Stumbling into Galleria Borghese


Rome left an impression. I had to walk through this ancient city for 45 minutes to reach my hostel because there was a train strike on the morning I arrived. It wasn’t the Trevi Fountain or the Spanish steps that made me look twice – it was a train strike. 

It amazed me how they could just use a plain A4 paper and a pen, wrote “LINE A CLOSED TODAY” in Italian and that’s it. Commuters were left to fend for themselves. Well, tourists, sucks for you to arrive today. You must be thinking, “Why didn’t you just take a cab?”. I wanted to but the queue was at least a football field’s length – I rather use the time on the queue for something else. So I walked. With my 20kg backpack, I walked for 55 minutes and thought I would just perish midway.

With my cached Google map (due to the fact that I know I will not have any 3G), I followed the best I could but somehow ended up in the Villa Borghese garden which houses one of the world’s most spectacular museum, in my humble opinion. In here, there was peace and tranquility. The honking of cars was annulled and for once, I caught a glimpse of how ancient Rome would have felt like. In retrospect, ancient Rome would have very much been like modern Rome – noisy, congested and crowded.

The tourist in me took the arduous walk without much complaint (who could I possibly grumble to anyways).  After all, having caught sight of the Galleria Borghese – the museum of sculptures, what’s there to fret? In here is the treasury of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. One is able to admire works from antiquities, the Renaissance to the beginning of baroque. What’s more, you get to satiate yourself with so much of Bernini with the least crowd in a Roman museum.

I had done my research before reaching Rome. I knew that tickets had to be reserved so I called to get it done earlier on. I went there on my 2nd day – queued for half an hour to collect the reserved ticket, and queued again to deposit our bags. His famous works such as Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius (1619), The Rape of Proserpina (1621–22), Apollo and Daphne (1622–25), and David (1623–24)  are all found here and truly, when you look at them, you would feel as though it was real humans that were turned into marble rather than being man-made works of a man. I took my time in the museum. Even today, my mind cannot wrap around how real those sculptures are. I wonder if people of today are even capable of producing art of this magnitude anymore. Post-modernism has taken over, yes, and I understand we are in a different epoch of human history but it would be nice to witness a resurrection of such breathtaking art once again.

For this alone, Rome became the city of love for me. And from here onwards, the great adventures of Rome began.

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