Galleria Borghese

"Outside Porta Pinciana he had a beautiful palace built in one of his Vineyards, or Gardens or Villas, however we wish to call it, in which every delight we might desire or have in this life was to be found. It was entirely adorned with beautiful antique and modern statues, fine paintings, and other precious things, including fountains, fishponds and embellishments...", this is how G. Baglione, a painter and art critic of the period, described Pope Paul V's (1605-1621) urban innovations.
After the purchase of land and vineyards and the concession of water from the Acqua Felice aqueduct in the first decade of the 17th century, work on the construction of the palace began in 1612 and was virtually completed in one year. Whereas the sculptures which were to decorate the building, the construction of the aviary by Girolamo Rainaldi (1617-1619) and the landscaping of the garden took until circa 1620.
Apart from the contribution made by the Flemish architect Vasanzio, the architectural features are to be attributed above all to Flaminio Ponzio, an extraordinary architect in whom the Pope and the cardinal placed absolute trust. Ponzio designed the proportions of the rooms, and the Doric order on the exterior. He freed its architecture from the traditional style of other villas, which was more monolithic and confined, causing unexpected front and side projections to emerge in a dynamic relationship with the upward movement of the towers, which is enhanced by the arrangement of the windows and the doors communicating with the garden avenues on all four sides.
The Villa Pinciana was built as a museum to house fine examples of ancient and modern art, as a mus... [ Read all ]

Permanent Collection

The original sculptures and paintings in the Borghese Gallery date back to Cardinal Scipione's collection, the son of Ortensia Borghese - Paolo V's sister - and of Francesco Caffarelli, though subsequent events over the next three centuries entailing both losses and acquisition have left their mark.
Cardinal Scipion was drawn to any works of ancient, Renaissance and contemporary art which might re-evoke a new golden age. He was not particularly interested in medieval art, but passionately sought to acquire antique sculpture. But Cardinal Scipione was so ambitious that he promoted the creation of new sculptures and especially marble groups to rival antique works.
The statue of Pauline Bonaparte, executed by Canova between 1805 and 1808, has been in the villa since 1838. In 1807, Camillo Borghese sold Napoleon 154 statues, 160 busts, 170 bas-reliefs, 30 columns and various vases, which constitue the Borghese Collection in the Louvre. But already by the 1830s these gaps seem to have been filled by new finds from recent excavations and works recuperated from the cellars and various other Borghese residences.
Cardinal Scipione's collection of paintings was remarkable and was poetically described as early as 1613 by Scipione Francucci. In 1607, the Pope gave the Cardinal 107 paintings which had been confiscated from the painter Giuseppe Cesari, called the Cavalier d'Arpino. In the following year, Raphael's Deposition was secretely removed from the Baglioni Chapel in the church of S.Francesco in Perugia and transported to Rome. It was given to the Cardinal Scipione through a papal motu proprio.
In 1682, part of Olimpia Aldobrandini's inheritance entered the Borghese coll...+ [ Read all ]


Roma - Borghese Gallery
from 18th October 2007 to 3rd February 2008
Ten major exhibitions in ten years: 50 masterpieces showing the divine beauty that transformed marble into living flesh, with the sponsorship of Enel, Compagnia di San Paolo and AAMS.
The most beautiful Villa in the world as the Galleria Borghese is still known by many today is proud to host a monographic exhibiton of the sublime art of Antonio Canova in celebration of the 250th anniversary of his birth and the bicentenary of the universlly acclaimed Paolina Bonaparte as Venere Vincitrice.
Canova and La Venere Vincitrice, is an exhibition curated by Anna Coliva and Fernando Mazzocca and organised by Mondomostre. Following the success of the Raffaelo exhibition last year, it is the second in this series of ten large monographic exhibtions in as many years, each one focusing on a single artist whose unremovable masterpieces are still maintained at the Gallery.
The exhibition aims to illustrate the complex relationship between Canova and Prince Camillo Borghese, and between Canova and the Bonaparte family, for whom Canova developed the particular typology of the glorified sculpture portrait; through the extraordinary assembled collection of fifty other works from museums worldwide, it demonstrates at the same time the constant re-interpretation on the theme of Venus that continued to the end of the 18th Century. Other works in marble, drawings, tempera paintings, monochrome pictures, paintings, clay objects, plaster casts to thoroughly illustrate Canova’s working method.
The divine images of beauty, associated with Adonis, Cupid, the Graces, Apollo, to Paris and Helena, or simply per se, offer an e...+ [ Read all ]


Full price € 12,50
(€ 6,50 museum + € 4,00 mandatory supplement Canova exhibition + € 2,00 reservation fee)
Reduced € 9,25
(€ 3,25 museum + € 4,00 mandatory supplement Canova exhibition + € 2,00 reservation fee)
- European Union citizens between 18 and 25 years old
- European Union full-time public school teachers
Free € 6,00
(€ 0,00 museum + € 4,00 mandatory supplement Canova exhibition + € 2,00 reservation fee)
- European Union citizens younger than 18 years old
- European Union citizens older than 65 years old
- European Union students and teachers of Arts, History of Arts or Architecture courses
- European Union full-time public school teachers
- MBAC - Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - members
- ICOM members
- European Union schools with teachers by reservation
- European Union citizens with handicap with accompanist
- Journalists
Free € 0,00
(€ 0,00 museum + € 0,00 mandatory supplement Canova exhibition + € 0,00 reservation fee)
- European Union tourist guides
- European Union interpreters

Opening hours

daily from 9.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m., closed Monday

Museum internal and external photos (1)

Click on the images to enlarge