The Galleria Doria Pamphilj is more than an art museum. It’s a glimpse into life in an 18th century palace. The villa is located right on the Via Corso, Rome’s “main street”, but you could easily walk right by it … we almost did. The passageway entrance opens into a lovely courtyard.
You buy your ticket here and pick up an excellent audio tour. We had the place to ourselves. Sorry, no pictures inside but you can check out their web site. http://www.doriapamphilj.it/ukhome.asp
The audio is narrated by a descendant of the family who remembers visiting the home as a child. He is very entertaining and tells family stories and lore as he points out the most important pieces of art and furniture. The rooms are beautiful and the art collection is very impressive: Velazquez, Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio, Bruegel and more. The villa still has apartments that the family uses occasionally.
Another villa, turned art museum, is the Villa Borghese.
The Villa’s immense gardens are now a park on the north side of the city.
There is a zoo on the grounds with an impressive entrance.
We’ll have to save the zoo for another trip.
The orangery looks like a little villa.
Behind the Villa is a traditional sculpture garden.
Tickets for the Galleria are timed so crowds are controlled. Our reservation allowed us to enter at 5pm and we spent 2 hours browsing through the ornate rooms . Wikipedia has quite a few pictures of the art collection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galleria_Borghese
We made our way home in the dark – the only downside of traveling in November.
The Villa Farnesina, on the north edge of the Trastevere neighborhood, is a little gem of a villa. It was built by a banker in the early 1500s.
Unlike most museums where the art is hung on the walls, in the Farnesina the walls are the art!. Every surface is decorated with frescos, painted by masters such as Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giovanni Bazzi and, the original architect, Peruzzi. This was my favorite villa. It is amazing!
The mythological frieze around the top of the walls in this room was painted in 1508.
Drapery is painted where there are no pictures.
The loggia was originally open to the garden. The arched windows above the doors at the end of the room are painted to look recessed like the arches to the left. Another optical illusion.
Up the grand staircase to the Hall of Perspective Views.
All the walls are flat but the frescos add depth with pillars and vistas. You knew the scenes weren’t real but you really had to look carefully to see what was painted and what was architectural! (The floor looks bent in this photo because it’s a panorama – I don’t have a wide lens.)
The lentil above the door is real, you can see the shadow. All other depth is painted.
The Marriage of Alexander the Great and Roxana
A beautiful villa with a cat in the garden, what could be more purrfect.
It seems not everyone was captivated by this villa….. Or are they giving Mom their rapt attention while she reads from the tour book?