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Another charming Roman place is Villa Borghese, a landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner. It is the third largest public park in Rome, after Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada but, doubtless, it is the most romantic, maybe because it’s heart-shaped and you can check it on the different maps that are scattered in the garden. It was built in the 17th century by the House of Borghese, whose members were from Siena, a city in Tuscany region. Indeed in 1605 Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, began acquiring a series of vineyards to expand his own lands in the heart of Rome. He used it as a party villa at the edge of the city. After different modifications Villa Borghese was bought by the Commune of Rome that made it opened to the public in 1903.

A fascinating corner in Villa Borghese is the small artificial lake dominated by the 18th century “Temple of Aesculapius”, a temple that safeguards the statue of the God of Medicine, Aesculapius, that was found among the ruins of Mausoleum of August.

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Villa Borghese is called also “the park of museums” because it hosts different points of interest like National Gallery of Modern Art, in which you can find a wide modern collection, Borghese Gallery, where there are the most beautiful neo-classical and baroque statues of the world, the Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia, the Bioparco and the Zoological Museum, the French Academy in Villa Medici and a replica of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Borghese Gallery, although nowadays is considered as a separate attraction, is the symbol of the park because it houses the art collection of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. In 17th century he was one of the patron of the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini and at the same time he collected the works of Michelangelo Merisi, also  known as Caravaggio. His painting collection includes Boy with a Basket of Fruit, St Jerome Writing and others.The most breathtaking Bernini’s sculptures you can admire inside Borghese Gallery represent mythological characters like “Apollo and Daphne”, “Rape of Proserpine” and “Aeneas, Anchise, and Ascanius”. Another famous sculpture of the permanent collection is “Venus Victrix” completed by Antonio Canova in 1808 that embodies Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister and Camillo Borghese’s husband,in the guise of the Goddess of Beauty.

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So what are you waiting for? Welcome Spring in the green lung of Rome and have a rest from your daily life.

Francesca Errico

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