In the 17th century, the powerful Cardinal Borghese acquired 148 acres of unruly land on the Pincian hill to build his hunting lodge. Inspired by English country gardens he transformed the landscape into Rome’s most exquisite garden since antiquity.
Forever since the Villa Borghese has become synonymous with elegant grandeur. There are Roman pines, busti of important Italian figures and of course the elegant palazzo, Borghese Gallery, which houses an unparalleled collection of Caravaggio’s, Bernini’s and other precious renaissance pieces.
The park has become a wonderful place of culture in Rome. There is the replica of the Globe theatre in London, which showcases traditional Shakespearean and Elizabethan theatre, then there is the absolute delight that is the Cinema dei Piccoli.
From first impressions you might mistake this little wooden structure as a gardener's shed but it is infact the world’s smallest cinema with only 63 seats. The cinema was built for children so they could watch their animations and cartoons. The kind man behind the idea was Alfredo Annibali. Inspired by Disney, he originally named the shed after Mickey Mouse: ‘Cinema Topolino.’ Unsurprisingly, Disney were displeased and the cinema changed name to the lovelier Cinema dei Piccoli.
After some declining years, the cinema is in safe hands (with air conditioning!) and is considered a cultural landmark in Rome for kids. The park is also home to another special space just for children, Casina di Raffaello. The handsome structure was mistakenly thought to be Raffaello’s studio and has since been transformed into a ‘ludoteca’ games room where children can come to play, paint and have fun.