Caravaggio in Rome
Mostly unrelated to the Synod on Synodality, my wife Sydny and I went to Rome in the last week of October. Upon arrival, we did have lunch with one journalist covering the synod: Robert Royal. You may have heard of him. We were exhausted because of jet lag, and Bob was weary of the synodal process. Walking around Rome, which Syd and I would do a lot of, is not nearly as tiring as “walking together” in a synod. Or covering it. But Rome does offer many compensations.
We began our second day in Rome with a tour of the Galleria Borghese, which houses a remarkable collection of paintings and sculptures in the Villa Borghese, 17th-century home of one of Italy’s great families. (Camillo Borghese of Siena had become Pope Paul V in 1605.)
Today, the Villa and the surrounding gardens are among Rome’s major attractions. The house was built by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of the aforementioned Paul V. As “Cardinal Nephew” (an official post at the time), Scipione engaged in what today would surely be illegal benefices that allowed him to build the villa and procure the art that fills it. (Scipione is buried in one of Rome’s most remarkable churches, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore – or St. Mary Major.)
The Borghese Gallery features most prominently the work of two great artists: Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.