Bernini Borghese Exhibition – Galleria Borghese Museum in Rome
The awesome Bernini Borghese Exhibition
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The Galleria Borghese museums, home to some of Bernini’s most incredible statues, sits in the middle of a 3 acre park in the north of Rome. Inside you’ll find some truly amazing sculptures. It is one of my all time favorite museums. The Bernini sculpture are show in such a way you can get close to see them up close. I love admiring how Bernini can capture softness out of the hardness in a stone.
The Galleria Borghese Museum has very special memories for me because this is the spot where my travel guide books fro kids were created. When we took our kids on their first international trip at 5 and 7 we chose Rome as part of the trip. Rome wasn’t my first choice because I had visited several times before and I wanted to see something new. But, Rome is truly an iconic and ‘must see’ international destination and we wanted the kids to experience it. I’m also part Italian and wanted to get a little flavor of their ethnic heritage from my side of the family.
I carefully researched the main attractions at the Galleria Borghese museum drawing from the highlighted items. I read about the artists, the choice of material (Bernini was a huge marble fan.), and the story behind each piece of piece of art – often mythology or religious in nature. Then, I wrote the information up at an elementary school age reading level and added some fun educational activities. These activities had the dual purpose of keeping the kids engaged and occupied and also learning.
Then, the magic happened.
There we were, standing in the middle of the Galleria Borghese museum in Rome – a mom and her two young children, aged 5 and 7. We were standing at the foot of a glorious statue – a masterpiece, David by Bernini. Both kids were quietly beside me while I read from my activity travel guide created for this moment. I told them the story of the art and all the while I was admiring the art myself. I was able to truly savor the art I so wanted to see – with the kids. NO whining, no rushing around chasing them and no fussing telling them to ‘be quiet’ or ‘act the right way’ or ‘leave your sister/brother alone’ that worries parents. The were so interested in the story behind the art and the information about the artist (Artists are usually very colorful characters!) that there was no asking when it was going to be time to leave. Instead, they were listening quietly and enjoying the art and the moment. The kids were learning and making wonderful memories with the whole family.
Fast forward to now and I have created a travel guide for all of our destinations. We have 13 travel activity guides for kids!
Galleria Borghese Museum: WEEKS BEFORE YOU GO!
Make your reservations online (ticketria.it) or call 06-32810 during office hours (be careful of time zone differences) Monday – Friday 9 – 6:30 Saturday (except August) 9 – 1:30. Press 2 for English.
Reserve as early as possible. Only 360 people are allowed to enter at a time.
Entrance times are:
9:00 11:00 1:00 3:00 5:00
Galleria Borghese Museum Information – DAY OF VISIT
Arrive 30 minutes before your entrance time to pick up your tickets.
NO PHOTOS ALLOWED:
Baggage check is FREE and REQUIRED. You have to check even small bags and purses.
You are allowed only 2 hours of time.
Galleria Borghese Museum – Why do you need to visit?
There is a lot of fantastic art in the Galleria Borghese but the most famous would be the statues by Bernini. I’m a huge fan of his work and the way he makes marble, such a hard stone, seem supple is amazing. Another famous work is by Canova and features Pauline, sister of Napoleon.
Pauline Bonaparte as Venus by Antonio Canova
This famous statue features Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Pauline. At the time she caused quite the scandal by posing naked for this work. She had no shame though and was not embarrassed. When asked about the nudity she suggested it wasn’t a big deal and replied, “The room wasn’t cold.” Admire the true masterpiece. The different textures shown in the art – like smooth skin and creased sheets were to be appreciated then and now!
David by Bernini
Bernini is one of Rome’s greatest artists and his artistic competition during his life with other artists at the time make for some really colorful stories. They basically spent years sticking their tongues out at each other. The kids love those stories which make the artists come to life and you will, too.
CLICK HERE for the Galleria Borghese Travel Activity Guide for your kids and have fun with the information yourself,too!
If you spend any time at all looking at art in Rome, you’ll see several examples of David. This is the David from the bible story ‘David and Goliath’ and the kids really enjoy the story. This example of David has a very serious look and appears to be just seconds away from slinging the rock that kills the giant, Goliath. Ask the kids for their take on his thoughts. Fear? Determination?
Apollo and Daphne by Bernini
Of all the sculptures in the Galleria Borghese, this was the kids’ favorite. The story behind it just captures them so completely and will lead to discussions on what is fair/not fair about this story. Apollo is in love with Daphne after being shot by Cupid’s arrow. Daphne, on the other hand, was shot by Cupid’s ‘anti-love’ arrow so she was filled with disgust towards Apollo. Did you know Cupid had two types of arrows?
So, Apollo chases Daphne inspite of her turning him down again and again. (Conversation #1 – No means NO.) He finally catches her so she cries out to her father for help. Her father ‘help’s her by turning her into a tree. (Conversation starter #2 – Why didn’t dad help by turning Apollo into a tree?)
The Rape of Persephone by Bernini
I’m not going to lie. I am a huge Bernini fan and this sculpture is one of my favorites. However, it is tricky to discuss sexual anything with kids. My kids were 5 and 7 when they saw this sculpture and I didn’t tell them the actual name because I didn’t want to answer the question, “What is rape?” so…I just called it “Pluto and Persephone”.
There is a lot of sexual ‘stuff’ in mythology – rape and philandering and so on. When I talk to young kids I just leave that part out. People are married and in love in my versions to the littles. When the kids get older you can talk more frankly, but that is up to you to decide based on the ages of your kids and how much you want to discuss at what time.
This sculpture is my favorite because Bernini manages to make the skin look supple even though the stone is so hard. Look closely at the indentions on Persephone’s flesh made by Pluto’s grasp. Her skin seems so real. That just amazes me!
The kids will also enjoy Pluto’s three headed dog, Cerebus at the foot of the statue.
Are your kids Percy Jackson fans? A lot of Roman gods are the same as the Greek gods but with different names. In this case Pluto = Hades. If your middle schoolers haven’t started reading Percy Jackson get them hooked now on this fun series. P.S. The movies are HORRIBLE so don’t be put off if you saw the movie and hated it. The books are SOOOO much better and definitely worth reading!
CLICK HERE for more books to read with the kids before traveling to Italy!
Caio and Happy Travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist