One of my favorite spots in all of Rome is the Villa Borghese and its emotive and naturalistic landscape gardens. The villa was built in 1605 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V. The Cardinal was an avid art lover and a patron of Bernini and a supporter of Caravaggio. He in fact was one of the first to appreciate the art of Caravaggio and began snapping up works of art, such as the “Madonna del Serpente” that failed to please local church officials due to their overly realistic representations of biblical figures.
The second floor of the villa is completely dedicated to sculpture and here you can find some of Bernini’s finest works. I tell you there is nothing more amazing than to stand in front of his statue of “Apollo & Daphne” or his version of “David”. You can’t help but be transfixed by the shear power of the figures he creates, while at the same time notice and appreciate the details and the subtleties of his carving techniques.
Once you have drunk in all the man made beauty inside the villa, by stepping outside into the gardens you will appreciate nature’s scenic beauty in the surrounding Borghese gardens. Enveloping the villa is a vast array of parks fashioned in the traditional English manner, featuring long gravel boulevards, large expanses of lawn, temples built purely as romantic features and scenic lakes. The parks are open to the public and you can enjoy a stroll or bike ride around the park. The vistas are incredible. From the southern end of the park, closest to the the piazza del Popolo, you will have one of the greatest views of Rome from the Pincian Hill of ancient Rome.
You can also frequent the Borghese gardens with a sketch pad or painting easel, as we will do next July on the next Matta Language and Art Workshop. Here surrounded by the noisy city, inside the Borghese gardens we will find a slice of peace and tranquillity and under the instruction of Kelly Medford we will capture some of the beauty that Cardinal Scipione Borghese set out to create over 400 years ago. Find your inner artist in Rome and join us for a week of language learning at Scud’It and sketching with Kelly.
More from Melissa Muldoon at http://www.studentessamatta.com