THE PALATINE HILL AND ITS SECRET GARDEN
ongoing until October 28
Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – piazza S. Maria Nova, 53. Opening hours: every day from 8:30 am to 7:15 pm – full price ticket € 12, reduced price ticket € 7 (admission to the Roman Forum + Palatine Hill + Colosseum + temporary exhibitions), free admission for visitors under the age of 18
Tel. 06 39967700 | www.coopculture.it
For the first time an exhibition narrates one of the best-known locations of Renaissance and Baroque Rome: the famous Gardens, or Horti, created by the Farnese family on the Palatine Hill and celebrates the completion of the restoration project carried out on the garden’s aviaries. Located inside a vast archaeological area, the exhibition’s itinerary follows the original path of the gardens commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in the 16th century: from the Via Nova, to the Roman Forum, up to the aviaries on the Palatine.
The itinerary is designed to tell the story of the Horti, from the garden’s original Renaissance landscaping by the Farnese family to the era of the Grand Tour, when they assumed that Romantic guise that enchanted Goethe, to the turn of the 20th century and the start of excavation projects to uncover the archaeological remains of ancient Rome. Plants and trees such as laurels, cypresses, yews, citrus trees, vines and damask roses have been replanted to help recreate the garden’s former glory.
Two exceptionally valuable sculptures, The Kneeling Barbarian and Iside fortuna, part of the Farnese collection at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, have been returned to the gardens and located inside the aviaries. Two giant busts, known as The Dacian Prisoners, which in the 17th century used to be located in the criptoporticus of the Ninfeo della Pioggia, are also a part of the exhibition.
The use of immersive technologies is a fundamental part of the exhibition. The Ninfeo della Pioggia, one of the entertainment areas built by the Farnese family, features an engaging time travel experience made possible by the use of sophisticated technology. Video mapping shows visitors the original layout of the Farnese Gardens, giving vivid perspective and bird’s eye views of the garden’s vines, pergolas and water features. The exhibition is a chance to enjoy a small piece of Roman history at a leisurely pace compared to the more popular tourist circuits of the nearby forum and Colosseum.