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We woke up early the next day, a bright Sunday morning, with ambitious plans.  After eating some of our groceries from the previous day (thereby saving several Euros) and getting dressed, we crossed the mostly deserted Piazza Navona to reach a Tourist Information kiosk just off the piazza’s northern end.  Our motivation for doing this was to buy Roma Passes for everybody.  A Roma Pass is a card, much like the Arte Card we’d used in Naples, which can be used for free entry to two Roman attractions, followed by discounts to many others.  It’s also good for free public transport around central Rome.  But it’s only good for three days.  We planned on getting our money’s worth.

Our first destination was to be the Borghese Gallery, well to the north and east of the Piazza Navona.  To visit the Borghese Gallery, one must first make an appointment for a specific time.  We had done so from home, making an appointment for 10:30.  By the time we’d acquired our Roma Passes, we had less than an hour to reach the gallery.  There are buses that go there from the Piazza Navona area, but they are somewhat indirect and leave less frequently on Sunday mornings.  So we had a choice of waiting for the bus and maybe getting there on time, or walking and definitely getting there on time.  It was a pretty substantial (and uphill) walk, but by this part of the trip we were in pretty decent shape, so we decided to walk.  We were helped by cutting through the Spagna Metro station, which had some moving sidewalks and escalators, and arrived with time to spare.

Bob on Escalator, Spagna Metro Station

The Borghese Gallery is housed in the Villa Borghese, which was originally built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 17th Century.  The collection of paintings and sculptures is terrific, but you’ll have to take our word for it.  Many Italian tourist attractions have no-photography policies, but some don’t enforce them very aggressively (or at all, sometimes).  At the Borghese Gallery, they are serious about it.  Visitors are required to check-in anything they are carrying, including all camera bags and purses, and then they are put through a metal detector to make sure nothing is missed.  There is a Borghese Gallery web site, if you’re interested in checking out some of the artwork.

Borghese Gallery

Nella and Connie, Borghese Gallery

In Front of Borghese Gallery
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Philip and Connie

The Borghese Gallery is situated in the Villa Borghese Gardens, an immense area atop the Pincian Hill that was landscaped at the same time the Villa was built.  After our visit to the Gallery, we headed westward though the Gardens, enjoying the shade, greenery and statuary we encountered along the way.

Statue of Goethe

Tourist Train

Pinciano Obelisk (Commissioned by Emperor Hadrian)

View of Piazza del Popolo

Balcony, Pincian Hill

Eventually we reached our next destination, the Piazza del Popolo.

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