Built between 1609 and 1613, this opulent structure - fountains, gardens, pink marble walls, frescoed ceilings - seems ideally suited to house one of the world's best collections of art. And that was exactly what it was built for. Architect Flaminio Ponzio designed it for the cardinal and art collector Scipione Borghese, who wanted a party villa on the edge of town where he could house his enormous collection of priceless art. In 1901, the collection (and the gallery, and the park that surrounds it) was acquired by the Italian government, and opened to the public.
As a museum, Galleria Borghese punches well above its weight with an impressive hit rate of masterpieces. Sculptures by Bernini and Canova, paintings, by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titian... the list goes on.