Seeing Stone Come to Life at the Borghese in Rome, Italy
Sculptures abound in Rome, but for serious soul lifting, check out the Borghese Gallery (make reservations in advance). Cardinal Scipio Borghese built the gallery to house his not-too-shabby art collection (works by Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Raphael, to name a few). It's hard to beat viewing Bernini's life-sized Apollo e Daphne in person. The pagan god, Apollo, reaches for the fleeing nymph as she metamorphosizes into a laurel tree. Tree bark envelopes her legs. Delicate leaves sprout from her reaching fingertips. Is there anything that can't be wrought from stone? Don't miss Antonio Canova's lustrous marble Pauline Bonaparte, reclining on a soft pillow, its fabric wrinkling under her body. After, stroll by the looming umbrella pines in Borghese Park and keep an eye peeled for the bright green parrots and swooping swarms of starlings.