If you go to Rome, you should not miss the Villa Borghese, which is known for its beautiful gardens, fine art, and rich history. The House of Borghese was a prominent Italian family that originated in Siena, but moved to Rome in the 17th century. The villa was built on top of the Pinciana Hill to provide a suburban alternative for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who wanted a place on the outskirts of Rome to house his art collection. Today the actual house and its land are known as the Villa Borghese Gardens, which include a number of buildings and breathtaking gardens. The former vineyard was transformed into what are today known as some of the most extensive gardens in Rome since antiquity. The famous Spanish steps lead up to one entrance to the gardens and the second entrance is located at the Porte de Popolo. The Villa Borghese Gardens were bought by the commune of Rome in 1903 and were later given to the Roman public.
In addition to the exquisite gardens, the Villa also contains famous artwork. The Galleria Borghese is housed in the Villa Borghese itself and contains Bernini’s Daphne and David sculptures. The paintings in this museum are equally well known including works by Titian, Raphael, and Caravaggio. In addition to the main villa there are several smaller buildings such as the Villa Giulia that served as a summer residence for Pope Julius III and today contains the Etruscan Museum. Another famous building is the Villa Medici, which houses the French Academy in Rome. With all the beauty and art contained in just this one area, it not only is an interesting place to visit but is really a symbol for what Italy is all about.
*Make this Roman iced coffee drink to cool off this summer:
GRANITA AL CAFFE:
(copyright 2005-2007 The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati)
Makes 4 servings
1 ½ cups espresso coffee (use a good quality coffee such as Illy)
1 cup of spring water
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 vanilla stick
Makes 4 servings1 ½ cups espresso coffee (use a good quality coffee such as Illy)1 cup of spring water3 tablespoons of sugar1 vanilla stickCrushed ice Place water, sugar and the vanilla stick in a pan and let boil.
When boiling, take off heat.
Let cool and take out vanilla stick.
Place in an ice cube tray and let this mixture turn to ice in the freezer.
When frozen, place ice in ice crusher to crush or chop with a knife (carefully).
Place 3 tbsp. of crushed or chopped ice in each glass, pour hot coffee (just made) over the ice.