Borghese Family

The Borghese were an Italian noble family who became prominent in the 13th century due to their work as ambassadors, public officials, and magistrates. After they moved to Rome in the 16th century, they gained wealth and fame. Camillo Borghese became Pope Paul V, further increasing the wealth and prestige of the family. He also named his adopted nephew, Scipione Caffarelli, a cardinal. Scipione became active in church politics as well as the arts. He financed and restored many churches and palaces throughout Rome and supported Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who became an influential artist of the Italian Baroque. He began the family’s collection of paintings, which are now housed in the Villa Borghese Pinciana in Rome. Paul V also made his nephew Marcantonio II the prince of Vivaro; Marcantonio fathered the present Borghese family. Marcantonio IV continued his family’s patronage of the arts by restoring the Villa Borghese. Later in the 19th century, the family gained notoriety for selling their family art collection to Napoleon. Eventually the family split into two branches with one branch retaining the name Borghese and the other taking the name Torlonia.