Things to do in Rome

Galleria Borghese Rome | A guidebook to the century-old gallery

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There is no Rome without its centuries' worth of tradition and culture. And you would have to be living under a rock to not know that art runs through Rome like blood courses through our veins. Out of the 10 million tourists that will visit Rome by the end of this year, a vast majority will only turn up because of Rome's lengthy catalog of museums and art galleries. You would understand why that is once to step inside Borghese Gallery (or Galleria Borghese), one of the most prominent art galleries in the world. This gallery is perpetually swarming with illustrious artwork and their admirers. It is rightly said that if you can visit just one art gallery in a lifetime, let it be Galleria Borghese in Rome.

Galleria Borghese

Galleria Borghese - In a Nutshell

Handy information

⏰ Suggested Duration:2 hours
☀️ Best Time to Visit:Morning Hours
💜 Must See:Apollo and Daphne by Bernini
🎟️ Borghese Gallery Entry Ticket: €22
😍 Borghese Gallery Guided Tour:€54
🎫 Vatican Museums + Borghese Gallery:€46.55

Must-see paintings

David with the Head of Goliath & Boy with a Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio
The Deposition by Raphael
Melissa by Dosso Dossi

Things to know

Number of visitors per year: Half a million
Number of artworks: 800
Established: 1902
Architect: Scipione Borghese

Opening Hours And Address

Tues to Sat - 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM
Closed on Mondays

Address : Piazzale Scipione Borghese,
5, 00197 Rome, Italy
Get There

Why is Galleria Borghese Worth Visiting?

  • The sheer concentration of masterpieces in one location makes it a must-visit for art enthusiasts.
  • The gallery is relatively small compared to other major museums, which creates an intimate atmosphere, allowing visitors to appreciate the art up close without feeling overwhelmed by crowds.
  • Housed in a beautiful 17th-century villa, the Galleria Borghese itself is an architectural marvel. The building's elegant design and lush surrounding gardens provide a unique backdrop to the artworks.
  • To preserve the artwork and ensure a comfortable experience for visitors, Galleria Borghese operates on a reservation-only system, limiting the number of visitors at any given time.
  • The gallery is located within the extensive Borghese Gardens, one of Rome's most charming parks. After your visit, take a leisurely stroll through the scenic gardens, enjoying the beautiful landscape and tranquil atmosphere.
  • The Borghese family played a significant role in Italian history, and the gallery itself is a part of that legacy. Learning about the family's influence and cultural contributions adds depth to the overall experience.

Galleria Borghese Tickets & Reservations

While the museum's unique timed reservation system is great for keeping crowds to a minimum inside the Borghese Gallery - you can expect to find a whole lot of people waiting in line outside the museum. Aside from the tedious queue, tickets are limited and sell out quickly. Pre-purchasing your tickets online will ensure you get your preferred time slot and help save time with skip-the-line access.

Galleria Borghese History

In 1660, a leading patron of art in Rome, Cardinal Scipione Borghese used his position to begin a private collection of artworks. He had an impeccable eye for creative genius and the collection that attracts a large number of tourists these days can be attributed to him. However, the history of the Borghese Gallery is not completely chaste. Cardinal Scipione Borghese was known to imprison artists so that he could collect their works for his gallery. In the early 19th Century, two of the best-known artworks of the Borghese Gallery had to be sold to Napoleon, which can now be seen at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The Borghese Gallery attained its current form in 1903 when it was opened for public visits.

Galleria Borghese - Architecture

Galleria Borghese

The architecture of Galleria Borghese is a testament to the grandeur and elegance of 17th-century Italian design. Housed within a stunning villa, the gallery's facade boasts classical elements, including pilasters, cornices, and niches adorned with sculptures. The symmetrical layout exudes harmony and balance, while the use of warm-colored travertine stone adds a sense of timelessness. Inside, the gallery's intimate and well-proportioned rooms feature intricate frescoes on the ceilings, enhancing the artistic experience. The large windows bathe the interior in natural light, creating an interplay between the artworks and their surroundings. The architectural charm of Galleria Borghese perfectly complements the exquisite art collection it houses.

Galleria Borghese - Architecture

1Apollo and Daphne by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Definitely, one of the most iconic works of art you will ever see, this masterpiece by Bernini was sculpted between 1622 and 1625. The sculpture portrays a pivotal scene from Ovid's Metamorphoses in which the nymph Daphne is seen sprouting leaves from her arms and hair while her feet turn into roots. Apollo witnesses this event shell-shocked.

quinta de regaleira

2Sacred and Profane Love by Titian Vecellio

The naming of this work by Titian goes against his intention. Sacred and Profane Love presents a delicate Neo-Platonic vision of love, that was a feature of Titian's school of thought. The crown jewel of Borghese Gallery embodies eternal beauty as it delights thousands of visitors every year.

quinta de regaleira

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

3David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio

In yet another one of Borghese Gallery's prized possessions, Caravaggio plays with light and shadows to breathe life into the macabre illustration of David holding the severed head of Goliath. Caravaggio worked on this piece between 1609 and 1610. Presently, David with the Head of Goliath can be seen in Room 8 of the Borghese Gallery.

quinta de regaleira

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

4Young Woman with Unicorn by Raphael

Young Woman with Unicorn is one of Raphael's best-known works till date. However, it is different from most other works of art in the Borghese Gallery. Even though it was completed in 1507, centuries later, it was revealed that Raphael wasn't the only artist who worked on it. There is an aura of mystery that envelops this artwork, and that is why it's a must-see.

quinta de regaleira

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

5The Rape of Proserpina by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Under the patronage of Scipione Borghese, a 23-year-old Bernini completed this sculpture in 1622. The artwork depicts another scene from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Pluto is seen abducting Proserpina in this work of his. The highlight of The Rape of Proserpina is the astonishing physical realism that has been achieved by Bernini at such a young age.

quinta de regaleira

Best time to visit Galleria Borghese

The best time to visit Galleria Borghese is during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. In these periods, typically from April to June and September to October, Rome experiences milder weather with fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months. Reserving tickets in advance for a specific time slot is essential to ensure a more intimate and immersive experience, as the gallery operates on a limited-entry system. With fewer crowds, visitors can fully appreciate the artistic masterpieces, intricate architecture, and serene ambiance of the gallery. Exploring the Borghese Gardens surrounding the museum is also particularly delightful during these seasons.

Additionally you can learn more about the Best Time to Visit Rome.

Galleria Borghese Timings

  • Tuesday to Sunday: 9 AM - 7 PM
  • Last entry at 5 PM
  • 5 time slots per day: 9 AM - 11 AM | 11 AM - 1 PM | 1 PM - 3 PM | 3 PM - 5 PM | 5 PM - 7 PM
  • Closed on Mondays, 25th Dec and 1st Jan

Getting There

  • By Car: The closest parking lot is PINCIANO PARKING.
  • By Bus: 52, 53, 63, 83, 92, 223, 360, 910 and n92
    Nearest Stop: Pinciana/Museo Borghese
  • By Metro: Line A
    Nearest Stop: Barberini

Insider Tips For Your Galleria Borghese Visit

  • Official word is to arrive 30 minutes before the time slot. But since all 360 people tend to arrive at the same time, the lobby tends to get crowded. You will be better advised to come down even earlier.
  • If you have baggage, use the cloakroom to store them. You can store your baggage only 20 minutes before your time slot.
  • Do not rush through Borghese Gallery. There is plenty to be explored and you may miss out if you do not use your entire 2 hours’ time.
  • Most people start from the bottom and work their way to the first floor. If you want to avoid the commotion, start at the top.
  • During your guided tour, use the headphones to listen to your guide better.
  • Decent cafes and restroom facilities may be scarce in the area, so make proper use of the bar to get some refreshments and use the facilities.
  • Once done with Borghese Gallery, take a stroll through the park, visit the zoo, row a boat in the lake, or kick back and relax under the umbrella pines.

Interesting Galleria Borghese Facts

  • Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the creator of Villa Borghese, was the nephew of Pope Paul V.
  • Villa Borghese was envisioned to have the largest garden in Rome, complete with its own lake. This model was later followed in Villa Doria Pamphilj and Villa Ludovisi.
  • The current host of the Borghese Gallery was once notorious for being the center of homoerotic liaisons.
  • One of the most famous and historically poignant works of art displayed at Borghese Gallery was The Borghese Hermaphroditus. It was sold to Napoleon under duress in the early 19th century.
  • Scans on the painting Young Woman with Unicorn by Raphael has shown that the unicorn was originally a puppy. The unicorn that we see now was added later on by a different painter.

Restaurants near Galleria Borghese

Homemade Pasta
Terrazza Borghese

Terrazza Borghese offers a perfect dining experience on an exclusive rooftop terrace with uninterrupted views of Villa Borghese and the Eternal City. The highly curated seasonal menu showcases the finest fresh ingredients and creative interpretations of classic local cuisine. Enjoy your meal in this exquisite setting, where culinary delights blend harmoniously with breathtaking vistas.

Il Fellini

Il Fellini restaurant is a delightful fusion of flavor and culture, embodying the essence of Italian tradition with its aromas and historical inspirations. Chef Daniele Bernasconi crafts each dish with meticulous care, infusing creativity and harmonious taste into every preparation.

italian food - tuna tartare

The restaurant has a beautiful and unique design that combines tradition and modern elements, just like the delicious food they serve. The menu offers a variety of dishes, from tasty seafood crudo to delightful meat tartare, along with creatively reinvented classics that promise to satisfy every palate.

Gourmet Food

Moma is a unique restaurant with two distinct personalities under one roof. On one side, there's the modern and dynamic bistro offering a wide variety of delicious yet straightforward dishes. On the other side, the gourmet experience awaits, with a touch of elegance and experimentation. The restaurant has two chefs, each with their own distinct style of cuisine and separate kitchens to cater to these two souls.

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Galleria Borghese Guide