Villa Borghese, Rome The Villa Borghese is the largest public park in Rome. It features a lake, temples, fountains, statues and several museums. The park is located north of the Spanish Steps. Main entrances are at the Piazza del Popolo and the Porta Pinciana at the end of the Via Veneto. The Borghese park is a pleasant refuge from the hectic streets in Rome. History The area started as a vineyard in the 16th century. In 1605 cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of pope Paul V, turned the vineyard into a park. The landscaper Domenico Savino da Montepulciano designed a very formal park with geometric shapes, the first such park in Rome. A villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio after a sketch from the cardinal himself. The park was later laid out in a more natural way. At the end of the 18th century an artificial lake was created in the middle of the park. On the island in the lake, an small Ionic temple was built. It is dedicated to Aesculapius, the God of healing. A Public Park In 1903 the city of Rome obtained the Villa Borghese from the Borghese family and the park was opened to the public. The 80 hectare/148 acres large park now featured wide shady lanes, several temples, beautiful fountains and many statues. 1911 World Exposition In 1911 the World Exposition was held in this park. Several of the pavilions built by the different countries still exist. The most impressive of these is the British School, built after a design by Edwin Lutyens. Other buildings represented Austria, Denmark, Egypt and Sweden.turkeyarena.com Park of Museums Dubbed the 'park of museums', the Villa Borghese park is also home to several museums. The Museo e Galleria Borghese is housed in the Villa Borghese. One part of the museum, the Museo Borghese, has a collection of sculptures with some important works by Canova and Bernini, including the latter's 'abduction of Proserpina by Pluto'. The Galleria Borghese comprises a collection of paintings from several masters including Titian, Rubens and Raphael. The Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna is located at the grounds of the 1911 World Exposition. The museum has a collection of 19th and 20th century paintings. It contains mostly works from Italian artists. Not far from the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna is the Museo Nazionale Etrusco. It displays a collection of pre-Roman objects, mostly Etruscan, excavated around Rome. The museum is housed in the Villa Giulia, a villa built in 1553 as the summer residence of pope Julius II. More attractions The park also contains an amphitheater (the Piazza di Siena), an 18th century arch (the arco di Settimio Severo) and a botanical garden. You might also notice Triton statues which look exactly like those on the Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain) at the Piazza Navona. The originals were moved from the piazza to the park, the Tritons on the Piazza Navona are actually 19th century replicas!