One of the most breathtaking locations in Rome is opening to the public from January 3rd. Villa Bonaparte, France’s embassy to the Holy See, will open its doors to Romans and tourists.
Visitors will be able to discover the history, culture and beauty of this piece of France in the Italian capital.
“Opening the embassy to citizens is a politically important gesture”, commented Ambassador Florence Mangin, “which unites and allows everybody to discover a place of culture, art and history of great relevance.”
Restored in 2018, the sumptuous villa has a portico with six Doric columns overlooking the beautiful gardens. The villa’s features include a large room adorned with stuccos and paintings with a mythological theme; the Egyptian room, decorated in honour of Napoleon’s military campaigns; the chapel with stuccos from the 1700s; the dining room, displaying 17th century French paintings from the Louvre museum; and the loggia with a 1700s floor and characterised by a ceiling decorated as a luxurious garden similar to the one surrounding Villa Paolina, known as Bonaparte.
Short history of Villa Bonaparte
The villa was built in 1750 inside the Aurelian Walls, between Porta Pia and Porta Salaria, at the request of Mantua Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga, secretary of State to Pope Benedict XIV. At the time, it was one of the most refined countryside homes.
When the cardinal died, the Sciarra Colonna family bought the property. Subsequently, in 1816, Paolina Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon and bride of prince Camillo Borghese owned it. Major renovation work was carried out at Paolina’s request.
Inside, the atmosphere is still as cultured and refined as Napoleon’s sister wanted it. She loved surrounding herself with the most popular artists. During a trip to Rome in 1820, Irish writer Lady Syndey Morgan wrote: “Of all the villas owned by the Borghese family, only one offers English fascination, French elegance and Italian taste combined in the happiest manner: Villa Paolina Bonaparte”.
Guided tours are available in Italian and French each Tuesday and Thursday, from 10:30 until 11:30.