Our last full day in Italy. 🙁
Being the end of our trip and after our exciting day yesterday, Randy and I were reaching our physical limits. So this day, we couldn’t push ourselves very hard.
We visited the Borghese Gallery this day, which was of course reserved a month in advance. I am glad we did because when we picked up our tickets, they were sold out for a week! The Borghese park was nice. There were people riding bicycles, others sitting on benches eating their lunches and you could hear saxophones playing in the distance.
The Borghese Gallery houses most of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculptures and antiquities. It begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese between 1613 and 1615. Scipione Borghese was an early patron of Bernini and an avid collector of Caravaggio’s works. (no pictures allowed)
The best part, in my opinion, of the gallery were all the Bernini sculptures. The Bernini sculptures that are in the Museo Borghese collection are some of his best works.They include “Apollo and Daphne,” “The Rape of Proserpina,” and his version of “David.” What Bernini does in his sculptures seem physically impossible: the way they move and show action. There is a reason why stone sculpture figures from previous times are stoic and still and it is because stone can’t be manipulated like that, to tell a story. And yet, that is exactly what he does.
We stood looking at his sculptures for some time. Another unique thing about Bernini’s work is that they were meant to be viewed from all directions. That is why they are showcased alone, away from any obstruction.
One of my favorite sculptures is here in the gallery,which is the reclining statue of Paolina Borghese by Antonio Canova. It was a very scandalous statue for its time, even for our time. But I think it is beautiful. And I kind of admire Paolina for her boldness. According to Rick Steves, when the statue was presented to the public, Paolina was asked, “How could you have done such a thing?” She replied, “The room wasn’t cold.”
After a few hours in the gallery we went back to the Roman Forum.
“It was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs.”
The Arch of Titus – “it was constructed in 82 AD, to commemorate Titus’ victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD.”
Basilica of Constantine – “construction began under the emperor Maxentius in 308, and was completed in 312 by Constantine I.”
Temple of Antoninus & Faustina – “The temple was begun in 141 AD by the Emperor Antoninus Pius and was initially dedicated to his deceased and deified wife, Faustina the Elder. When Antoninus Pius was deified after his death in 161 AD, the temple was re-dedicated jointly to Antoninus and Faustina at the instigation of his successor, Marcus Aurelius.”
Here is the burial place of Julius Caesar.
People still place flowers and burn candles here.
Arch of Septimius Severus – “a triumphal arch dedicated in AD 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, in the two campaigns against the Parthians of 194/195 and 197-199.”
Temple of Castor – “It was originally built in gratitude for victory at the Battle of Lake Regillus in 495 BC.”
Temple of Vesta – “All temples to Vesta were round, and had entrances facing east to symbolize connection between Vesta’s fire and the sun as sources of life. The Temple of Vesta represents the site of ancient cult activity as far back as 7th century BCE.”
Today, remains of the statues of the Vestals can be seen in the Atrium Vestae.
Temple of Saturn – “a temple to the god Saturn in ancient Rome. The original dedication of a temple to Saturn was traditionally dated to 497 BC.”
Walking around these ruins was a humbling experience. This was the seat of Roman’s power, where people met to shop and get news, where senators and caesars met to discuss politics and where people came to worship. It was amazing to think that I was walking around on the same stones as Julius Caesar and Constantine.