Museo Carlo Bilotti - Orange Villa Borghese

Viale Fiorello La Guardia. (Open Map)


In the eighteenth century the Orangery was known as the Casino dei Giuochi d'Acqua for the presence of fountains and nymphaea; it was also surrounded by the Lake Garden with its magnificent architectural features. In its richly decorated and furnished rooms the Borghese princes held parties and social events. 

Following serious damage to the building by French bombardment in 1849 during its defence of the papacy against the Roman Republic, the building was rebuilt and adapted to be a store for citrus fruit, thereby losing all its magnificent decorations. 

After decades of decline and an improper use of it as offices, the Orangery once again was turned into a place for recreation and culture following intensive restoration to make it a museum to contain the paintings, sculptures and drawings belonging to Carlo Bilotti, an Italian-American businessman and famous art collector. 

The donation of his collection – twenty-two works – is largely made up of paintings and sculptures by Giorgio de Chirico produced between the early 1920s and 1970s. Then there is the Portrait of Carlo Bilotti by Larry Rivers, the Portrait of Tina and Lisa Bilotti made in 1981 by Andy Warhol, Summer by Gino Severini, and the large bronze Cardinal by Giacomo Manzù. 

Additional spaces for temporary exhibitions have been created to allow the museum to keep up with developments in contemporary art. The creation of the Museo Bilotti is an exemplary cooperation between the public and private sectors. 

The new cultural institution is an additional element in the development of Villa Borghese as a Museum Park, a centre where art and culture meet.