Wednesday, September 2, 2015

View of the Villa Borghese and Gardens 17th C.

In 1605, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V and patron of Bernini, began turning this former vineyard into the most extensive gardens built in Rome since Antiquity. The vineyard's site is identified with the gardens of Lucullus, the most famous in the late Roman republic. In the 19th century much of the garden's former formality was remade as a landscape garden in the English taste (illustration, right). The Villa Borghese gardens were long informally open, but were bought by the commune of Rome and given to the public in 1903. The large landscape park in the English taste contains several villas. The Spanish Steps lead up to this park, and there is another entrance at the Porte del Popolo by Piazza del Popolo. The Pincio (the Pincian Hill of ancient Rome), in the south part of the park, offers one of the greatest views over Rome. - Villa Borghese Gardens

The Gardens of Lucullus (Horti Lucullani) were the setting for an ancient patrician villa on the Pincian Hill on the edge of Rome; they were laid out by Lucius Licinius Lucullus about 60 BCE. The Villa Borghese gardens still cover 17 acres (69,000 m²) of green on the site, now in the heart of Rome, above the Spanish Steps.

"The fabled gardens of Lucullus were among the most influential in the history of gardening. For introducing the Persian garden, Pompey mockingly nicknamed Lucullus 'the Roman Xerxes', and Tubero called him 'Xerxes in a toga'. These comments demonstrate that it was well understood in Rome that this new luxury of gardening originated in Persia. Lucullus had firsthand experience of the Persian gardening style, in the satraps' gardens of Anatolia ('Asia' to the Romans) and in Mesopotamia and Persia itself. As Plutarch pointed out, "Lucullus [was] the first Roman who carried an army over Taurus, passed the Tigris, took and burnt the royal palaces of Asia in the sight of the kings, Tigranocerta, Cabira, Sinope, and Nisibis, seizing and overwhelming the northern parts as far as the Phasis, the east as far as Media, and making the South and Red Sea his own through the kings of the Arabians." - Gardens of Lucullus

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