Galleria Borghese.


One is in Rome. The other is in The Hague.

Both were homes to wealthy men of completely different professions who were connoisseurs of fine art.

Who were these men? One was Cardinal Scipione Borghese and the other was Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen.

Scipione Borghese was a cardinal and nephew of Pope Paul V. Johan Maurits was a military hero and great nephew of William I, Prince of Orange.

Cardinal Borghese, although supposedly a man of God, was not against using foul means to acquire a piece of art that he coveted. Johan Maurits was scorned for perhaps profiting too much off of the slave labor in the sugar fields of the newly-conquered (over Portugal) Dutch colony of Brazil where he had been elected governor-general.

Cardinal Borghese, born into the wealthy Italian Borghese nobility family, was simply given the title of Cardinal by his uncle, Pope Paul V. Johan Maurits, from a successful military family, was related to Dutch royalty.

Cardinal Borghese built a splendid summer home outside of center of Rome. Johan Maurits built a home in The Hague that is considered one of the finest and most perfect examples of Dutch classicist architecture.

Cardinal Borghese spared no expense in building his home to showcase his collection of art, and the opulent decor of his home rivals the collection. However, Johan Mauritis was not attached to his collection and was known to have given away hundreds of prints and sketches, many to the then Kings of Denmark and France.

Now, both homes are world-class art museums.

Galleria Borghese has what most critics describe as the finest collection of Baroque sculpture anywhere. Mauritshuis' collection totals nearly 800 paintings, the oldest part of which are paintings owned in the 18th century by the stadholder, Prince Willem V of Orange-Nassau.

Galleria Borghese has three stunning Bernini sculptures including:

Apollo and Daphne       Photo: Web Gallery of Art                                      The Rape of Prosperina    Photo: Web Gallery of Art
Mauritshuis has three stunning Vermeer masterpieces including:

    Girl With A Pearl Earring                                                                                                       Photo: Web Gallery of Art
Galleria Borghese owns several paintings by Caravaggio such as:

David With the Head of Goliath                                                             Self-Portrait as the Sick Baccus
Photo: Web Gallery of Art                                                                     Photo: Web Gallery of Art

Mauritshuis owns several paintings by Rembrandt such as:

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholaes Tulp                                                          Self-Portrait (his last)  
Photo: Web Gallery of Art                                             Photo: Web Gallery of Art

NOTE: Neither one of these museums allows you to take photos; thus, I had to "borrow" the pictures of the artworks from the Web Gallery of Art.

Only 360 persons are allowed in the Galleria Borghese every 2 hours, so reservations are mandatory. Go to the website http://www.ticketeria.it/ticketeria/borghese-eng.asp and follow the prompts to pre-purchase and print out your reservation confirmation. If you are already in Rome, you can call 0039 06 32810. You may be able to make a reservation on the actual day you want to visit. Tickets are €11.50 plus a €1.00 reservation fee.

Absolutely purchase the audioguide for €5.00! It will make the visit that much more rewarding.

Galleria Borghese does accept the Roma Pass. The Roma Pass costs €25 and gives you:
  • Free entry to the first 2 visited museums and/or archaeological sites of your choice;
  • Reduced ticket prices to all other museums and/or archaeological sites thereafter; and
  • Free use of the city's public transport network.
Galleria Borghese is located in the middle of the Villa Borghese gardens, but public transportation options to Galleria Borghese are limited. You can catch Bus 910 from the Termini train station (get off at the PINCIANA/MUSEO BORGHESE stop) or Bus 116 from the Piazza Navona area (get off at the last stop--PORTA PINCIANA). If you are close to missing your reservation time, this might be one time to just take a taxi. The fare should be no more than €10-15 from anywhere in Rome.

If you have purchased the MuseumPass, you can use the pass to enter the Mauritshuis. You only have to pay an extra €1.50.

Once you arrive at the Den Haag train station, walk out to the street to the Tram platform. Take Tram #16 (Destination: Wateringen) to the Buitenhof Stop (the second stop). Remember to use the terrific Netherlands travel planning website http://journeyplanner.9292.nl/ or the other website I have just discovered:
http://www.htm.net/Pages/DEF/245.html which gives you an interactive map of all the tram lines in Den Haag.

You can use your strippenkaart strips for the tram ride.

NOTE: I went to the Netherlands in May and used strippenkaarts for public transportation. I have just read on the http://www.denhaag.nl/ website that the strippenkaarts are being discontinued at the end of 2009. Obviously they have extended the use of strippenkaarts into 2010, so strippenkaarts are my suggested method of transportation expense in the Netherlands--so easy to purchase and use).

Exiting the tram, you will have to walk back down the street (Lange Vijverberg) in the direction you came from until you reach the opposite end of the Hofvijver, the rectangular pond located in front of the government buildings. At the end of the Hofvijver, turn right down Korte Vijverberg which will lead you to the Mauritshuis.

The government buildings facing the Hofvijver.  Down the street to the left of this photo is Mauritshuis.

I have put a link to the Mauritshuis in my sidebar. However, the Galleria Borghese's website has been redflagged as a possible harmful site, so at this time you cannot access the site except at your own risk.

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