Gardens of Lucullus

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Villa Borghese – Rome

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Located north of the famous Spanish Steps Villa Borghese is the third largest public park in Rome. The stunning park offers the visitors a breath-taking view over the Eternal City from the Pincio (Pincian Hill of ancient Rome). However this is not the only attraction that Villa Borghese presents; the park houses a lake, temples, statues, fountains and museums.

There are two main entrances to the Villa: from Piazzale Flaminio, near Piazza del Popolo, and from Porta Pinciana situated at the end of Via Veneto.

In the late Roman Republic period this area was known as Gardens of Lucullus. During the 16th century it became a vineyard and in 1605 Cardinal Scipione Borghese turned it into a landscape garden, the biggest built in Rome since the Roman period. The park was developed for the Villa Borghese Pinciana (Borghese Villa on the Pincian Hill) that the Cardinal used both as party villa and to display his art collection. The Cardinal himself prepared some sketches for the project.

During the 18th century an artificial lake was created in the middle of the park; a century later the gardens were remodeled in a more natural way following the English taste.

In 1903 the city of Rome bought the Villa from the Borghese family and opened it to the public. Few years later, in 1911, the park housed the World Exposition; many of the pavilions built still exist. Here is located the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna.

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The Galleria Borghese is the most famous museum between the ones present in the park. It is housed in the Villa Borghese Pinciana and showcases a stunning collection of sculptures and paintings from masters like Canova, Bernini, Titian and Rafael.

The park accommodates also the Museo Nazionale Etrusco.

Walking around the park visitors can enjoy the view of a gorgeous amphitheatre (Piazza di Siena), the 18th century Arch of Settimio Severo and a beautiful botanical garden.

The original Triton statues of the Moor Fountain of Piazza Navona were brought here while in the fountain are now display replicas from the 19th century.