Villa Borghese, Modern Art and Santa Maria del Popolo

We relaxed until noon. Then we went by metro to Piazza del Popolo, which we wanted to study in daylight. But first we entered Villa Borghese Park, which is a fantastic park almost in the center of the city. We wanted to visit Galleria e Museo Borghese. The Borghese villa and its small palace were constructed at the beginning of the seventeenth century outside the Aurelian walls in an area then occupied by orchards and vineyards. It exemplifies the villa belonging to a great Roman family at the beginning of the seveteenth century. The Museum includes works of Raffaello, Antonio Canova, Pietro e Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Giulio Romano, etc. Unfortunetely we were not allowed to enter, as there were no more tickets. Well, I do not mean, that the museum was crowded, but they had just run out of tickets. We suggested, that we could just pay and enter without a ticket. Of course, this was not possible. How can you enter a museum without a ticket? We suggested, that they just gav us a handmade receipt for having paid for the entrance. No success. But if we came back next week, they would probably have got a new supply of tickets.

Alternatively we entered a museum of modern art (Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna) in the neighbourhood. In Rome modern art dates from after 1800! Our books told, that were 3 rooms with Danish artists. But after hour of searching we realized, that the rooms had been emptied on account of an exhibition, that was going to take place.

The Danish Institute of Art

We walked around in the beautiful park of Villa Borghese. In an area of the park are situated some institutions of science and art from different countries. For instance The Danish Institute of Science and Art in Rome. The buildings were donated from Carlsbergfondet. It's protector is H.M. Queen Ingrid, and every year on her birthday - March 28 - there is a special arrangement in 'the nordic coloni'. In the building are appartments, where Danish artists may stay for a period of time and use the facilities. Next to the Danish institute are similar institutes from Belgium, Sweden, England, and Austria. Among other things we spotted a street, named after Thorvald Bertelsen - remember the Danish artist, who had made the monoment of Pope Pius VII in San Pietro? Some time after we had returned to Denmark we visited Thorvaldsen's museum in Copenhagen. Besides being a museum, it is also the mausoleum of Thorvaldsen. The Danish people begged him to come back to Denmark after 40 years in Rome. When he had accepted, the Marine sent a corvet to Italy to bing him back to Copenhagen. You should see this museum some time - it is worth while.

Santa Maria del Popolo

Back on Piazza del Popolo we entered Santa Maria del Popolo. The church is not so impressing from the outside. But the interior is wonderful. The church is said to be built upon Nero's grave. Next to the grave was a tall tree with lots of crows making noise. Virgin Mary appeared for the Pope and asked him to remove the tree and build a chapel, and the ghost of Nero - and the crows - disappeared.

In 1505 Bramente extended the chapel. Most of the interior is made by Bernini. Especially his frecos are worth studying. Also there is a wonderful chapel - all statues and mosaics made by Rafael.

The cruzification of Saint Peter (121 KB), by Caravaggio.

We have also met Caravaggio on Malta. If we remember right, he had to fly to malta from Rome after having committed a murder. In Sct. John's Cathedral in Malta is a fantastic painting of John the Baptist being beheaded by Herodes (you remember that ugly story with Salome's dance of the 7 veils).

We also saw the twin churches - Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Monte Santo - lying next to Via del Corso. Birgit lit a candle (for Janet?). In fact not a candle. Instead she pushed a button and an electric bulb shone for a few minutes. Practical but very moving. But science will prevail.

In the evening we had osso bucco at Alfredo's. Another great day. Maybe you would like to follow us to morrow on our last day of this vacation? You do? Just click. But, we shall return.