Roma—day 9 at Galleria Borghese

This is the hardest museum to get into in Rome. You have to reserve in advance because entrance is limited to 200 people at a time and you are only permitted to stay for two hours. If you try to linger, you get escorted out.

Despite coming to this place every time I have been to Rome, I always feel like I didn’t get to see everything I wanted. This time I decided to buy two tickets timed for the late morning, take a lunch break, then return for another two hours. There’s a lot of things in the Borghese but it isn’t so big in terms of floor plan. With four hours, I figured I could cover most of what I think I’d like to see.

Valadier work incorporating ancient carved precious stones

There’s a special exhibition of Valadier a 18th century artist who trained as a goldsmith. That meant there were additional things to look at such as massive chandeliers that were made for Santiago de Compostela in Spain and some incredibly detailed table centrepieces made from precious stones and metals. But it also meant no photos allowed. I thought it just meant the special exhibition works but the guards were stopping people from photographing Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne.

I managed photos in any event. The crowds help with covert photo taking and so does waiting until the guards leave the room or start talking among themselves. And using a phone instead of a conventional camera helps as well.

The big disappointment was that Caravaggio’s David and Goliath was on loan as was the John the Baptist. I think the David and Goliath is the best of the six Caravaggios in the collection.

Less Caravaggio meant more time for other works. A good development is the conservation of Raphael’s Deposition. It was damaged by humidity when we saw it in 2018. It’s now out of its frame and being worked on in a new Raphael room. The Gallery intends to keep it on display while the work takes place.

The Caravaggio and big Bernini works are on the first floor and I haven’t spent much time on the second floor. In fact, I went into rooms I had not been in before.

Some of the few female artists: Fede Galizia, top; Lavinia Fontana, bottom left

The Borghese symbols are the eagle and the dragon. You can find them on almost every ceiling.


Lunch was nearby at Hotel Eden’s La Terrazza restaurant. They had a Sunday buffet. I had two salads, a piece of Bolognese lasagne, arancini and a little choux filled with liver mousse.

I didn’t want dessert but still got this

After raining off and on, the sun came out late in the day.

Strolled to the Spanish Steps for a view.

I poked my head into a number of churches going and returning from the Borghese, which is 3 kilometres from the apartment. Other than the hour and a half sitting for lunch, I was on my feet from 9 am to 5:30 pm. There’s a lot of free concerts in nearby churches on this Sunday evening but my feet had enough walking.