The Appartamento Borgia

The Appartamento Borgia is a group of special rooms in the Apostolic apartment of the Vatican which were constructed by Pope Alexander VI for personal use. The Appartamento Borgia rooms received their name from Pope Alexander VI’s family name, Borgia. It is in these rooms that the pope used to receive his special visitors among them kings, princes and political leaders. The apartments continued being used for different purposes during the papacy of different popes until today. The rooms were damaged during the French of occupation of Rome.

At the end of the 1930s, The Appartamento Borgia, which consisted of six rooms, changed its purpose. Four out of the six rooms were used for museum space while the remaining two were converted to the Vatican Library. There was a time when Appartamento Borgia was closed to the public. This was due to the renovation works that were underway.

The rooms of Appartamento Borgia are: Room of the Sibyls, Room of the Creed, Room of the Liberal Arts, Room of the Saints, Room of the Faith.

Room of the Sibyls: it as not part of the pope’s private rooms but was open to the public. Public audiences were received in this room. It is rich in paintings which were mainly done by Giovanni da Udine and Pierin del Vaga. The most famous artwork in this room is the Zodiac

Room of the Creed: this is the room where the mysteries of Jesus are portrayed. They include the annunciation, nativity, adoration of the Magi, the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, the descent of the Holy Spirit and the assumption of the Blessed Virgin. These scenes are represented by colorful pictures on the walls of the room.

Room of the saints: this room contains several scenes of lives of St. Catherine of Siena, St. Barbara, St. Paul, St. Antony and St. Sebastian. The room is full of beautiful frescoes and they were done by Pinturicchio himself.

Room of the Liberal Arts: it has murals of the seven main liberal arts namely:  dialectics, grammar, geometry, rhetoric, music, arithmetic and astrology. This room is used exclusively for the display artworks and is very rich in them. It has been used for several art exhibitions at the Vatican during the past years.

The Room of Faith: the room contains numerous decorations that are said to have suffered from over painting. This room is said to have been dedicated to Pope Leo XIII.

One outstanding feature that all the rooms of Appartamento Borgia share is that they are rich in art, painting and decorations. All the frescoes in these rooms are exclusive and done by great artistes of Rome. All the rooms were restored in 1889 during the papacy of Pope Leo XIII. Today, majority of the rooms of Appartamento Borgia are used for the Vatican Collection of modern Religious Art. They contain hundreds of paintings, murals, frescoes and sculptures.