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One of the best public water fountains in Rome is outside the Villa Borghese-- the scallop-shaped fonts on either side of the entrance to the promenade up to the main building. I don't know who built it, but the water there is flavorful, cold, and so refreshing that I remember it very clearly at a distance of several years. I also remember some of the interior of the Villa Borghese, principally the Bernini, and of the Bernini especially the Apollo and Daphne, which would be enough by itself to make a world-class art museum.

This means that I must have seen the Canova statue of Pauline Bonaparte (Princess Borghese) as Venus Victrix, which has been one of the prides of the Villa Borghese since before it was a museum, and which indeed may have been the impetus for the house to turn into a museum, because tourists have been turning up to see the thing since before Canova finished it. But I can't remember it at all. I plead that both the Canova and Pauline herself were famous for being beautiful in the style of the Venus de Milo, which I have never found especially attractive; also, even though Pauline is not wearing very much at all, this is far less scandalous in a room full of classical statuary at two hundred-odd years distance than it was when the model was the sister to the Emperor of France.

Unfortunately, this biography rather resembles the statue. )


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