Touring Rome Italy - Villa Borghese

What should we visit in Rome's Villa Borghese district and its environs?...

We hope that you are enjoying our series of articles and guest articles on Italian tourist attractions, covering the entire country except for its major cities. In a sense we have left the best for last. We will describe what to see in Italy’s great cities neighborhood by neighborhood. You may not realize it, but Rome is divided into 20 districts. And each and every one of these districts boasts its own sightseeing attractions. If you have time, visit them all. In any case, read these articles to help plan your trip to The Eternal City. You may be in for some real surprises. Roma, Non Basta una Vita (Rome, a Lifetime is not Enough) .

The Villa Borghese district is situated just north of the center of Rome. It carries the name of a park designed in 1605 for Cardinal Scipione Borghese replacing a vineyard. About 500 years later the Villa became state property. This park hosted the 1911 World Exposition and several of the pavilions are still standing. Make sure to see the British School. The center of the park boasts “Giardino del Lago,” an artificial lake complete with an Ionic temple to Aesculapius, the god of health. Despite his vows of poverty Cardinal Borghese was an extravagant patron of the arts. The Villa Borghese hosts the Museo e Galleria Borghese, whose collection includes sculptures by Bernini and paintings by Titian, Rubens and Raphael.

National Gallery of Modern Art, Villa Borghese Rome

National Gallery of Modern Art, Villa Borghese Rome

What if you prefer modern art? The National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome at the northern edge of this district offers the most important Italian collection of paintings and sculptures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It includes masterpieces by Goya, Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Modigliani, Mondrian, and others too numerous to mention here. But I do have to include Delacroix, Renoir, Rossetti, Miró, Kandinsky and Klimt.

The kids may prefer the Museo Zoologico and a small redeveloped zoo, the Bioparco, whose emphasis is on conservation. You’ll find them in the district’s northeast corner. When visiting the Piazza di Siena, a round square in the center of the district, tou may want to time your visit for the end of May and enjoy an international horse show that has been running for almost 80 years.

Porto del Popolo, Villa Borghese Rome

Porto del Popolo, Villa Borghese Rome

Finish your tour of Villa Borghese at the Piazza del Popolo, one of the largest plazas in the city; right in the center you’ll see a three thousand year old and counting obelisk. You might want to eat in the Casina Valadier with its spectacular terrace. This joint was quite popular for German and British officers during World War II, depending on who was winning. The Porto del Populo was once the northern gate to the city of Rome. Next to the gate is the Church of Santa Maria del Populo that offers a great art collection. Don’t miss Raphael masterpiece, Cappella Chigi, known to fans of Dan Brown and Tom Hanks.

And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Latium or other Italian wines.

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About the Author

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.

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