Then a private vineyard, now a beautifully landscaped public park in Rome. This is what Villa Borghese is. Villa Borghese is the second largest park in the city. The first largest park ever built in the Eternal City is Villa Doria Pamphili.
Villa Borghese is the perfect stop for those who want to savor fresh air in the heart of Rome. The park offers a secret haven for relaxation despite the continuous developments around the ever busy Metropolis streets. It is located on the northern side of Scalla di Spagna or better known as the Spanish Steps, stretching from the top area of Via Veneto to Piazza del Popolo.
Villa Borghese provides a tranquil greenery to relax in the heart of Rome. It also offers a lot of interesting places to visit. There are also a bio park, a theater, a winter ice skating piste, a lake, a rollerblade and skateboarders space, some museums, a zoo and a number of wonderfully made fountains inside the vicinity of the park.
Giardino dei Melangoli
The Giardino dei Melangoli is one of the two secret spaces in the park that is swathed by trees. This garden of bitter oranges is embellished with a magnificently made eagle fountain built just in front of the adjoining mansion.
The Flower Garden
The Flower Garden is one other secret place inside Villa Borghese. It is a marvelously laid out and landscaped formal garden and is planted with beautiful flowers.
The Secret Garden
Villa Borghese also features other Italian gardens and parks that mirror the Baroque and Renaissance period characteristics. They call these charming enclosed spaces as the “secret garden”. One among the secret gardens found in Villa Borghese is the one that was designed by Rainaldi which expands in front of the Aviary and the Meridiana mansion.
Other interesting places inside the corners of Villa Borghese that are worth exploring for are the Gardens of Muro Torto, the Valley of Plain Trees and the Lake Garden designed by Jacob Moore, Piazza di Siena and the Bio Park. Adding to the places that make Villa Borghese worth every visitor’s time are the artificial Roman ruins of the Temple of Diana, the Temple of Faustina and the Casino dell’Orologio or the Clock Building.
History of Villa Borghese
The once private vineyard owned by the Borghese family was redesigned and expanded in 1605 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V, to create a private park. The park was named after the Borghese family on the condition that it must portray the most ostentatious, the most magnificent and the most opulent dwelling in the Eternal City.
Its original design, which looks like a very formal park because of its various geometric shapes, was done by Landscaper Domenico Savino da Montepulciano. It was then restructured in the following years to make it look more natural and pleasing. An artificial lake with a small ionic temple at its center island was then added at the end of the 18th century. The temple was devoted to Aesculapius, the god of healing. Flaminio Ponzio was the architect who built the villa.
When the state obtained the park in 1901 from the Borghese family, it was then opened for public visit. This eighty hectares park became the center for public events and festivals during the nineteenth century. It was also where most of the vibrant and grandiose firework displays were held. The fountains and the lake were also used for water games during public events. Villa Borghese has always been cherished by Romans. It became their favorite place for a stroll during fine days and during their leisure time.