Rome - from Piazza della Repubblica to Villa Borghese

MAY 07,2014 - MAY 07,2014 (1 DAYS)

Italy

1 DAYS

Citywalk

From Piazza della Repubblica to Villa Borghese:

Highlights: Fontana delle Naiadi, Santa Maria degli Angeli, Museo Nazionale Romano, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Santa Susanna, Quattro Fontane, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Piazza del Quirinale, Palazzo Barberini, Piazza Barberini, Via Veneto, Santa Maria della Concezione, Porta Pinciana, Parco della Villa Borghese, Museo e Galleria Borghese, Piazza Bucarest, Belle Arti, Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia.

Start: Repubblica Metro station. Be careful crossing the street in this area.

End: Piazza del Popolo / Piazza Villa Giulia.

Weather: The park of Villa Borghese deserves nice weather. Otherwise - any weather is good.

The itinerary:

Piazza della Repubblica is next to the Termini station. Piazza della Repubblica, once called piazza dell'Esedra (a name still in use by many elderly people), is one of Rome's busiest spots, a wide crossing located very close to Rome's central train station, former site of the huge Baths of Diocletian, whose surviving exedra gave the place its old name. This piazza is not a tourist attraction but still worth of visiting. The fountain is quite famous, and there are some nice restaurants around this area. You can easily get connected to other part of the city from the Metro station. From the square starts one of the main streets of Rome, Via Nazionale. The porticos around the piazza, built in 1887–98  were in memory of the ancient buildings on the same sites, while the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri on the piazza is based on a wing of the baths of Diocletian (with its architect Michelangelo). Be there early in the morning or end your day here, get something to drink and sit where the fountain is and just enjoy the view and the noise of the water:

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Fountain of the Naiads: The fountain in this square was originally connected to the aqua Marcia aqueduct and commissioned in this site by Pope Pius IX in 1870. Completed in 1888, it originally showed four chalk lions designed by Alessandro Guerrieri. These were then replaced in 1901 with sculptures of Naiads by Mario Rutelli from Palermo. The Naiads represented by 4 Nymphs: the Nymph of the Lakes (recognisable by the swan she holds), the Nymph of the Rivers (stretched out on a monster of the rivers), the Nymph of the Oceans (riding a horse symbolising of the sea), and the Nymph of the Underground Waters (leaning over a mysterious dragon). In the centre is Rutelli's group (1911/12), symbolizing the dominance of the man over natural force and replacing a previous sculpture:

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There is very nice Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs) here in one side of the Piazza, made of red/yellow bricks. In 1911 the facade of the Basilica was returned to the original brick structure so that it would be more in keeping with the interior of the ancient Baths.

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On 28 February 2006 the 2 old wooden doors were replaced by 2 bronze ones by the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj. This was his final work and is considered one of the most important pieces of sculpture of recent decades. Overlooking the Esedra Square the door to the right, with it's back to the fountain depicts the Mystery of the Annunciation by the Angel to the Virgin Mary: the Angel is on high on the left panel with the Virgin Mary listening down below on the right panel. The door on the left portrays the Resurrection: the left panel depicting the Risen Christ who is represented by the figure of a man with a Cross engraved on his body, symbolising Christ's sharing in us:

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The basilica is dedicated to the Christian martyrs, known and unknown. By a brief dated 27 July 1561, Pope Pius IV ordered the church "built", to be dedicated to the Most Blessed Virgin and all the Angels and Martyrs.
It was also a personal monument of Pope Pius IV, whose tomb is in the apsidal tribune that culminates the series of spaces. Michelangelo worked from 1563 to 1564 to adapt a section of the remaining structure of the baths to enclose a church. At Santa Maria degli Angeli, Michelangelo achieved an unexampled sequence of shaped architectural spaces with few precedents or followers. There is no true facade; the simple entrance is set within one of the coved apses of a main space of the baths. The great vaulted transept gives a striking display of the magnificent scale of Roman constructions, 91 meters long, Michelangelo made the transept 27 meters wide, thus providing vast cubical spaces at each end of the transept. Santa Maria degli Angeli was the official state church during the Kingdom of Italy (1870-1946). More recently, national burials have been held in the church. The church hosts the tombs of General Armando Diaz and Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel, who were the commanders responsible for winning World War I on the Italian front.Also today the Basilica is used for many ceremonies, included the funeral of soldiers killed abroad. The walls of this enormous building arise from waters heated by a sophisticated system which uses the heat from the rays of the sun and underground passages to enable the flow of water. The passageways are made from bricks which retain heat. The imposing presence of the baths can still be seen through the eight original rose pillars of granite. They measure 14m in height and are more than one and a half metres in diameter. You can easily spend hours here. But you can also get a sense of it in ten minutes:

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The Chapel of San Bruno now houses the great mechanical organ of Formentelli from the Millenium Jubilee. It was a gift to Pope John Paul II from the city of Rome . The organ has an impressive 77 ranges, 3 attachments, a total of 5400 pipes, 4 keyboards and pedals:

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The Chapels which focus on the theological themes of the crucifixion of Christ, His death and His resurrection and His appearance to Mary Magdalene are surrounded by funereal monuments made in the style of Michelangelo. They are of important artistic and ecclesiastical figures who serve to remind us of the immortality of life, of the arts and of the act of charity:

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The Meridian Line in Santa Maria degli Angeli is a combination of science and faith. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, Pope Clement XI commissioned the astronomer, mathematician, archaeologist, historian and philosopher Francesco Bianchini to build a meridian line, a sort of sundial, within the basilica and it was completed in 1702. The meridian line was restored in 2002 for the 300 years anniversary of its construction, and it is still operational today. From around 10:54 AM in late October to 11.24 AM February - the sun shines through a small hole in the wall to cast its light on this line each day. The ray of light moves slowly along pursuing the path of the sun. It follows the long straight line which cuts through 44m of the floor of the Basilica. After overlapping the line briefly it passes over and begins to slowly move away. The projection of light announces the arrival of midday. Try to go on a sunny day when you can see it in action:

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The Polish-born sculptor Igor Mitoraj (who created the new bronze doors) made as well as a statue of John the Baptist for the basilica:

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In April 2010, a five metres high bronze statue of Galileo Galilei Divine Man (designed by 1957 Nobel laureate Tsung-Dao Lee) was unveiled in a courtyard within the complex. The statue was a donation from China Center of Advanced Science and Technology and World Federation of Scientists:

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The Museo Nazionale Romano houses one of the most important collections in the world of ancient Greek and Roman art. Open every day from 9.00 to 19.45.Last admission at 19.00. Closed Mondays (except Easter Monday and during the "Culture Week"), 25 December, 1 January.
Tickets: Single ticket valid for 3 days at 4 sites (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Baths of Diocletian - where we are now) - Full price: € 7.00, Reduced price: € 3.50 for European Union citizens ages 18 to 24 and for European Union teachers. Free: Visitors 17 and under and European Union citizens over 65. Your ticket covers all four museums/buildings. The audio guide, which costs £5, is yours to enjoy but only for 2 hours! You will be fined £5 if you don't return it within 2 hours. The nicest thing about this museum is that all the exhibits have explanations in both Italian and English.

The collection is divided into 4 distinct buildings (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Baths of Diocletian). Two of them are near Piazza della Repubblica.

The most ancient part of the collection is housed in the Terme di Diocleziano (Via E. de Nicola 78) complex (where Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri stands) - in its most eastern edge. Turn RIGHT from the front of the Basilica and walk along the iron bench. Original seat of the Museo Nazionale Romano (National Roman Museum) since its institution in 1889, the Baths and the Charterhouse are currently undergoing a restoration process that has thus far permitted the reopening of a part of the monumental complex and of the two sections of such a composite museum, the Section of Proto-history of the Latin Peoples and the Epigraphic Section, this one pertaining to Written Communication in the Roman World. Arranged on the second floor of Michelangelo’s Cloister, the Protohistoric Section of the National Roman Museum collects the archaeological testimonies of the most ancient stages of the culture emerged all over ancient Latium in the Late Protohistory from 11th-10th centuries to the early 6th century BCE (end of the Bronze Age, Early Iron Age and Orientalizing period). The Roman National Museum boasts one of the most important and rich epigraphic collection of the world with a holding of some 10.000 inscriptions. Note: Aula Ottagona is currently closed.

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Armor and weapons found in a 5th century BC tomb:

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Christ as the Good Shepherd an AD 4th century marble engraving:

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The courtyard of the branch of the Museum housed at the Baths of Diocletian:

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The second building of the Roman Museum is Palazzo Massimo - built in the 19th century (Largo di Villa Peretti 1). From the Piaza della Repubblica continue onto Via delle Terme di Diocleziano, 140 m. Via delle Terme di Diocleziano turns slightly left and becomes Largo Villa Peretti, 50 m. Turn right onto Piazza dei Cinquecento and the Palace is on the right. This nineteenth-century palace in Neo-Renaissance style, close to the Termini Train Station, houses one of the world's most important collections of Classical art. On the four floors of the museum, sculptures, frescoes and mosaics, coins and jewels document the evolution of the Roman artistic culture from the late Republican age through Late Antiquity (2nd c. BCE - 5th c. CE) along an exhibition path in which Ancient Roman history, myths and everyday life live anew. In the rooms of the ground floor are exhibited splendid Greek originals discovered in Rome such as the Boxer at Rest,

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the Hellenistic Prince and the Dying Niobid from the Horti Sallustiani (Gardens of Sallust):

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as well as portraiture of the Republican and Imperial ages, culminating in the statue of Augustus Pontifex Maximus (High Priest).

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On the first floor are displayed celebrated masterpieces of statuary, among them being the Lancellotti Discobolus (Discus Thrower), the Maiden of Antium and the Hermaphroditus Asleep, as well as magnificent sarcophagi such as the Sarcophagus of Portonaccio, with a battle scene carved in high relief. On the second floor, frescoed walls and pavement mosaics document the domestic decor of prestigious Roman dwellings.

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The basement houses the sizeable numismatic collection, besides grave ornaments, jewels and the Grottarossa Mummy:

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We return to Piazza della Repubblica. We recommend using the restrooms in the Grand Hotel - in the north side of the square:

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Behind the Grand Hotel we head north-west from the Repubblica Square onto Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. Continue straight onto Piazza di San Bernardo, 7 m. Slight right onto Largo Santa Susanna (parking lot), 24 m and turn right onto Via xx Settembre to see, on your right the Moses Fountain. The fountain was installed on request of pope Sixtus V to mark the end of the Acqua Felice, an ancient aqueduct that had been restored in 1587 to provide the neighborhood with fresh water. The fountain is officially named Fontana dell'Acqua Felice, after the Pope, whose real name was Felice Peretti. The Fountain of Moses was built in 1587-1588 by Domenico Fontana, who designed a blind triumphal arch with three large niches. In the central niche stands a large statue of Moses, flanked on either side by reliefs depicting biblical scenes. In front of the large classical columns that frame the niches stand four water spouting lions. They are copies of Egyptian lion statues; the originals can be found in the Vatican Museums. The central figure of Moses lends its name to the monumental fountain. The imposing statue was created by Prospero Antichi. According to local lore the sculptor tried to measure up to Michelangelo, who created a statue of Moses in the nearby San Pietro in Vincoli church. But the sculptor made the mistake of not creating a model and he carved the statue out of a block of marble that was lying on the ground instead of standing upright. As a result its proportions where not correct. When the statue was revealed to the public it was ridiculed and Prospero Antichi is said to have committed suicide out of sorrow:

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Aaron Leading the Israelis (hebrews) to Water of the Red Sea:

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Gideon Leading his Israeli (hebrew) people across the River Jordan:

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Immediately behind the Fountain, still in Via XX Settembre - we see the Santa Maria della Vittoria church (Our Lady of Victory) (Via XX Settembre 98). Open: Mornings - 07.00 - 12.00, afternoons - 15.30 - 19.00. It stands to the side of the Fontana dell'Acqua Felice (Moses Fountain). And the church mirrors the Church of Santa Susanna across the Largo (with your face to the Santa Maria della Vittoria church - on your left, WEST). The church is the only structure designed and completed by the early Baroque architect Carlo Maderno, though the interior suffered a fire in 1833 and required restoration. Its façade, however, was erected by Giovanni Battista Soria during Maderno's lifetime, 1624–1626, showing the unmistakable influence of Maderno's Santa Susanna nearby:

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The church itself is beautifully decorated in a Gothic style. It has very soft almost dim lighting and is well worth a visit. Its interior has a single wide nave under a low segmental vault, with three interconnecting side chapels behind arches separated by colossal corinthian pilasters. The interior was sequentially enriched after Maderno's death; its vault was frescoed in 1675 with triumphant themes: The Virgin Mary Triumphing over Heresy and Fall of the Rebel Angels executed by Giovanni Domenico Cerrini.

The church is known for the masterpiece of Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the Cornaro Chapel, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. This sculpture, created in 1647–1652, depicts a vision of St. Theresa of Avila in which an angel pierced her heart and, in doing so, filled her with the love of God. Teresa has just been stabbed with God's arrow of fire. The angel pulls out the arrow and watches her reaction.It is considered to be almost pornographic:

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Another sculpture: The Dream of Joseph (left transept) by Domenico Guidi:

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Saint Vittoria, Virgin and Martyr:

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The main altar area is stunning:

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The Ceiling is spectacular:

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The church of Santa Susanna stands WEST to the Santa Maria della Vittoria church. As for Spring 2014 - it is temporarily closed. Santa Susanna English-Language Library is OPEN, though the Church is closed. This is the only English speaking church in Rome.

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We walk in Via XX Settembre in the SOUTH-WEST direction (with our face to santa Susanna) we continue walking in Via XX Settembre to the LEFT. Walk along Via XX Settembre and apss 5 roads on your right until you arrive to Piazza di san Bernardo. Cross the Piazza and continue walking along XX Settembre, apssing Via Firenze on your left - until you arrive to the cross-road with Quattro Fontane. On the four corners of this intersection stand four fountains. They are a bit dirty and don't get the attention of other attractions. They are still lovely to admire once you get past the graffiti and dirt. Be careful: no sidewalks around 2 of them and the The local traffic doesn't slow down. They were commissioned by Pope Sixtus V and built at the direction of Muzio Mattei in the late 1500's. The figures of the four fountains represent the River Tiber (the symbol of Rome); the River Arno the symbol of Florence; the Goddess Diana; the symbol of Chastity; and the Goddess Juno, the symbol of Strength. The fountains of the Arno, Tiber, and Juno are the work of Domenico Fontana. The fountain of Diana was designed by the painter and architect Pietro da Cortona:

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Via XX Settembre changes its name to Via del Quirinale - beyond Via delle Quattro Fontane. We continue walking south-east along Via del Quirinale and after 2-3 minutes of walk, on our LEFT,  we see the St Carlino of Four Fountains Church (Via del Quirinale, 23). The Church of Saint Charles at the Four Fountains (Italian: Chiesa di San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane also called San Carlino) is a Roman Catholic church in Rome, Italy. The church was designed by the architect Francesco Borromini and it was his first independent commission. It is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill for the Spanish Trinitarians, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves.

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In a small room off the sacristy there is, over the door, an anonymous 18th century portrait of Francesco Borromini with the following inscription: "Knight Francesco Borromini of Como, illustrious architect of this church and convent of St. Charles at the Four Fountains, and outstanding benefactor, died in Rome 1667."

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With the exception of Innocent X (1644-1655), Borromini was not favoured by the popes of his day. He often worked for the religious orders, and his buildings reflect the self-denying life of the monks rather than the grandiosity of the papal church. Borromini is said to have had a difficult, introverted personality, and his pathological melancholy increased with the years. He became more and more isolated, full of doubts and uncertainties, avoiding all contact with other people and burying himself in his work. In the summer of 1667 he came down with stomach trouble. One day he collected together all the drawings which he had guarded so jealously throughout his working life, and burned them to prevent them from falling into the hands of his adversaries and rivals. A few days later he suffered an acute nervous crisis, and after a mild dispute with his servant his despair grew so violent that he threw himself on his sword. He survived for a day, and after receiving absolution from his confessor he died on 3 August 1667.

We continue walking in Via del Quirinale, leaving behind us the St Carlino of Four Fountains Church. Immediately following this church is a garden - Giardino di ant'Andrea al Quirinale. Beyond the garden (on the opposite side of the street, ON YOUR LEFT) there is another church: Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, Via del Quirinale, 29, built for of the Jesuit seminary on the Quirinal Hill. The church of Sant'Andrea, an important example of Roman Baroque architecture, was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Borromini friend and rival) with Giovanni de'Rossi. Bernini considered the church one of his most perfect works; his son, Domenico, recalled that in his later years, Bernini spent hours sitting inside it, appreciating what he had achieved.

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The high altar niche is well lit from a hidden source and becomes the main visual focus of the lower part of the interior:

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Two minutes walk further along Via del Quirinale and we arrive to the Piazza del Quirinale. The Piazza del Quirinale and the Palazzo del Quirinale sit atop Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome. From this highest point in the city you have a splendid view towards the Saint Peter's Basilica.

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Aside from the view, however, there are several things to be seen around the square, which boasts buildings on three sides and a clear view of the city down below from the fourth side.

Obelisk and Fountain of Castor and Pollux:
The first structure in the piazza that usually catches the eye is the huge obelisk with fountain that sits in the middle. This is known as the Dioscuri Fountain and features 5.5-meter-tall sculptures of Castor and Pollux as horse tamers. These statues - Roman replicas of Greek originals from the fifth century BC - once stood at the entrance of the baths of Constantine. The 14-meter-tall central obelisk once held a place of honor at the entrance to the mausoleum of Augustus. The statues were placed here in 1588 by pope Sixtus V. The obelisk was added in 1786 and the fountain's granite basin was added in 1818. The basin was designed by Rafael Stern who used an ancient Roman shell that once stood at the Roman Forum where it was used as a trough.

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Quirinal Palace:

At the perimeter of the piazza is the Palazzo del Quirinale, the residence of the president of Italy. In 1583, Pope Gregory XIII had the Palazzo del Quirinal built for use as a papal summer residence. It became the official royal residence after the unification of Italy in 1870 and later the presidential residence. The facade visitors can see from the piazza was designed by Domenico Fontana and the Great Chapel of the palace was crafted by Carlo Maderno.

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Entrance to Palazzo del Quirinale:

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Sentry at Palazzo del Quirinale:

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Inside Palazzo de Quirinale:

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Adjacent to the president's palace is the Palazzo della Consulta, built by Ferdinando Fuga in 1734 for pope Clement XII and the Papal court. This ornately decorated palace is now occupied by the Corte Costituzionale, the Italian Supreme Court.

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We head, now, to Palazzo Barberini by tracing back our steps. Head BACK northeast on Via del Quirinale (210 m) and turn LEFT (north-west) onto Via delle Quattro Fontane. Walk for 2 minutes and you'll see, on your right the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica or Palazzo Barberini (Via delle Quattro Fontane 13). A fine collection of Renaissance and Baroque paintings in a palace designed by Bernini with the assistance of Borromini and decorated by Pietro da Cortona. Palazzo Barberini houses the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, National Gallery of Ancient Art. Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.30 to 19.00. Full price € 7,00, Reduced € 3,50. Note: You have to pay for bag storage so travel light. Another note: the gardens and the staircases - are FREE. For Euro 7 it's a reasonable price for what they have and Rome museums nowadays: Seven euro admission fee is bargain for masterpieces from Caravaggio ("Judith and Holofernes"),("Narcissus"), Rafael ("La Fornarina"), Canaletto, a huge fresco on the ceiling by Cortona (could take hours to admire). More Bernini and Caravaggios than Borghese - and you can stay as long as you like, much cheaper, more magnificent building. The Galleria is also home to some lesser known but stunning Holbeins (great Henry VIII portrait!), Raffaellos, Tintorettos, and Tizianos. The museum is climate-controlled, beautifully lit and has truly excellent interpretation labels in Italian and English. DO NOT MISS the Bernini stair (the "Scala Grande") which you can walk up and down and the Borromini stair (circular; accessible for just a short stretch) at the other end of the building. NO PICTURES ALLOWED into the two museum apartments.

Façade: view from the left wing:

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Famous sculpture in Palazzo Barberini entrance grounds:

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Raphael's "La Fornarina" (the baker's daughter). In 1514, Raphael became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, the niece of Cardinal Medici Bibbiena who was Raphael’s patron. Raphael had to be persuaded into the engagement, and that he eventually agreed simply to please his benefactor the Cardinal. But Raphael’s loveless engagement to Maria may have been the longest in history. Raphael stalled, bedding other women for six long years, until Maria died in 1520, still unmarried. The woman who apparently won the heart and passionate desires of the playboy artist was of far lower social stature than the Cardinal’s niece. Whether or not Raphael was “a ladies’ man,” he did have one great love, Margherita Luti or La Fornarina, “the baker’s daughter”. Raphael was one of the first artists of the Italian Renaissance to consistently draw female figures from female models rather than the usual garzoni or young male assistants. Luti was likely not only Raphael’s mistress, but also his model, posing for many of the hundreds of his drawings that survive. Margherita’s seated pose in this painting is quite sensational, especially for the 16th century. Not only is she barely clothed, but notice that one hand is clasping her breast while the other is placed, um, between her legs...

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Caravaggio - Narciso. This is one of only two known Caravaggios on a theme from Classical mythology, although this reflects the accidents of survival rather than the historical reality. The story of Narcissus, told by the poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses, is of a handsome youth who falls in love with his own reflection. Unable to tear himself away, he dies of his passion:

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Caravaggio - Judith and Holofernes. The Book of Judith tells how Judith saved her people by seducing and killing Holofernes, the Assyrian general. Judith gets Holofernes drunk, then seizes his sword and decapitates him

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Henri VIII by Hans HOLBEIN, Hans the Younger (b. 1497, Augsburg, d. 1543, London). This painting was one of a group of English portraits carried out by Holbein and his school. Though German, Holbein was court painter to King Henry VIII of England, and the prototype for this image is his lost mural that once decorated the Privy Chamber of Whitehall Palace in London. Carried out in 1537, that wall painting depicted the king with his third wife Jane Seymour, the only one of Henry's queens to bear him a male heir. Of the numerous paintings derived from that prototype, including a copy at Windsor Castle, this is without doubt the one of highest quality. The closest example to the prototype, on the other hand, is the portrait in the Thyssen collection in Madrid, which this version approaches especially in the rendering of the details of the collar. This Palazzo Barberini portrait depicts the king in the same costume that he wore for his April, 1540, wedding to Anne of Cleves:

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"La Maddalena" by Piero di Cosimo:

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Guido Cagnacci (1601–1663) - Maddalena svenuta:

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Bronzino - Portrait of Stefano IV Colonna:

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Reni - Portrait of Beatrice Cenci (!). Possibly by Elisabetta Sirani c. 1662
previously thought to be by Guido Reni. How comes ? The best known image of Beatrice is a popular portrait supposed to have been by Guido Reni. It is now thought to be by an artist of his circle, the daughter of his long time assistant, Elisabetta Sirani. Beatrice Cenci was – to take a sample of soundbites over the centuries – a ‘goddess of beauty’, a ‘fallen angel’, a ‘most pure damsel’. She was also a convicted murderer. This is a charismatic combination, not least here in Italy, and her name has lived on, especially in Rome, where she was born and where she was executed in 1599. The story as it comes down to us has the compactness of legend. It tells of a beautiful teenage girl who kills her brutal father to protect her virtue from his incestuous advances; who resists interrogation and torture with unswerving courage; and who goes to her execution unrepentant and borne along on a wave of popular sympathy. There have been many literary treatments of the story, the most famous of which is Shelley’s verse-drama, The Cenci, written in 1819. Other writers drawn to the subject include Stendhal, Dickens, Artaud and Alberto Moravia:

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Taddeo Zuccari - Parnasus:

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Original portrait of Erasmus by Flemish painter Quinten Metsys:

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Pietro da Cortona Cieling:

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Two stairs lead to the main apartment. The larger one was designed by Bernini, whereas Borromini was entrusted with the smaller one: this has an elliptic shape. The use of ellipses rather than circles is one of the elements which characterizes baroque versus Renaissance architecture. After taking in the facade, you can enter the building at its center. To the LEFT you'll see Bernini's lovely staircase and, to the RIGHT, one of Borromini's greatest achievements, an oval (helicoidal, actually--you'll have to look that up) staircase.

Bernini Grand Staircase:

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Borromini Staircase:

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(left) Main stairs by Bernini; (right) stairs by Borromini:

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Italian garden and rear part of Palazzo Barberini:

Climbing the gentle center stairs offers access to what is known as a "gardino segreto"--a secret garden, hidden from public view. Like the staircases, the garden is accessible at no charge:

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The Secret Garden:

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Inner Courtyard:

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Exiting Palazzo Barberini - we turn right (north-west) in Via delle Quattro Fontane. We walk (again, north-west) along this road until we arrive to Piazza Barberini. It was created in the 16th century but many of the surrounding buildings have subsequently been rebuilt. Today, the piazza is large crossroad for Rome's traffic and, since 1980, has accommodated a station on Line A of the Rome Metro, called Barberini – Fontana di Trevi. At the centre of the piazza is the Fontana del Tritone or Triton Fountain (1642–3) sculpted by Bernini.

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Another fountain, the Fontana delle Api (1627–1629), also by Bernini is in the nearby Via Vittorio Veneto but it has been reconstructed somewhat arbitrarily following its removal from its previous position on the corner of a palace where the Piazza Barberini meets the Via Sistina.

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We take the north exit of the Barberini square along Via Veneto road (where, actually, the Bees Fountain stands). On your right is the (off Piazza Barberini)  church of S. Nicola da Tolentino which is decorated with the Pamphilj dove and Fleurs-de-Lis. Undoubtedly these symbols allow for a proper decoration of a church and by so doing lose their original identifying purpose of associating the Pamphilj name with the building. Inside this church the Pamphilj chapel has a very interesting family coat of arms by Alessandro Algardi which is shown next to the plate by Filippo Juvarra:

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Immediately on your right, when you start climbing in Via Veneto is the Convento dei Cappuccin, Museum and Crypt of Capuchins, Via Vittorio Veneto 27. Admission: 6 euros. NO PHOTOS allowed. If you do not have your shoulders covered or legs above the knees, they avoid your entrance. Do not come with full stomach. Five rooms beautifully decorated by bones, skulls and entire bodies, some with the skin left.

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Guido Reni - San Michele arcangelo:

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we start climbing up in Via Veneto. It might be a little exhausting in a hot day - but the road is very shady. Via Veneto was renamed Via Vittorio Veneto after the battle which occurred near that town in November 1918 and which marked the end of WWI on the Italian front; the previous name however is still commonly used. Via Veneto is one of the most famous, elegant and expensive streets of Rome, Italy. Federico Fellini's classic 1960 film La Dolce Vita was mostly centered around the Via Veneto area. Some of Rome's most renowned cafés and five star hotels, like Café de Paris, Harry's Bar, Regina Hotel Baglioni, The Westin Excelsior, Rome as well known haunts for celebrities in Rome, are in Via Veneto.The Embassy of the United States, housed in Palazzo Margherita, is located along the avenue.

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Harry's Bar in Via Veneto:

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In the end of Via Veneto - you see the Porta Pinciana which is a gate of the Aurelian Walls in Rome. The gate was built under the emperor Honorius in the early 5th century, by adapting a previous smaller service entrance. The two side passages are a modern addition. The gate remained closed until the early 20th century.

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With your face to the gate - walk 50 m. to the left (south-west) to enter the Villa Borghese gardens. The following photo points, exactly to the entrance point:

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Villa Borghese is a large landscape garden in the well-known, English manner in Rome. Containing a number of buildings, museums, attractions and temptations. It is the third largest public park in Rome  after the ones of the Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada. The area started as a vineyard in the sixteenth century. In 1605 cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of pope Paul V, turned the vineyard into a park. Landscaper Domenico Savino da Montepulciano designed a very formal park with geometric shapes, the first such park in Rome. A villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio after a sketch from the cardinal himself. The park was later laid out in a more natural way. At the end of the eighteenth century an artificial lake was created in the middle of the park. On the island in the lake, a small Ionic temple was built. It is dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing. In 1903 the city of Rome obtained Villa Borghese from the Borghese family and opened the park to the public. The eighty hectare/148 acre-large park now featured wide shady lanes, several temples, beautiful fountains and many statues. In 1911 the World Exposition was held in this park. Several of the pavilions built by some of the participating countries still exist. The most impressive of these is the British School, built after a design by Edwin Lutyens (see below). Other buildings represented Austria, Denmark, Egypt and Sweden.

There are, at least, five famous Villas in the Borghese Gardens:

  • The Galleria Borghese is housed in the Villa Borghese itself.
  • The Villa Giulia adjoining the Villa Borghese gardens was built in 1551 - 1555 as a summer residence for Pope Julius III; now it contains the Etruscan Museum (Museo Etrusco). It was built by Pope Julius III in 1551-1553 on what was then the edge of the city. Today it is publicly owned, and houses the Museo Nazionale Etrusco, an impressive collection of Etruscan art and artifacts.

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  • The Villa Medici houses the French Academy in Rome, and the Fortezzuola a Gothic garden structure that houses a collection memorializing the academic modern sculptor Pietro Canonica. It is next to Trinità dei Monti (in the end of the Spanish Steps). The Villa Medici, founded by Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany is now property of the French State.

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  • The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna located in its grounds has a collection of 19th- and 20th-century paintings emphasizing Italian artists. It is located at Via delle Belle Arti, 113, near the Etruscan Museum. With its neoclassical and Romantic paintings and sculptures, it marks a dramatic change from the glories of the Renaissance and ancient Rome. Its 75 rooms house the largest collection of works by 19th- and 20th-century Italian artists

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  • Architecturally the most notable of the 1911 exposition pavilions is the English Pavilion designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (who later designed New Delhi), now housing the British School at Rome.

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The Borghese Gardens include, also, the Zoo, recently redesigned, with minimal caging, as the Bioparco, and the Zoological Museum (Museo di Zoologia).

I guess that most of the visitors will prefer to stroll among the gardens, paths and ponds - enjoy their crisp, clean air and the refreshing sights around. An amazing park with wonderful sculptures and fountains, it truly is a place to let your mind rest in a busy city. It is a huge park with large walkways, natural settings, statues and a very leisurely place to visit. Like most of Rome it is a blend of picnickers, bicycles, scooters, Segways, golf-carts, and any other riding device known to man. Most people don't go into the gallery and don't feel they missed much. The majority go and see the softer side of the city here.

The English landscape garden:

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Borghese Gardens - Piazzale dei Cavalli Marini (Square of the Marine Horses):

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Via Leopoldo Lotrono, Largo Giovanni:

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The Lake and the Temple of Asclepius:

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There is restroom near Casina de Raffaello. The Casino Del Lago cafe, in the northwest part of the park, is a good place to enjoy a reasonably priced lunch in a very relaxing outdoor setting.

Villa Borghese had two "secret spaces": one, shrouded by trees, is the garden of bitter oranges (Giardino dei melangoli). The oranges are planted in pots, and at the time we were there, start of may, they were flooded by a sea of irises. Borghese Gardens were redesigned in the "English" style from the 18th into the 19th century, and clearly imitate an English landscape garden, in contrast to the baroque gardens immediately around the villa:

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the second "secret garden" "The Flower Garden", is the beautifully laid out formal garden.

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A third secret garden stretches in front of the Aviary, accompanied by the Meridiana (Sundial) mansion. This Baroque aviary or Vivarium was designed by Girolamo Rainaldi.

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The Secret Gardens are not the only charming corners of Villa Borghese: the Valley of Plain Trees,

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Piazza di Siena

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and the Gardens of Muro Torto

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as well as the Bio Park (Zoo), which was added later, make it a wonderful place to explore. Cost: €15 adults (€12 children). Hours: Jan–Mar, daily 09.30–17.00; Apr–Sept, weekdays 09.30–18.00, weekends 09.30–19.00; Oct, daily 09.30–18.00; Nov–Dec, daily 09.30–17.00. Very expensive. Adult - 37.50 euros, adult + child: 62.50 euros...

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In the 1700s were built the fake Roman ruins of the Temple of Faustina,

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the Temple of Diana,

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and the Clock Building (Casino dell'Orologio) was set up:

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Goethe Monument:

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Viale Pietro Canonica (here, you find the buses stations to get out from the park). Catch bus 116 or bus 61 to get off.

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Dubbed the 'park of museums', the Villa Borghese park is also home to several museums. The most famous is the Museo e Galleria Borghese, housed in the Villa Borghese, the building after which the park is named. Ticket reservation needed (Tel. +39 06 32810). Open times:
Monday: closed. from Tuesday to Sunday: from 08.30 to 19.30.
Closed the 1st of January, 25th of December. Access up to half hour before the closing time.

It has a collection of sculptures with some important works by Canova and Bernini, including the latter's masterpiece 'Abduction of Proserpina by Pluto'. The Galleria Borghese also houses a collection of paintings from several masters including Titian, Rubens and Raphael. The two hours allowed for the visit are not enough to thoroughly appreciate the paintings and statues collected by the Borghese. Visits to the Galleria Borghese are by ticket only and should be booked in advance. A two hour time slot is allowed to visit the gallery and this is far of being perfect. It doesn't allow enough time to view and enjoy a stunning collection of paintings by some of the great masters - including several works by Caravaggio and sculptures by Bernini. It does not leave you feeling saturated, exhausted and overwhelmed by the end of the visit. The gallery is situated in the beautiful surroundings of the Villa Borghese

Entrance to Villa Borghese:

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Apollo e Dafne (1622-25) - Gian Lorenzo Bernini:

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