Villa Borghese and the Villa Borghese gardens, Rome

This large, landscaped garden was originally a vineyard and was turned into the most extensive gardens in Rome by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V. It covers 148 acres and is the second biggest park in Rome. The Spanish Steps lead up to the park with another entrance at the Porte del Popolo, but the views from the Pincio ( the Pincian Hill) in the south of the park, offers the best views over the city of Rome. Within the park are museums, fountains, artificial lakes, winding pathways lined with statues, puppet theatres ( Teatro del Burattino ) on Viale dei Bambini and an old fashioned merry-go-round. There is also a Biopark in which endangered species or injured animals are cared for before being returned to the wild. In the Villa Borghese is the Galleria Borghese, in the Borghese collection there are sculptures from Bernini and paintings by Titian, Raphael and Caravaggio. The Villa Giulia adjoining the Villa Borghese gardens was built in 1551 – 1555 as a summer residence for Pope Julius III; now it contains the Etruscan Museum (Museo Etrusco). The Villa Medici houses the French Academy in Rome.

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