Walking Slowly and Appreciating Weirdness in the Villa Borghese

I’ve been to the Villa Borghese a number of times. I have rarely though gone up there to laze about and wander through the trees. The other day, on a particularly warm afternoon I meandered up there to really see the Villa Borghese. There were definitely bits (pretty famous bits, even) of the park I had never seen, including a little pond with a faux-Ancient temple that was brought to my attention by that terrible Woody Allen movie about Rome (don’t see it, it’s awful. There are a few nice views of the city, but really that’s all it’s good for). Specifically this:

kind of surprised I had missed this before
kind of surprised I had missed this before

And while the little pond was lovely what really struck me during my meander through the park (other than intensifying my fear of horses, because all of the police in the park were mounted and there were A LOT of them), was how astonishing and otherworldly the pine trees are. The pines of Rome (maybe you’ve heard of them, of Respighi fame?) are unlike any pine trees I’ve ever seen anywhere. They are very tall, with spindly trunks that end in a sort-of saucer of needles at the top. Like this:

pines
pines

They’re all over the city, but the concentration of them in the Villa Borghese lends an almost alien appearance to the landscape.

aliens!
aliens!

This bizarro appearance is definitely helped along by some of the sculptures in the park. Including this GIGANTIC monument to one of the Umberto kings of Italy (I forget whether it’s primo or secondo):

unexpectedly large and unsettling equestrian monument!
unexpectedly large and unsettling equestrian monument!

and yes, there is a creepy hooded figure dominating the base. There are also, which you can’t see in the above, these cheery reliefs at the bottom:

not weird at all!
not weird at all!

After my meander-y afternoon I have a reinforced appreciation for the villa, for the pines, and for the strangeness that is an inherent part of both.

totally regular
totally regular
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One thought on “Walking Slowly and Appreciating Weirdness in the Villa Borghese

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