Note: Click on photos for captions if not already marked. : )
Already over jet lag and on Italian time! This morning we ate our cornetti from a bakery and had our cappuccini. Then we took a taxi to the Borghese Gallery. Our taxi driver, Roberto, was so friendly (amichevole) and chatted with us in Italian. Vance wisely had the idea to reserve him to come directly to our apartment tomorrow to take us to the train station to get our rental car.
We had our reservation for 11:00 and toured the villa. The first floor is mainly sculptures, some Roman and Baroque, but the focal points in each room were the marble statues by Bernini. What’s most amazing is that Bernini can actually make the marble look soft, especially the sofa cushion and the flesh on the bodies. Of course, each room almost makes you go dizzy with paintings, sculptures, mosaic floors, and marble and faux marble (painted frescoes of marble) walls. And don’t forget the ceilings! On the second floor are more paintings by the following masters: Titian, Rubens, Raphael, Caravaggio, Grenach the Elder, Bronzino, Bellini, and more. Again, every inch of every room was decorated.
The Bernini statues above:
1) The Rape of Persephone
2) Apollo turning Daphne into a tree
3) Paulina Bonaparte Borghese, Napoleon’s sister, posing as Venere Vincere (Venus in Victory) side note: Venere is Venus in Italian, from which we get venereal disease.
4) Man bun for Richard!
5 and 6) more views of Apollo/Daphne, Hades/Persephone
We walked through the Borghese gardens to a little lake with rowboats, over to Piazza Del Popolo and then had a late lunch at Osteria Margutta on a beautiful vine-laden street. It was just a block from the main road but completely quiet.
What I forgot to mention is that we love to step into all the churches we walk by, and it’s amazing the treasures inside. One church in Piazza Minerva contained an early Michelangelo of a standing Jesus holding his cross. At another church, we saw three Caravaggios: Jesus calling Matthew, an angel inspiring Matthew as he writes his gospel, and the martyrdom of Saint Matthew. To view these works in the dark churches, you must insert coins in the light box to illuminate the works. Laura gifted the crowd with three whole minutes of light with her two Euro coin.
Tonight dinner at Barbara’s in Trastevere.