Places like the Vatican Museums have so much to see that it would be like going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and trying to cover it in a day. You'd be dizzy and exhausted. The Borghese Gallery, by contrast, is much more manageable.
To begin with, the grounds are lovely - the house is accessed via broad tree lined walkways or carriage roads. There are plenty of benches where you can sit and have a cool drink, watch people, listen to musicians, and soak up the atmosphere.
You have to have advance tickets, at least this time of year, and you are given a time to enter; there is a two hour limit and then you have to exit and another group comes in. It means that the rooms are not crowded. You can see things, walk up to them easily and look closely.
|David by Bernini|
I've always been more interested in paintings than sculptures or mosaics, but that was before experiencing some of the things I saw on this trip. The Bernini sculptures are particularly wonderful. I loved the set of David's jaw, the dynamic posture as he prepared to deliver the fatal blow with his sling.
|Apollo and Daphne|
There are other outstanding sculptures, many fine paintings, including artists like Raphael and Caravaggio; and then there were these mosaics by Marcello Provenzale that caught my attention. The pieces were not that big - maybe something like 18" by 24". I've seen gorgeous mosaic that are very detailed so that from a distance you see the shadings as though they were paintings. But these were so much smaller - the individual pieces didn't seem to be much bigger than plump pieces of rice.
|Orfeo by Marcello Provenzale|