorite stop on our entire trip was our stop at Villa Borghese, a small museum in the heart of Rome. This museum isn’t just any museum. It’s entrance is limited to a small number of people each day who pre-purchase tickets, guaranteeing a smaller crowd. The history of the museum itself is long and interesting in its own rite. Ownership of the museum has been in the hands of Bonapartes, Roman families and throughout it all the Borghese family which has kept the legacy alive.
Image going to Versailles, but with smaller rooms with more famous artwork/sculptures and fewer people.
To say this place has an impressive selection of paintings might be an understatement. I can’t say I recognized many of the actual works, but every room was littered with works by artists I had heard of. The rooms were small, like walking through someones house. You would pass by the fireplace and have the small bedroom to yourself to admire the works.
The two higher floors store all of the paintings, while the first and second floor host what it possibly the greatest collection of sculptures in the world.
Aenas, Anchises and Ascanius - Bernini
One of many Bernini sculptures.
The Rape of Prosperpina
“The Rape of Proserpina” is another amazing work by Bernini made when he was only 23 years old. It focuses on Prosperpina being taken into the underworld by Pluto.
Truth Unveiled by Time - Bernini
“Truth Unveiled by Time” is an unfinished work by Bernini. I spent a while staring at this one, trying to understand Bernini’s process. The unfinished hands, the etching on the chair awaiting more work and the ball at the bottom all needed much more work to complete.
All Things Fall Zeotrope
Where we spent possibly the most time was watching an amazing zoetrope over and over.
Venus Victorious - Antonio Canova
This striking statue, sitting alone in the middle of a room, is titled “Venus Victorious” by Antonio Canova. Its model is a former owner of the museum — Paolina Borghese.
David - Bernini
This version of David by Bernini depicts the moment just before David slew Goliath. I couldn’t stand immediately in front of this sculpture without fearing that I was in the line of fire.
Apollo and Daphne - Bernini
The most amazing sculpture to both Marilyn and I was “Apollo and Daphne” by Bernini. When you look for the works Bernini is most famous for, this one stands out — and with good reason. There is story, depth, and skill beyond compare showcased in this work. This sculpture takes place at the moment of transition when Daphne, being chased by Apollo, is turning into a tree.