Galleria Borghese is the original Villa Borghese, which gave its name to the park in which it sits. Designed by architect Flaminio Ponzio for Cardinal Scipione Borghese and constructed in the early 17th century, it contains works by Bernini, Caravaggio, Raphael, Botticelli, and countless other renaissance masters. Here is just a selection of the wonders within.
The Abduction of Persephone (Ratto di Proserpina) is the most famous marble sculpture undertaken by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Finished in 1622 when he was only 23 yeras old, it was commissioned by the Borghese family for the villa in which it still sits - now the Galleria Borghese.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the sculpture that portrays the Greek legend of Pluto's kidnap of Ceres' daughter is the apparent softness of Persephone's flesh beneath the grasping hand of the god of the underworld, perfectly hewn from solid marble.
When the gallery itself is a work of art: this ceiling was painted by Mariano Rossi over the course of four years. It depicts Romulus welcomed into Olympus by Jupiter.
Despite the massive detail shown, this sculpture is actually a model created by Bernini for a larger work, and is only about 10" high.
Apollo and Daphne is another marble masterpiece from Bernini. The god chases the nymph, who becomes a tree to escape his clutches. Completed in 1625 when Bernini was 24, it was one of four works originally commissioned when he was only 18.
Not all sculpture in the Galleria Borghese is by Bernini. This ancient Roman sculpture depicts a satyr in battle with a vicious dolphin.
Lesser-known than Michelangelo's famous statue, Bernini's David is nonetheless a masterpiece. The determination and tense fluidity of the combatant and his sling are strikingly captured.
The majesty of the Gallerie Borghese cannot be over-estimated. It's an absolute must-see.