The Borghese Gallery is considered the queen of private collections of art in Europe.
The building was erected at the expenses of Card. Scipio Borghese, at he beginning of the 17th century, after the design of Giovanni Vasanzio the cardinal’s favourite architect. The museum originally consisted of many works of art found in the excavations made in the various properties of the Borghese family and especially at Gaby, the ancient Etruscan town. At the beginning of the 19th century Camillo Borghese, who had married Paolina Bonaparte, (the Sister of Napoleon I) yielding to wishes of the Emperor sold him for 15 million francs (which were never entirely paid) 200 works of art, that are now in the Louvre in Paris. After this loss the prince initiated new excavations and collected here various works of art which were scattered in his villas and palaces, and in about 1820 the new collection was formed to replace the earlier one.
Up to 1901 gallery and park were the private property of the Borghese family: in this year the Italian government bought the building and the collection for 3.600.000 francs. Guide of Rome.