Villa Borghese

Piazzale Brasile - 00197 Rome
Pinciano [Q.III]
XX Settembre [1F]

It is united with the Pincio by the mean of the fly-over of the Viale del Muro Torto. Having a perimeter of 6 kilometers it is the biggest and the most beautiful of the public parks in Rome.
It was created at the beginning of the XVIIth century for the cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, nephew of Paolo V. Inside the park there even lived a lion which was running free in the the extended Wild wood as an African forest around the refined gardens of the Villa where the Cardinal Scipione Borghese collected the precious canvases of his collection.

After the death of Scipione the lion disappeared. Some said it was killed by the gardeners of the park who were not able any more to control the feline's movements. The other said it died from the melancholy. It is natural that the wood without the lion lost its wild character and became the "green heart" of Rome with its English lawns. It was radically changed at the end of the XVIIIth century with the work of the architects Antonio and Mario Asprucci and the painter Crist. Unterberger and then it was enlarged at the beginning of the XIXth century by L. Canina.

In 700 Marcantonio Borghese opened the entry to the park for everybody 6 days a week. He kept the seventh day Monday for himself. On this day the gates were closed and the cardinal was riding here with his friends.

In 1902 another Marcantonio decided to sell the villa. He groped into the debits and Torlonia Prince, mayor of the town followed him. From London Baron Rothschild had rushed smelling a big deal. Only for the picture of Titian "Holy and ignorant love" preserved in the gallery of the villa he offered as much as Marcantonio wanted for the whole property. But the prince ignored the baron and preferred to sell everything to the state including 557 paintings and 314 sculptures of the gallery. The state in its turn gifted the whole Villa to the Comune di Roma which to let the town breathe turned it into the Public Park calling it villa Umberto I.
The name however had never been used.

Besides the entry from the Pincio there are other entries to the villa:
from Porta Pinciana in front of the Via Vittorio Veneto. from the piazza Flaminio outside Piazza del Popolo. from the Viale delle Belle Arti, Via Mercadante and Via Pinciana, which are closer to the
Museo e Galleria Borghese.

In the magnificent park one can find:

- The Garden of the Lake, which spreads around the artificial lake. On the small island one can find the imitation of a Greek temple dedicated to Aesculapius made by Asprucci in 1786 with the statues of Ag. Penna and of Vincenzo Pacetti. From the terrace behind the lake there is a beautiful view to the Vialle Giulia.

- Piazza di Siena is 200 meters long. It is made by a model of the Roman stadium with grassy slopes set between lawns and surrounded by colossal pines as an umbrella. Horse competitions and folklore shows take place here. An elegant annual appointment for Rome is the famous horse contest with the name taken from this space, opened by Mario and Antonio Asprucci at the end of XVIIIth century by the model of the ancient Roman amphitheatres.

- The Casino Borghese built by Giovanni Vasanzio in 1613 for the Cardinal Scipione with the inside Museo e Galleria Borghese is "the queen of private collections in the world".

- The Zoological Garden was founded in 1911 according to the criterions of Ambergo C.Hagenbeck and was considerably enlarged in 1935. It occupies about 17 free hectares of an uneven land which is accessible very well with timely precautions and presents the animals in their natural way and the possibly natural environment. The principal entry is from Armando Brasini leading from the Via Mercadante of Raffaele De Vico. Inside the Zoo turned today into Biopark there is Museo civico di Zoologia.

This site uses technical cookies, including from third parties, to improve the services offered and optimize the user experience. Please read the privacy policy. By closing this banner you accept the privacy conditions and consent to the use of cookies.
CLOSE