What to see and how to get to Villa Borghese in Rome

Also read

In the center of Rome, in the midst of traffic and crowds of tourists, there is an oasis of greenery and peace. It is Villa Borghese, an immense historical park located on the Pincio hill. The park was built in the early 17th century by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a patron of the arts and a great collector of antiquities. What to see in Villa Borghese? Villa Borghese Rome is one of the most loved attractions by both citizens and visitors. For those who prefer the open air, you can stroll through the splendid gardens, admire the squares and fountains and enjoy a splendid view over the city.
The little ones will adore the animals that live inside the Bioparco Roma, the beautiful zoological garden of the capital. For those who love history and culture, the right address is the Galleria Borghese, which dominates the park. Rich in Renaissance and Baroque art masterpieces, the gallery collects works by some of the greatest Italian artists, including Caravaggio, Bernini and Raphael. Families, romantic couples, nature or art enthusiasts: everyone likes Villa Borghese.
Discovering Villa Borghese: all the things to see
The park is divided into two distinct areas: the lower part, which is closer to the city centre, and the upper part, which is further away and quieter. The lower part is full of large fountains, sculptures and monuments, while the upper part is more natural and peaceful. Within the park there is also a small artificial lake, much loved for its beauty. In the warm season it is possible to rent a rowing boat for a romantic tour on the water. The park is generally open all day and admission is free.
What to see in Villa Borghese besides the Gallery? You are spoiled for choice, given that various points of interest are enclosed within this huge property.
During a walk, the Temple of Aesculapius, which overlooks the lake, and the numerous monuments and sculptures along the way are absolutely worth seeing. Among these, the water clock in the watch house, the seahorse fountain, the two turtle fountains, the rabbit fountain, the monuments in homage to Goethe and Victor Hugo…
Another popular attraction is Piazzale di Siena, a large square embellished with sculptures and fountains and which owes its name to the city of origin of the Borghese. The square is a popular meeting place for Romans and visitors, who come to enjoy the greenery and admire the splendid view of the city. The area, which also hosts concerts and shows, is the seat of the International Horse Show.
How to get to Villa Borghese
Given the extension of the park, which covers about 80 hectares, there are nine access points. The most comfortable, as well as the most spectacular because you can admire an open view of the city, is from the Pincio terrace from Piazza del Popolo. The other most used entrances are that of Porta Pinciana, the one from the Trinità dei Monti staircase and the monumental entrance from Piazzale Flaminio (Flaminio metro station). To optimize your visit, an excellent idea is to purchase a guided tour that includes a tour of the gardens and priority access to the Borghese Gallery.
Villa Borghese: where to buy tickets
You don’t need a ticket to enter the gardens of Villa Borghese. Admission is free and the park is always open. Instead, tickets are provided for the various museums housed within the complex. In particular, for the Borghese Gallery, one of the most famous art museums in Rome. Since it attracts so many visitors, it is essential to buy your ticket in advance. Here all the information on Borghese Gallery tickets.
The history of Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese, also called Villa Pinciana, is the most famous public park in Rome and the third largest by extension. It is characterized by gardens, monuments, fountains and statues, as well as numerous prestigious buildings. It was Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, who started its construction in 1606. The park and all that it contained were supposed to bring prestige to the Borghese family, increasing its prestige. The first architect in charge of its design was Flaminio Ponzio, who wanted to create a peaceful refuge away from the frenzy of the city. Only in 1903 was Villa Borghese opened to the public as a park.
The museums and attractions of Villa Borghese
In addition to the famous Galleria Borghese, Villa Borghese hosts several other museums, distributed within the perimeter of the park. For those with time on their hands, the museum dedicated to the sculptor Pietro Canonica, the Carlo Bilotti Museum and in the north-eastern area, the National Etruscan Museum, in the spaces of Villa Giulia – an ancient papal residence – and the National Art Museum are all worth a visit Modern and Contemporary.Going south, you come across Villa Medici, seat of the French Academy in Rome. In the far north, a must-visit if you are traveling with children, there is also the Biopark. The zoo, home to about 1,200 animals, many of which are endangered, such as the Sumatra Tigers, has always been committed to the conservation and protection of endangered species. To keep the little ones happy, who will see the animals here in habitats as similar as possible to natural ones, it is advisable to buy the skip-the-line ticket in advance.
Immersed in the gardens is also the Casina delle rose, now home to the Casa del Cinema. One of the latest creations dates back to 2003: in fact, the Globe Theater was inaugurated in the park, which reproduces Shakespeare’s Global Theater in London. The theatre, which stages plays and Elizabethan operas, is now named after Gigi Proietti, who was its artistic director for 17 years.
Borghese Gallery
Inside the park is the imposing Galleria Borghese, built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio in the early 17th century. The complex was built at the same time as the first nucleus of the park and was intended to celebrate the power of the Borghese. A power that culminated with the election of Camillo as pontiff in 1605. Taking the name of Paul V, the pope started a grandiose art collection, most of which is exhibited in the Villa Borghese museum. The sumptuous space now houses some of the greatest examples of Renaissance and Baroque art. The gallery, which is divided into twenty rooms, preserves masterpieces by some of the most famous Italian artists, including Caravaggio, Bernini, Raffaello, Tiziano.
Main works of the Borghese Gallery
The gallery is divided into different sections, each dedicated to a different period of Italian art. The museum also boasts a valuable collection of sculptures. On the ground floor, among the richly decorated halls, the main treasures are the sculpture of Paolina Borghese by Canova, which caused a scandal at the time because the woman depicted is semi-dressed, and various works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini: David, Apollo and Daphne, The Rape of Proserpina. Her sculptures are characterized by an infinity of details and incredible realism. One room exhibits various works by Caravaggio: among the most famous in the Gallery. His paintings are characterized by strong contrasts of light and dark and dramatic use of colour. Among the famous works that can be admired during the visit, the Conversion of Saint Paul and the Supper at Emmaus stand out.
Upstairs is the art gallery, with a rich collection of Italian and European paintings. Among these, a Virgin and Child by Botticelli, Sacred Love and Profane Love by Titian, Diana’s Hunt by Domenichino. One cannot fail to be enchanted by the works of Raphael, characterized by graceful lines and delicate colors. Among the most famous paintings by him in the gallery are the Lady with the Unicorn and the Deposition of Christ.
The Parco dei Daini, the reserve in the Villa
A particularly suggestive corner of the green lung of Rome is the Parco dei Daini Villa Borghese. Located in via P. Raimondi, this garden was originally a reserve of the prince, protected by fences built by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It owes its name to the fact that, until the 19th century, fallow deer and gazelles grazed here. Today it is a very pleasant space, shaded by secular trees. Next door is the Villa Umberto Barracks, headquarters of the mounted police.
A curiosity: Walter Veltroni, former mayor of Rome, set his trilogy of novels starring Commissioner Buonvino right here in Villa Borghese!
View of Rome from Villa Borghese
The Villa Borghese tour is not complete without a sunset over the Eternal City. Villa Borghese offers some of the best views in Rome. From the park, visitors can see the domes of St. Peter’s Basilica, the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum and the majesty of the Colosseum. The views of the city are breathtaking and form the perfect backdrop for a romantic stroll. The park also houses the Terrazza del Pincio, a loggia with a view over the rooftops of Rome. A must for anyone in the city, even recommended by National Geographic!
The best time to visit Villa Borghese
The best time to visit Villa Borghese is spring or early summer, when the gardens are in full bloom and the weather is mild. The park and the Gallery are also beautiful in autumn, when the leaves change color and in the park there is real foliage. In summer you risk suffering from the heat: but in the park there are infinite pleasantly airy shaded areas, especially in the evening.

don't miss

Related news