On Sunday, we had tickets to the 1pm tour of the Galleria Borghese. We had purchased our tickets over the internet before we left, on the advice of Rick Steves. The museum requires advance reservations, and the visits are organized into two hour windows. So our group could go in at 1pm and had to be out by 3pm when the next group gets to enter.
The villa and museum collection was created by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in 1605. This is a story of how nepotism pays, as the Cardinal was the favorite nephew of Pope Paul V. The Cardinal was not religious, but the Pope made him Cardinal and Secretary to the Pope, which effectively meant he was the head of the Vatican government and could accumulate vast sums of money and land for his family.
So the Cardinal built a beautiful villa in a large park and stuffed it with great art. We get to enjoy his collection of Bernini sculptures, Titian paintings, and wonderful ceiling frescoes. This was by far the best collection of art we saw in Rome. No pictures were allowed, but if you click here you can get an idea of the collection.
Upon leaving the museum, we took a long stroll through the adjoining park, exiting at the Piazza del Papolo. Then we walked through the luxury shopping area of Rome occupied by every Italian designer you have ever heard of and wound up at the Spanish Steps, another Roman landmark. The steps aren’t too old, built in the 1720’s, a mere 290 years ago…
On our way back to the hotel, we had to stop for a gelato.
Being Sunday evening, we decided to try a kosher restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto. It turns out it was the same restaurant of the Zuckerberg sighting a few days earlier (his receipt is posted online if you want to know what he had to eat). About all I can say about the restaurant is I don’t think I will turn kosher anytime soon.