The territory beyond the Aurelian Walls formerly housed the summer residences of Rome’s wealthy families.
One of the most prestigious estates is Villa borghese, which was the summer residence of the Borghese family. Today it is a public park where some of the city’s most interesting museums are concentrated.
Villa Borghese is considered the green lung of Rome. With its 80 ha and an escape route in the middle of the old town you have Romans who want to take a walk surrounded by statues, neoclassical temples and fountains.
- Explore the Villa Borghese Gallery to admire some of the greatest art masterpieces in human history.
- Get lost in the gardens of Villa Borghese and discover its hidden beauties.
- Go to the Pincio Terrace, enjoy the view and take some souvenir photos.
Castel Sant'Angelo: Info, tickets and fares
Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 00186 Rome RM
Line A – Stop “Spagna” or “Flaminio”
– Basic ticket.
Borghese Gallery (Fast Track)
– Fast Track entrance tickets to the Borghese Gallery.
Guided Tour – (Skip the Line)
– 2-hour guided tour of the gallery plus skip-the-line admission.
- Rome Pass – Explore some of Rome’s greatest attractions with this combination ticket. 72h or 48h subscription with admission to two venues of your choice (20+ of your choice), plus unlimited public transportation (excluding trains) for the duration of the card.
- Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last admission 5:45 p.m.).
- Closed on January 1 and December 25.
To make your stay in Rome more intense, visiting more attractions and avoiding queues, a ticket with “priority admission” to be purchased online is highly recommended.
Some details to remember:
- You have to book a time slot, which lasts a full two hours.
- A maximum of 180 people can enter in each time slot; advance reservations are essential.
- The gallery is closed on Mondays.
- Temporary exhibitions may increase the price of admission.
- There is a reservation fee of €2 at the time of booking to visit the museum.
The Borghese Gallery is one of the attractions listed in the Roma Pass, which includes transportation on public transportation, admission to one or two attractions, and reduced tickets for the others.
You can choose a 48- or 72-hour pass: the former includes admission to one of Rome’s major tourist attractions, while the latter includes two.
Additional ticket information:
- You are given a physical card, which you must show at the ticket office for validation.
- The Roma Pass is valid for two or three days and expires at 11:59 p.m. on the second or third day (depending on the length of the pass).
- The pass is activated as soon as you use it, this can be at an attraction or on public transportation. This does not change the expiration time, so it is more convenient to activate the Roma Pass in the morning.
- For your free ticket included, go to the attraction entrance, not the ticket office.
Villa Borghese: what to see and what to do
Within the park are several museums including the Borghese Gallery, with a splendid collection of artwork that is a must-see, the National Gallery of Modern Art, and the Villa Giulia National Museum.
Here you will also find an artificial lake and a zoo renamed “Biopark.”
The Borghese Gallery is housed in a splendid villa at the eastern end of the park and was built in the 17th century by Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese.
Scipio had an unerring flair for recognizing artistic qualities, and he used every means to take possession of the best works of art around.
He also commissioned works of art himself from the greatest talents of the time such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Caravaggio, Botticelli Canova, and Rubens.
In the early 20th century the villa was acquired by the Italian state, and Galleria Borghese has been a treasure chest of Rome’s most important treasures ever since. Absolutely not to be missed during your visit to the city.
Must-see works at the Borghese Gallery:
- Mariano Rossi’s Salon.
- Canova’s statue of Pauline Borghese.
- Bernini’s David.
- Bernini’s Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius.
- Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne.
- Bernini’s Rape of Proserpine.
- Caravaggio’s works.
- Raphael’s masterpieces.
- Correggio’s Danae.
- Titian’s 2 paintings.
Gardens of Villa Borghese
The Villa Borghese Gardens are the green lung of the city. A vast 80-hectare park that has always been an escape route, right in the middle of the historic center, for Romans who wish to take a walk, ride a bike or ride a horse.
Inside are an artificial lake, a zoo, and a grassy amphitheater where a major horse competition is held in May.Within the park are several museums including the borghese gallery the national gallery of modern art and the national museum of villa Giulia.
Pincio Water Clock
The Pincio water clock is hidden in a corner of the Villa Borghese Gardens. This particular design is a hydroelectric clock made 1867 by Giovanni Battista Embriaco and is the only one in a public garden in Italy.
Temple of Eculapius
The temple of Aesculapius, overlooking the park’s lake, is really worth a visit. It dates back to 1786 and is one of the park’s most outstanding attractions.
Villa Giulia is located on the western side of Villa Borghese and is a harmonious ensemble of courtyards, loggias, gardens and temples designed for Pope Julius III in the mid-16th century.
Villa Giulia houses the National Etruscan Museum, the most important collection of Etruscan treasures in the world (along with the Vatican Museums).
Villa Medici is located south of Villa Borghese between the Pincio and the Spanish Steps.
It was built in the 16th century by the Archduke of Tuscany and is now home to the Academy of France, where contemporary art exhibitions are held.
Bioparc offers an incredible variety of animals and exhibits.
It is a very nice idea to spend half a day in Rome especially for families with children.
Today the biopark is a conservation-focused educational attraction: there are many interesting attractions such as the bear valley, Sumatran tiger, and orangutan enclosures. The newest attraction is the California Sea Lion Enclosure, which also has underwater viewpoints.
On the edge of Villa Borghese is the Pincio Terrace overlooking Piazza del Popolo.
This terrace designed by Valadier in the early 19th century offers an excellent il panorama over the rooftops and domes of central Rome, as far as St. Peter’s and the Janiculum Hill.
Curiosities about Villa Borghese
- Bicycles, roller skates, go-karts and boats can be rented in Villa Borghese Park.
- Scipio originally opened the park to the public but after a visitor was scandalized by some erotic paintings seen in the villa, Paul V decided it would be more appropriate to keep it private.
- While today Villa Borghese is considered to be located in the heart of Rome, it was once an area planted with vineyards.
History of Villa Borghese
- 1580 The Borghese family obtained the land that would later become Villa Borghese.
- 1605. Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, began creating the largest gardens in Rome since antiquity.
- 1613 The garden villa, now known to house the Borghese Gallery, was built to house Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s vast art collection.
- 1800 The gardens are redesigned into an English garden, a style popular in the 19th century.
- 1903 Villa Borghese is acquired by the Italian state and officially opened to the public.
- 1911 The zoo, known today as Bioparco, is opened.
- 2003. A replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is built.
How to get to Villa Borghese
Given its size, Villa Borghese is accessible from different points in the city. There are nine in total, but the busiest are the Porta Pinciana and Piazza del Popolo entrances.
Villa Borghese is in a very central location in Rome: it is only minutes from the Spanish Steps and a stone’s throw from the Vatican.
Subway: Line A, Stop Spagna or Flaminio
Buses: 52, 53, 88,116, 490, 495
Streetcars: 3, 19
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