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An artist’s guide to the top 10 Borghese Gallery highlights

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One man – Cardinal Scipione Borghese – is responsible for amassing one of the world’s best collections of sculpture and paintings. The Borghese Gallery in Rome hosts the collection of the Borghese family which includes ancient Roman art and Old Masters by greats like Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael and the best collection of marble statues by Bernini. The original collection includes over 800 paintings, many of which were sold to the Louvre and are now displayed in the collection there. Whether you're an art enthusiast or simply looking to immerse yourself in the beauty of Renaissance and Baroque art, this guide will take you on a journey through the captivating highlights of the Borghese Gallery.

Recommended Tickets for Borghese gallery

With so much to see and experience , it's recommended to book your tickets for the Borghese Gallery in advance to make the most of your visit. You can choose from different ticket options depending on your interests and preferences.

Inside The Borghese Gallery

The Borghese Gallery is spread across two floors and the ground floor has eight rooms while the first floor has 12 rooms. There is also a third floor which is known as the ‘Deposits’ and is a storage of over 260 paintings that could not find space in the Gallery.

The Ground Floor of the Borghese Gallery has a large entrance hall around which the rooms are numbered in a clockwise direction. This floor includes the Hall of Apollo and Daphne, Hall of the Emperors, Gladiator Room and Egyptian Room. The staircase between Room 3 & 4 leads to the first floor.

The First Floor of the Borghese Gallery also has rooms encircling the area above the entrance hall. However, the rooms are smaller than on the ground floor. This floor includes Hall of Hercules, Hall of Fame, Flora Rooms and Psyche Room.

Borghese Gallery Highlights - The Sculptures

1. Paolina Borghese Bonaparte Come Venere Vincitrice

The things one does for love! This sculpture of a beautiful woman is of Paolina Borghese Bonaparte, the younger sister of Napoleon Bonaparte and the wife of Prince Camillo Borghese. He wanted her statue made in the image of Venus to cement her position in the society and a celebration of her beauty.

borghese gallery highlights

2. Apollo and Daphne

How the fates work against love, this dynamic sculpture by Bernini tells the tale of Apollo who has struck by a golden arrow and falls in love with the nymph Daphne. But, she was hit with a lead arrow and prays to change her features. Ultimately, prayers take over, and Daphne turns into a Laurel tree even as Apollo is approaching her!

borghese gallery highlights

3. Ratto Di Proserpina (Rape of Proserpina)

The sculpture showcases the myth of Pluto, the god of the underworld, who abducts Proserpina from the shores of Lake Pergusa. The sculpture is incredibly detailed, with intricate folds in Proserpina's dress and strands of hair flowing in the wind. The viewer can almost feel Pluto's grasp on her as she struggles to break free.

borghese gallery highlights

4. David

The legend of David and Goliath has inspired many artists and sculptors over centuries, but none more than Bernini who created this masterpiece. The focused concentration on David’s face, the taut muscles and the movement of his figure as he is stretching his sling showcases David’s eagerness to defeat Goliath.

borghese gallery highlights

La Verità (The Truth)

The sculpture ‘Truth unveiled by Time’ never saw the light of day; it remained incomplete. The sculpture represents a young woman as Truth, and she is holding a sun and has her foot on the globe. The figure of time above her was never completed! Bernini made it in a difficult period of his career after his unsuccessful stint at expanding St. Peter’s Basilica. It is said that Bernini carved the sculpture in just a few short months, using his mistress as the model for the woman's face.

borghese gallery highlights

Borghese Gallery Highlights - The Paintings

1. Dama con Liocorno (Young Woman with Unicorn)

Touted to be a wedding gift, this masterpiece by Raphael shows all the virtues and symbols of a young bride. The young Florentine woman depicted in the painting adorns a typical 16th-century dress and wears jewelry that indicates marital bonds, virginity, and spiritual love. Even the unicorn is used as a symbol of virginity here.

2. David Con La Testa Di Golia (David with the head of Goliath)

Legend and reality come together in this masterpiece by Caravaggio. The painting was done by him in Naples when he was in exile on charges of murder. He drew the face of David in his image and sent the painting to Cardinal Borghese to deliver to the Pope to obtain forgiveness and allow for a return to Rome. While pardon was granted, Caravaggio died on his way to Rome!

3. Amor Sacro E Amor Profano (Sacred and Profane Love)

The painting depicts a scene from the wedding of a Venetian couple Nicolo and Laura in the 16th Century. The fully-clothed woman is the bride, and the naked woman is the symbol of purity, while Cupid is swirling the waters to symbolize the need for a woman to be chaste and passionate at the same time. The painting indicates the imposition of morals on women of the times.

4. Autoritratto In Veste Di Bacco (Bacchino Malato)

Caravaggio painted himself as Bacchus, the god of wine and intoxication, in this realistic painting. It is assumed that the painting was drawn when Caravaggio himself was sick and admitted in the hospital, and hence the unhealthy representation of the god in the painting.


Melissa is the myth of the sorceress ‘Melissa’ who was said to have freed Christian knights from the prison of the evil Alcina who had transformed them into stones, trees, and animals. The painting is oil on canvas and rich in both detail and colors as it portrays a female complete with all her bewitching regalia.

Borghese Gallery Guided Tours
Guided Tours

Borghese Gallery Guided Tours

If you're going to explore the Borghese Gallery, might as well do it right: with an all-inclusive guided tour.

Related Read: 3 sure shot ways to Skip The Lines at Borghese Gallery


What is the Borghese Gallery?

The Borghese Gallery is an art museum located in Rome, Italy. It houses a remarkable collection of sculptures, paintings, and other artworks.

How do I get to the Borghese Gallery?

The Borghese Gallery is situated within the Villa Borghese park in Rome. You can reach the museum by walking, taking a taxi, or using public transportation.

Do I need to book tickets in advance for Borghese Gallery?

Yes, it is highly recommended to book tickets in advance for the Borghese Gallery. Due to its popularity, entry is limited to a certain number of visitors per time slot, and tickets often sell out quickly.

Can I visit the Borghese Gallery with children?

Yes, the Borghese Gallery welcomes visitors of all ages. However, it is important to keep in mind that young children should be supervised to avoid any damage to the artworks.

Can I take photos inside the Borghese Gallery?

No, photography is not allowed inside the museum. This is to preserve the artworks and ensure a peaceful environment for all visitors.

Is there a dress code for visiting the Borghese Gallery?

While there is no strict dress code, it is recommended to dress comfortably and modestly when visiting the museum.

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Borghese Gallery Highlights