Italy Trip: Galleria Borghese Art Lesson

I may be forever biased because this was my first course in any art piece, but this was definitely my favorite art museum of Roma. Because of the required reservations, there are only about 350 people in the building at once. This allows you to enjoy pieces without being herded and shoved around (as I experienced in the Vatican Museums... More on that later).
Beautiful facade; it looks smaller than it is in person! 
Getting there was an adventure on its own. 

TIP #1: It is required to make reservation to this place at least days in advance.Have the place you're staying book the reservation for you (saves the international calling fee). They'll provide you with a booking number that you give at the Galleria to confirm.

We got off the Metro in a place that didn't at all look like the entrance to a museum. 

TIP #2: The VILLA Borghese is the name of the entire grounds (which includes horseback riding, a zoo, numerous museums, and an expanse of green grass for picnicking). Keep this in mind and leave AT LEAST 45 minutes to find the place.

Errol and I got horribly lost because we exited the metro at the galoppatoio (Italian for "gallup"). It took us asking 4 different people in the rain, "Dov'e' la Galleria Borghese?".

TIP #3: Italians don't give good directions.

TIP #4: Don't ask a question in Italian if you can't understand the answer in Italian.

Unfortunately I couldn't tell you how to properly get there without walking through horse sh*t, but here's a map! 

I'm pointing to where we got off with the dotted line the roundabout path we took. And circled for you where you should ACTUALLY get off.
We finally arrived around 8:50 for our 9am reservation and there was still a line despite our Roma Pass. We were  all there for the same time slot, just waiting to get our tickets. It wasn't until about 9:10 that we finally got in.

TIP #5: They make you check your bag because there's no picture-taking allowed.

We were in the first marvelous Room of Emperors before we realized we had no idea what we were looking at. It was then we decided to use an audio guide that we saw many people using.

TIP #6: If you're with someone else, bring your own pair of headphones and share a guide to split the cost! It takes coordination, but definitely works.

I have to say the audio guide was essential to enjoying the Galleria. As much as I would like to be, I'm not an artwork connoisseur. The audio guide gives you an overview of a room, then you walk around and can listen to other specific works.

Here are some of my favorite ones (found these images from the internet). The information is what I can remember from the audio guide. I do not claim to be any sort of art expert, so if I'm wrong please feel free to correct:
Caravaggio's La Madonna dei Palafrenieri: Our first exposure to the painter , who we saw a lot more of in the Vatican Museums and in Florence. It demonstrates the his typical dark background with unseen light source. Virgin, with the help of her son, tramples on a serpent (emblem of evil). 
Titian's Sacred and Profane Love: "Sacred" as fully dressed and "profane" as nude.  In the center, is Cupid mixing the waters within the well/sarcophagus the ladies are sitting on, suggesting that the ideal love is a mix of these two kinds.
Canova's Paolina Borghese: I really loved this one just because of how real the sculpture looked. Not just because of her body, but the cushions she lays on. They look so comfortable!  
Bernini's Ratto di Proserpina: Depiction of the abduction of Proserpina to the underworld (represented by the three-headed dog behind the two figures, you can't see from here) by the god Pluto. On the left, you can see how soft the marble flesh looks in Pluto's arms. Tons of action and detail in this sculpture.

Bernini's Apollo and Daphne: This is the final room of the Gallery, and for good reason (this is a compilation of it at multiple angles). It depicts the climax of the story of Daphne in Metamorphosis. Apollo is hit by Cupid's arrow and sees Daphne, daughter of Peneus the river god. But Daphne has been struck by Cupid's love-repelling arrow and denies love of men. As Apollo catches up to her, she prays to her father to destroy her beauty, and she becomes a tree. The sculpture depicts her as the bark begins to engulf her body and her hair turns into leaves and branches. My favorite piece! 
After the Galleria, you can spend the entire day in Borghese Gardens. 

It's compared to NYC's Central Park, and if it hadn't been raining (as it did every day we were in Rome), we would have done so. The original plan was to have a picnic there, but we couldn't find a nearby market so we walked off site to a restaurant and came back to walk around. 

This was a lovely day; I highly recommend going to this place! 

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