ROME, LAZIO, ITALY – My first visit to the Galleria Borghese should have been on my first trip to Rome, but unfortunately it was not until three years later that I finally made it to what I might now call my favorite museum in the city.
It was early February. I wandered through the cold grounds of the Borghese Gardens, more empty then than I would ever see them again (though I had no idea of it at the time). I came upon the Villa and headed into its warmth, having few expectations and only distant ideas of pieces I wanted to view within. What I remember most about the experience: the unbelievable light of Caravaggio, my own excitement over seeing Titian pieces I presented on in college, an aching neck from too much admiration of the frescoed ceilings.
What really made this museum is the same thing that really made Rome what it is today: Bernini. His ‘Apollo and Daphne’ is exquisite and moving; his ‘Rape of Persephone’ left me speechless. The majority of my visit I spent circling his pieces, studying and marveling over the most minute details – I ran out of time before I even finished going through the museum, enchanted as I was by his sculptures.
When they shuffled me out after the two hour mark had passed, I wandered around to the back of the villa. No pictures are allowed inside the museum, so I tried to sneak a shot of a Bernini through the window, but received a severe head shake from a very serious looking guard, who then blocked my view.
I turned and snapped this instead. The grounds were empty. The sun was setting, and painted a streak of warm pink in the clouds. It was quiet. I was satisfied.