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Museo e Galleria Borghese

Museo e Galleria Borghese (45)

Inside the Villa Borghese you will come across this splendid art gallery, which was reopened in 1997 after ten years of restoration work. Inside you will be able to appreciate the splendid private collection of sculptures and paintings of the Borghese family.

You will notice the museum is divided into two parts: the sculpture collection or Museo Borghese and the painting gallery called Galleria Borghese. The sculpture section is on the first floor and is the only part that is always open to visitors. 

When you reach the building you will see a double stairway designed by Michelangelo that will lead you to the main entrance. Before starting, make sure you do not miss the detail of the ceiling paintings, the marbles, the chimneys and the mouldings of this impressive building. Just on entering, look at the floor mosaics, where you will see realistic scenes of gladiator fights.

The museum’s sculpture collection contains some of the most famous works in world. In room 1, for example, is the well-known statue of Paulina Borghese, Napoleon’s sister, who posed semi-nude as Venus for the occasion. It is said that when her husband; Prince Camillo, saw it, he was so shocked that he hid it.

The most outstanding objects, however, are the three sculptures that Bernini made at the behest of Cardinal Scipione Borghese: the David, preparing to throw a stone at his opponent, Pluto and Proserpina and the most remarkable, Apollo and Daphne. This latter piece shows us Daphne trying to escape from the god Apollo. Look at the hands and feet of the nymph, which are turning into laurel. They say that it was Apollo who invented the laurel crown in order to keep Daphne by his side. 

We simple must point out that on the same floor there are six excellent paintings by Caravaggio.

If you have a chance to go up to the second floor of the art gallery, you will be able to see a great many works by painters of the category of Raphael, Reni, Rubens or Veronese. 

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