Updated: Oct 9, 2018 @

persephone statue borghese gallery rome

My true intention on our Rome getaway was to eat, sleep and eat again, with maybe a little family time thrown in. As fate would have it, a meeting with Rachel,  the social media manager for LivItaly Tours  made for a slight deviation from the plan. Finding out that we were scheduled to be in the eternal city, we finagled tickets to the Borghese gallery in exchange for a review. Boy, was l glad we went. It was the highlight of our Rome trip. As photography and art lovers, we were in heaven. The masterpieces contained in this Borghese museum are magnificent. I am excited to share some of my favorites with you.

Borghese Gallery with Livitaly:

borghese gallery rome livitaly

The Borghese Gallery building. We met our guide right here after walking through the Borghese gardens.

We met up with our reps from Livitaly at 5pm on a hot July day. One of the wonderful things about Livitaly is that they limit their tour size to 6 people. Just 6! . This made the tour more personal. Nothing irks me more than having to look for those little flags and watching tour guides trying to cope with a group of 50 or more :-) . Our group of 6 consisted of us two, and a family visiting from the States. Everyone was punctual, and off we went. Our tour guide was Andrea, a very efficient and capable man. He led us downstairs where we deposited our handbags etc. for safe keeping. From there, we went to the gallery directly after fitting us with head phones to we could hear him speak. It was hardly needed, but was nice to have, especially when l lingered a bit. Getting there, make sure to walk through the Borghese gardens and watch the locals and tourists alike enjoying the space and taking canoe rides on the beautiful lake.

Borghese Gallery Rome Masterpieces:

borghese gallery rome cardinal borghese bust

Borghese gallery tour: Cardinal Scipione Borghese, another work by Bernini. This had a crack so a replica was made. Identical!!!! save for the crack. Mad skills!

Borghese Gallery and Museum History:

This Borghese gallery was originally the home of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a very rich man who also happened to be  a nephew to Pope John Paul V. He commissioned building of this estate which is on the outskirts of Rome to an architect by the name of Flaminio Ponzio. Not only was the cardinal evidently a lover of art, the house design was based on his sketches. Seeing the rooms, it’s obvious that he was a man of great taste. The gallery was established in 1903.

Love the details on this. So much art, so little time :-)

Love the details on this. So much art, so little time :-)

I felt a bit smug when l saw people with bags being turned back at the entrance and we just breezed in. Another good thing about being with someone who knows the lay of the land ;-). All through the tour which lasted 2 hours, Andrea showed us some of the most important pieces in the museum. Trust me, there is so much to see, so much so, that it’s impossible to see it all in the maximum time of two hours allowed by the gallery. Being with Livitaly tours, we were able to see the most astounding works by the Bernini, Titian, Caravaggio and others. Here are some of my most favorite pieces:

Rape of Persephone at Borghese Gallery Rome:

Incredible! persephone statue borghese

Gallery Borghese art is Incredible! You can see his hands digging into her flesh and the tears.

 

 2 headed dog statue borghese!

Villa Borghese gallery art. Just check out the looks of the 2 headed dog!

According to Greek mythology, Persephone was the daughter of Zeus. Hades kidnapped her and took her to the Underworld against her will. This is one of the most impressive sculptures by the genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini. If you’ve been to the Vatican, you’ve seen his handiwork at the Piazza San Pietro when you look up and see those awesome sculptures of the saints all along the top. This was one of his works that was commissioned by the Cardinal. Andrea encouraged us to look deeper at the sculptured marble. On closer examination, you notice the anguish and tears in her eyes, you notice how his hands are digging into her flesh. It’s incredible that such detail is accomplished using marble! Even more incredible is the fact that he used a single slab of marble for each work. No joining parts for him!

David at Borghese Gallery:

borghese gallery david

Look at his determined face as he is about to fire the catapult..

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Another one by Bernini. Everyone is familiar with the story of David and Goliath. This sculpture shows David about to fire at the giant. I love the look of intensity on his face.

Apollo and Daphne at the Borghese Museum:

borghese gallery apollo and daphne

All you can say is Wow when you see this up close.

Cupid has shot Apollo with his arrow and he is mesmerized with Daphne. She on the other hand, has been shot by Cupid’s love repelling arrow and hates all men. She prays to her father to curse the beauty that attracts him. He changes her to a tree. To say this piece is breathtaking would be putting it mildly. You see how she changes and is half woman and half tree while he has the lovelorn look on his face. Incredible.

Madonna and Child at Borghese Rome:

madonna and child borghese gallery

Galerie Borghese Art: To me, this is so demure and pure.

This is by the artist Bellini. I stood a while looking at this painting as l just loved the simplicity of it. They both look so innocent. I think that was the point.

Madonna and child and Snake at Galleria Borghese:

borghese gallery madonna child and snake

Then you see Caravaggio’s version of the Madonna. Definitely not angelic. He is said to have used ahem..ladies of the night as his models.

I confess that I’ve always had a thing for Caravaggio. To me, he was the original bad ass :-) . Brawler, murderer, vandal. Sentenced to death for murder, he escaped to Malta. The Knights of Malta welcomed him for a while. We saw one of his major pieces there in Valletta. A violent brawl made him a fugitive once again and he escaped to Sicily. He was only 38 when he died two years later.

There was just so much more to see. It is entirely possible to stay for a day and not fully see everything. Here are some more great ones.

Bet you didn't know Jesus was seriously cut! :-)

Museo Borghese art: Bet you didn’t know Jesus was seriously cut! :-) The holy six pack!

 

You might like: Palazzo Doria Rome

This is Bernini's work at the age of 11 or 12. Imagine that!

Galleria Borghese Roma – This is Bernini’s work at the age of 11 or 12. Imagine that! The talent was already evident.

 

villa borghese art rome

I love this! So 3D. Just another of the incredible works on display at Villa Borghese Rome.

 

Pauline Bonaparte posing as Venus by sculptor Antonio Canova.

Pauline Bonaparte posing as Venus by sculptor Antonio Canova on display at Villa Borghese. A must visit on your Rome itinerary.

What made this visit even more enjoyable for me were the golden nuggets of information courtesy of Andrea. Things you wouldn’t know by visiting on your own. Little tidbits about the Cardinal and the various ways he went about acquiring some of his art. What a scroundrel! ;-) . Pauline Bonaparte and her marble sculpture by Antonio Canova. I still smile at her saucy reply when asked how she could pose nude. It certainly made it worth while.

boywithball1 borghese gallery

One of the best Rome museums is Villa Borghese. A visit to the museum is highly recommended.

Here is Andrea telling us about the painting Sacred and Profane Love by Titian, one of the greatest Italian artists.

guide at villa borghese rome

Art gallery Rome! I loved our visit to the Borghese and l recommend doing the Borghese tour with a knowledgeable guide to fully appreciate it.

 

erotic sculpture at villa borghese rome

Vila Borghese sculpture: I know what her look conveys to me :-) . I’m wondering what everyone else thinks? ;-)

Related Reading: Tivoli trip from Rome

marble-man-borghese-gallery

Borghese art by the masters on display. A full afternoon of culture and art appreciation.

Don’t forget to look up when you tour the Borghese gallery. You don’t want to miss any ceiling fresco at one of the best museums to visit in Rome, such as this gorgeous one.

frescosmall

Borghese gallery Rome frescoes. So much of the art is worthy of the Vatican. Considering the history of the Borghese family, it’s easy to see why.

All too soon, our Borghese tour came to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and l thank Andrea for being a wonderful guide. I would recommend this Livitaly tour whenever you visit Rome.  Federico, Roman, born and bred, had never visited. Goes to show how easy it is to take your home for granted, doesn’t it ? You can find out more information on the tour here  Needless to say, you can make your Villa Borghese reservation directly on there. You won’t be sorry and another visit to the Borghese gallery in Rome is a must for us.

Tips for visiting Rome Borghese Gallery and Museum:

  • Tour with a knowledgeable guide and small group such as conducted by Livitaly
  • Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking from room to room
  • Leave yourself at least 2 hours for the tour which shows you the best pieces, but consider coming back to not only see the art, but to enjoy the Borghese park and gardens. It’s huge!
  • Pack light, a small handbag if needed. Remember you have to check in your belongings.

 

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Borghese Gallery Rome with Livitaly Tours #borghese #rome #borghesegallery #bernini #visitrome #livitaly #romemuseum

Have you been to Rome? What do you think of the Borghese gallery and tour? Does it look like a museum you would like to visit? Are you an art lover like us?