Monday, September 7, 2020



Piazzale Brasile/Piazzale Flaminio

It took shape starting from 1605 for the Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese (1577/1633), son of the sister of Pope Paul V Borghese (1605/21)

The nucleus of the villa had been property of the Borghese family since 1580, but in 1605 Scipione Borghese acquired the neighboring land and expanded it

The gardener Domenico Savini da Montepulciano collaborated in the design of the gardens

Among the collaborators there were also Pietro Bernini (1562/1629) and his son Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680)

The villa was renovated in 1793 by Antonio Asprucci (1723/1808) with his son Mario Asprucci (1764/1804) and various collaborators including the painter of landscapes and garden expert Jacob More (1740/93)

Later on the property was extended to Piazza del Popolo and Luigi Canina (1795/1856) took care of the expansion in 1822 for Camillo Borghese (1775/1832), known for his controversial marriage to Pauline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister

Luigi Canina designed the PROPYLAEA OF THE ENTRANCE FROM PIAZZALE FLAMINIO in the years 1827/29, and joined the two parts of the villa

It was sold in 1885 to the Italian government that gave the park in 1903 to the City of Rome keeping only the ownership of the Casino (the main building)

The total area of ​​the villa is about 80 hectares (198 acres) and the perimeter is about 6 km (3.7 miles) with eight entrances

It is the third public park in Rome in size after Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada

“The villa, a symbol of the enlightened Roman patronage, is one of the most important examples of patrician suburban residence. Inside are enclosed buildings, sculptures, monuments and fountains, designed by eminent exponents of the baroque, neoclassical and eclectic styles, with centuries-old trees, lakes, Italian gardens and wide open spaces, made with great care and attention to ideas that were popular in Europe. The perfect balance between art and nature, a key element of its original features, is still perceptible, despite the profound changes undergone over the centuries” (Carla Scicchitano - Verdi Delizie, le ville, i giardini, i parchi storici del Comune di Roma)

It originally included a garden divided into THREE AREAS, the WOODS AREA, the PERSPECTIVES AREA or PARCO DEI DAINI (Deer Park) and the RUSTIC PARK:

Woods Area

South-East Area

It is known as Woods Area (recinto boschereccio in Italian) for the forest of elms, pines and cypresses. It was divided into 23 square blocks and the entrance was on Via Pinciana

Perspectives Area or Deer Park

North-East Area

It was the private garden of the prince, completely surrounded by walls and accessible only from the main building of the villa

It was decorated with many statues and some are still present: the colossal “Thirteen herms known as Termini” with baskets of fruit on their heads, maybe ancient restored about 1616 by Pietro Bernini (1562/1629)

“Perhaps, just because of the incredible genius of his son Gian Lorenzo, Pietro Bernini was misunderstood by modern critics. He was rather an artist, though not prominent, yet witty and clever, and always looking for new means of expression. Trained primarily on ancient statuary (he was one of the most experienced restorers of his time), he worked steadily for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, particularly for his Villa Pinciana” (Cesare D'Onofrio)

It was called the Deer Park (Parco dei Daini in Italian) for the presence, until the nineteenth century, of deer and gazelles

Forest with about 600 holm oaks

Rustic Park

West Area

It used to be a game reserve in an area of ​​about 40 hectares (99 acres)

Where the lake is now there was a forest with about 800 holm oas

In VALLEY OF DOGS originally known as the Valley of Graziano or Valley of the Sycamore Trees there are still some sycamore trees planted about 400 years ago

The buildings of the Rustic Park (Parco Rustico in Italian) were already here when Scipione Borghese acquired the property and they were originally farmhouses

Entrance Portal from Via Pinciana

1606/06 Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613)

It was not built in front of the main building since the road which it should have faced was small and seedy. The plan was to favor the main street, the current Via Pinciana. When the road was widened the portal had to be moved back

On the sides there were until the end of the nineteenth century two statues of herms, “Priapus” and “Flora” sculpted by Pietro Bernini (1562/1629) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) who welcomed the guests with flowers and fruit. They are now at the Metropolitan Museum in New Yok

Small Theater

1613/16 maybe by Girolamo Rainaldi (1570/1655)

It is known as Teatrino in Italian. It is at the end of Viale dei Daini

Pavilions of the Aviary and of the Meridian


1617/19 Girolamo Rainaldi. Padiglione dell’Uccelleria in Italian


1680/88 Carlo Rainaldi (1611/91) and Tommaso Mattei (1652/1726), a pupil of Carlo Fontana

The Pavilion of the Meridian (Padiglione della Meridiana in Italian) was a building formerly used as a farm for chickens

The two pavilions are the completions of the prospective from second and third secret gardens

Wine Cave

1609/18 Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613)

Oval loggia with eight arches above the cave. It was used for storing the favorite wines of the refined Cardinal Scipione Borghese

Frescoes “Feast of the Gods” and “Nine Muses” by the painter from Urbino Archita Ricci (1560/1635) between festoons made out of stucco

It is connected to the main building of the villa with a tunnel

Graziano’s House

So called (Casa del Graziano in Italian) for the name of the previous owner, the jurist Stefano Graziani, from whom Cardinal Scipione Borghese had bought it in 1616

Cardinal Scipione Borghese used it to rest during breaks when he was hunting

Frescoes in the rooms of the first and second floor of 1500s restored and completed in 1616 by Annibale Durante, Flemish as Vasanzio

Frescoes and decorations in the loggia “Mythological stories regarding the winds” 1616 by Alessandro Turchi, Bernardo Castello, Marcantonio Bassetti and Ghilardo Spina

House of the Workshops

One-story building originally U-shaped and later partially demolished for the expansion of Via Pinciana

The name (Casino degli Uffizi in Italian) comes from the workshops that used to be here where marble was worked for the decoration of the villa’s main building

There are still some ancient reliefs inside

Today it is a kindergarten

Secret gardens

1) GARDEN OF THE SEVILLE ORANGES (bitter oranges known as melangoli in Italian) 1610/33


3) THIRD GARDEN between the Pavilions of the Aviary and of the Meridian about 1680. Here rare and exotic flowers used to be cultivated. It was restored in the late nineties with the reconstruction of the original seventeenth-century flower beds

4) GARDEN OF PROPAGATION used as a nursery for plants exposed in the other three gardens

Pincio Hill Gardens

228 marble busts of important Italians:

In 1849 52 were sculpted by unemployed artists and Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78) in 1851 still wanted to have them exposed even if he did censor some

On the small island in the middle of the artificial lake there is the so called TEMPLE OF AESCULAPIUS

1785/92 Antonio Asprucci (1723/1808) with his son Mario Asprucci (1764/1804)

“Ancient statue of Aesculapius” restored in 1785 by Vincenzo Pacetti (1746/1820) who sculpted together with Agostino Penna (known since 1768/d. 1800) the two “Statues of nymphs” on the sides

Around the lake four statues (now in temporary storage at the Canonica Museum) from the dismembered “Monument to Jan van der Capellen de Poll” by Giuseppe Ceracchi (1751/1801)

Jan van der Capellen de Poll was a Dutch jurist who was guillotined after an attempt on the life of Napoleon in 1800

Temples of Diana and of Antoninus and Faustina


1789 Mario Asprucci. Originally inside there was an ancient statue of Diana restored by Vincenzo Pacetti, now in the Louvre


1792 Christopher Unterberger (1732/98). It is composed of fragments taken from the ancient Roman Forum combined with modern parts

Inside there is an ancient statue representing “Faustina”

At the sides “Two altars” with copies of the inscriptions from the Villa of Herodes Atticus at the Caffarella Park

Tank of the Marcia Aqueduct

1925 Raffaele de Vico (1881/1969)

Water tank for the Pinciano neighborhood inside the Deer Park. Octagonal structure with rustic pond

National Institute for Agriculture

1906/08 Pompeo Passerini (1875/?). In 1934 the LIBRARY was added in a small pavilion

Twenty-four Fountains

The main ones:

FOUNTAIN OF THE MASKS (Fontana delle Maschere)

1575 Simone Moschino (about 1560/1610), Taddeo Landini (about 1550/96), Giuseppe Bartoli (XVI century) and Giacomo Silla Longhi (known since 1568/d. 1619) from a project by Giacomo Della Porta (1533/1602)

It was originally designed for the Fontana del Moro in Piazza Navona

FOUNTAIN OF THE HARVESTER LADY (Fontana della Mietitrice)

1934 Luigi De Luca. In front of the library of the National Institute for Agriculture with bronze statue “Reaper”

FOUNTAIN OF SATYRS also known as GAIA SOURCE (Fontana dei Satiri)

1925 Giovanni Nicolini (1872/1956)

FOUNTAIN OF SEA HORSES (Fontana dei Cavalli Marini)

1790/91 designed by Cristoforo Unterberger (1732/98) and executed by Vincenzo Pacetti (1746/1820)

FOUNTAIN OF THE HYDROCHRONOMETER (Fontana dell’Idrocronometro)

Designed in 1867 by the Dominican G.B. Embriaco who had presented with great success at the Paris Exposition on that same year

It was put in place by Gioacchino Ersoch (1815/1902) who also supervised the planning for the Pincio Hill Park

DARK FOUNTAINS (Fontane Oscure)

Maybe by Flaminio Ponzio (1560/1613). They were originally known as FONTANA ROTONDA (Round Fountain) and FONTANA OVALE (Oval Fountain) and decorated with statues and plants


1610 Antonio Asprucci (1723/1808) with his son Mario Asprucci (1764/1804)

The Acqua Felice aqueduct was extended to this spot in 1610 thanks to the work of Giovanni Fontana (1540/1614) at the behest of Paul V Borghese (1605/21) who wanted to provide with water the fountains of the villa

The stretch of the seventeenth century aqueduct was destroyed in 1849 by shelling of the French cannons and the current fountain is the only remnant of that work

Fifteen Monuments

The main ones:


1830 Luigi Canina (1795/1856) inspired curiously by the Arch of Titus

Canina wanted him to name the arch after Septimius Severus (193/211), a statue of whom was placed as a decoration on the top. The statue of the emperor is flanked by two statues of Parthian prisoners

MONUMENT TO UMBERTO I (King of Italy 1878/1900)

Davide Calandra (1856/1915), completed in 1925 by Edoardo Rubino (1871/1954)


1904 Valentino Casali. Gift of Kaiser Wilhelm II


1959 copy of the original by Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770/1844) now in the Trinity College, Cambridge


1922 Arturo Dazzi (1881/1966)


1838 Achille Stocchi (?/After 1870)

House known as Raphael’s House

Known in Italian as Casino detto di Raffaello, formerly known as CASINO DELL’ARBORETO DEI GELSI, the greenhouse of mulberry trees. It was the home of guardian of the villa

The original building known as Casino di Raffaello was located in the area of ​​the riding track and it was destroyed by the French bombardment of 1849

It was called Raphael’s House fom the presence of frescoes of the school of Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483/1520)

Transformed in 1991 by Antonio Asprucci (1723/1808) with his son Mario Asprucci (1764/1804) with the addition of the CHAPEL OF PIAZZA DI SIENA

Inside there are frescoes by Felice Giani (1758/1823) and G.B. Marchetti (1730/1800)

Marble statue of the “Virgin Mary” by Guillaume-Antoine Grandjacquet (1731/1801)

“Stylistically consistent with what it had already been expressed with the statue of St. Claude (the façade of the church of Sts. Andrew and Claude of the Burgundians), the figure is featured bringing her hands to her chest, wrapped in a large cloak billowing folds with reference, in the setting and in the seemingly soft marble, to the late Baroque tradition, strongly perceivable also in the execution of the cherubims on the fence, that, until some time ago, separated the presbytery from the faithful (Lefevre). (...) Grandjacquet (was part of the) Roman art scene of the second half of the century, still along the great tradition of the late Baroque style, but already close to the new eighteenth-century sensibility, especially in the decorations, because of his training influenced by Piranesi and because of market demands” (Rosella Carloni - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

To the side of the altar there is the tomb of the sculptor Pietro Canonica (1869/1959)

House of the Clock

Known as Casino dell’Orologio in Italian, it was originally the home of the caretaker and gardener

It was transformed in 1791 and became the seat of the collection of antique statues from the estate of the Borghese in Gabi, until 1807 when it was given to Napoleon and ended up at the Louvre

Embedded in the BACK FAÇADE there are two “Altars with inscriptions” the only remnant of the finds of Gabi

House of the Roses

Known as Casina delle Rose in Italian, this building is known since 1748

Purchased by the Borghese family in 1833 as part of Villa Manfroni for the expansion of their villa

Restored by Luigi Canina (1795/1856) in 1834. It was used as a restaurant, a barn, home of attendants, a warehouse, a barn for cows, a disco, a bar and it is now the HOUSE OF CINEMA (Casa del Cinema) with outdoor screenings in summer

Riding track

Two centuries ago this wide valley was an extraordinary attraction built by Francesco Bettini self-taught gardening enthusiast

It was beautifully decorated with exotic plants, an artificial volcano, fake Gothic ruins, an Egyptian pyramid, bridges, fountains. Everything was destroyed by the French bombardment of 1849

Now it is used as a riding track


Pietro Canonica Museum

Building known as CASA DEL GALLINARO (House of the hens’ keeper) in the seventeenth century since here were reared ostriches, peacocks and ducks

Restored in 1793 and transformed into a castle maybe by Antonio Asprucci (1723/1808) and his son Mario Asprucci

In 1919 it was devastated by a fire to which followed a prolonged abandonment

In 1926 it was granted as a studio and home to the painter, musician and sculptor Pietro Canonica (1869/1959) and since 1961 it houses the PIETRO CANONICA MUSEUM with sculptures, paintings of the nineteenth century and home furnishings. A splendid example of house-museum

In front of the museum there is the “Monument to the Alpine Soldier” by Pietro Canonica

SEVEN ROOMS with collection of sculpture

In the old wing of the building with PRIVATE APARTMENT with NINE ROOMS which was opened to the public in 1988 after the death of Maria Assunta Riggio Canonica, second wife of the artist, who had continued to live in the apartment even after her husband's death in 1959

“The rooms of the apartment have been restored and completely furnished by Pietro Canonica in the Piedmontese style of the eighteenth century, giving pre-eminence to a conception of space of representation that would have suited his public image. So these are rooms that, reflecting the spirit of the artist, of his era and his social environment, are a unique example of house-museum among the variety of museums in Rome” (Official website of the Pietro Canonica Museum

Room I

Portraits predominantly of women

“Sculpture of Donna Franca Florio” 1900/04

“The communicants” about 1920

“Star in the morning” about 1925

Two sculptures of the same name “After the vow was made” one sculpted in 1893 and another one sculpted in 1920

“Princess Emily Doria Pamphili” about 1920 replica of the original kept in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj

Room II

Portraits and other sculpturess connected mainly with the Russian imperial family

“Plaster model in original scale for the bronze monument to Tsar Alexander II of Russia” 1912/14

“Plaster model patinated as bronze for the equestrian monument to Nicholas Nicolajevich” 1911/13 meant to be placed in Manejnaja Square in St. Petersburg, destroyed in 1917

Sculpture in patinated plaster “Alexandra Feodorovna, Tsarina of Russia” about 1910. The marble work is in the Pavlovsk Museum in St. Petersburg

Plaster funerary monument for Giulia Schenabl Rossi “The Blast” 1924

Room III

Commemorative monuments

“Of particular interest is the monument to King Faisal of Iraq, the only evidence left after the destruction of the original in the revolution of 1958. (...) The reputation of Canonica as a portraitist and author of monumental works was consolidated at the court of the Tsars as he made for Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna numerous portraits of members of the imperial family and members of the Russian nobility. The Tsar also commissioned the artist two great commemorative works: the monument to the Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolajevich and the monument to Tsar Alexander II” (Official website of the Pietro Canonica Museum -

“Monument to Kemal Ataturk with the conquest of Smyrna” 1932

“Group of the Battle of Sakarya, Monument to the Republic of Turkey” 1928 in plaster patinated as bronze

“Monument to King Faisal I of Iraq” 1932/33

Beautiful “Vigil of the soul” 1901 in patinated marble

“Funerary monument to Josè Figueroa Alcorta, President of the Argentine Republic” 1935 plaster model for the base of the bronze monument in the Cemetery de la Recoleta in Buenos Aires

“Doors of the Abbey of Montecassino” 1951


Room IV

Small passage room with busts

“Michael of Romania” 1943 and “Helen of Romania”

“Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta” 1934/36

Room V

Sculptures normally in storage or restored recently

“Monument to Alessandro Manzoni”

“Monument to Antonio Rosmini”

“Sketch of the statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mary” sculpted for the city of Cosenza and replicated for the Abbey of Casamari

Room VI

Works with sacred subjects

“Monument to St. John Bosco” 1934 model for the huge statue in the Basilica of St. Peter

“Christ scourged” about 1920 replica of the funerary monument made in 1898 for the Falletti family in the Cemetery of Turin

“Funeral Procession” 1924 plaster patinated in bronze, original model for the bronze relief decorating the funeral chapel of the Chiapello family in the Cemetery of Turin

Bronze sculpture “St. Paul of Tarsus” post 1940

Bronze sculpture “St. Peter” 1936/40 model for the original in marble executed in 1950 for the Lateran University

Room VII

Portraits and three large allegorical works

The three allegorical works: “The Abyss” 1909, “Torso of a Woman” 1896 and “Shame” about 1920

Among the portraits:

“Luigi Einaudi” 1948

“Kemal Ataturk” 1927

“King Fuad I of Egypt” 1929

“Guglielmo Marconi” 1938

“Vittorio Scialoja”

“Sidney Sonnino”

“Beatrice” 1910

“Edward VII of England” 1903/04 cast of the marble work now in the Osborne House in the Isle of Wight

“Benedict XV Della Chiesa (1914/22)” 1924/28 study for the monument in St. Peter's Basilica

“Virginia Agnelli Bourbon del Monte”

“Princess Olga of Greece” 1910

“Vittorio Emanuele” and “Maria Pia of Savoy” as children

Private apartment

“Stele for the monument to Giovanni Paisiello” 1938

Among the PAINTINGS there are works by Antonio Fontanesi (1818/82), Alberto Pasini (1826/99), Lorenzo Delleani (1840/1908) and the self-portrait of Pietro Canonica himself

“These rooms were actually lived in by the artist as an extension of his studio, both for unavoidable reasons of space and light, and for intimate adherence to the principle of identity between Art and Life, very popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. An ideal that derives from myth of the total work of art, as concocted by Wagner, whose results in the entertainment world were revolutionary for his way of making theater. An ideal that will also affect other areas of art and literature, down to the daily life of many artists at the turn of the century” (Carla Scicchitano – Verdi Delizie. Le ville, i giardini, i parchi storici del Comune di Roma)


Carlo Bilotti Museum

In the Orangery

It opened in 2006 in the former manor house and eventually, since 1776/78, storage area for citrus


Bronze sculpture “Big cardinal” by Giacomo Manzù (1908/91) part of a run of eight copies made in 2004, from an original cast of 1965

“The Cardinal standing interprets the theme in the most solemn way, with the schematic pyramid structure wrapped in the simple and powerful mass of the stole, his face serious and impenetrable dominated by the miter, devoid of portraiture intent. (...) Manzù has been one of the leading interpreters of sacred themes of our times” (Official website of the Museo Carlo Bilotti –

Bronze sculpture “Hector and Andromache” by Giorgio de Chirico (1888/1978)

“The composition presents, in dimensions larger than life, a plaster model made by de Chirico in 1966. The sculpture of Hector and Andromache characterizes the exterior area of the Orangery where it ends up having an advertising effect. The work is able to communicate the absolute and universal value of that last gesture of farewell between the two spouses imagined by Homer, played by the usual mannequins a la De Chirico, almost completely humanized and hit by a dramatic wind that shakes the robe of Andromache” (Official website of the Museo Carlo Bilotti –

TWO LARGE ROOMS WITH COLLECTION OF WORKS OF CONTEMPORARY ART donated by the collector Carlo Bilotti (1934/2006) to the City of Rome:

Remarkable and extensive collection of works by Giorgio de Chirico (1888/1978) including:

Painting “Archaeologists” about 1927

Painting “Mystery and Melancholy of a Street, Girl with Hoop”

“Late replica, executed by de Chirico probably at the end of the sixties and backdated to 1948, of one of his famous painting of 1914. It is an example of one of the most famous and discussed expressions of De Chirico’s art, the execution of replicas of previous paintings, upsetting any conceptual distinction between original and copy. Compared to the original of 1914 in this painting there are less arches in the building on the left, the shadow of the monument that comes out from the building on the right is missing an arm and the bandwagon has no wheels. The theme of absence seems to pervade the work in every detail, in the figure of the girl, in the long shadows of the figures behind the palace, in the distressing railway wagon” (Official website of the Museo Carlo Bilotti –

Bronze sculpture “Orestes and Pylades” 1965 from a terracotta made in 1940

In addition there are works of art of other artists:

Painting “Summer” 1951 by Gino Severini (1883/1966)

Painting “Mother and daughter Tina and Lisa Bilotti” 1981 by Andy Warhol (1928/87)

Painting “Carlo with Dubuffet in the background” 1994 by Larry Rivers (1923/2002)

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