The Borghese Gallery is one of the most renowned art galleries in the world for its jewels by Bernini, Raphael, Botticelli and Rubens. Is it worth a visit? Of course, and not only for the works it contains but also for its incomparable location in the Villa Borghese Gardens.
Visit the Borghese Gallery with an art expert guide
Perfect if you want to get the most out of your visit to one of the most charming museums in the city of Rome. You will be accompanied at all times by an expert art guide who will take you into the history of the fascinating works of the Borghese Gallery.
If you are a true art lover and want an even more enriching experience, there is the possibility to take a tour of the Borghese Gallery with an Art History expert in which an art history expert will explain all the details of the history of the Borghese Gallery and its works of art.
The guide will give you a guided tour of the Gallery, followed by a guided tour of the gardens of the Villa. Finally, he will take you to the nearby large Piazza del Popolo, surrounded by two imposing churches. There you can compare the order and harmony of Raphael's Renaissance Chigi Chapel with the emotional and sensual strength of Caravaggio's Baroque works of art in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo.
Two of the painter's most famous compositions you will see are "The Crucifixion of St. Peter" and "The Conversion of St. Paul".
The tour includes at all times a professional art historian guide, skip-the-line entrance to the Borghese Gallery and a guided tour of the gardens and piazza del Popolo.
Buy tickets for the Galleria Borghese on the Internet
The best recommendation I can make to visit the Borghese Gallery is to buy your tickets well in advance of your trip to avoid missing out on this experience and do it online. It is the basic ticket and with it you can access the museum at a time reserved in advance and without waiting. As in any other museum in the world, when you buy this ticket without queues, you can enjoy a visit to its interior at your own pace, without having to follow any specific route. Of course, due to the large influx of visitors, I recommend you to be very punctual in your schedule to avoid problems in access.
This is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Rome for the traveler who does not want to miss this wonderful collection. If this is the option that suits you best, I recommend that you get well informed about what you are going to see before the visit, to get the most out of this unique collection in the world.
Buy tickets for the Galleria Borghese by phone
Given the large number of tourists that the Borghese Gallery attracts, its tickets can only be purchased in advance, by phone or online. Here is the phone number: (0039) 06 841 3979. For me, this is not the most convenient option, because of the cost of the call and because you will not be able to calmly compare the prices of the different types of tickets.
Entrance to the Galleria Borghese with the Roma Pass
The visit to the Borghese Gallery is included in the Roma Pass tourist card, which includes a flat rate for access to the major attractions. With it, you will save a lot of money on individual museum tickets and a lot of time in queues.
Rome is one of the most touristy capitals and with more points of interest in the world, so if you are going to spend several days in the city and want to visit most of its wonders without dying in the attempt I advise you to get a Roma Pass without hesitation. You can check what it is and how to get it in this other article I have written on Rome Pass and other passes.
However, remember that even if you have your Roma Pass, to visit the Borghese Gallery you are also obliged to book your entrance in advance. To do so, the way to book is by phone at 0039 06 32 810 or by sending an email to [email protected] (reply within 48 hours).
Galleria Borghese opening hours
The Borghese Gallery can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. In addition, the museum is open every day of the year except Mondays and on January 1 and December 25.
Ana's traveller tip
If you can, try to avoid the most crowded days in order to visit the gallery more comfortably, usually on weekends at noon.
How to get to the Borghese Gallery?
As in most of Rome, to get to the Borghese Gallery you can move by subway or bus, as it is somewhat further away from the central core where many of the major attractions of the city are.
The nearest Metro stop is Piazza di Spagna, line A.
To get there by bus there are different options, depending on where your accommodation is or where you are visiting the city at the time of departure to the Gallery:
- Bus 52 (every 15 minutes): V.Tritone, Pza.Barberini, V.Veneto.... It will drop you off outside the park, 200 meters from the entrance.
- Bus 53 (every 25 minutes): V.Tritone, Piazza Barberini, V.Veneto... You will get off at the same place as the previous one.
- Bus 95 (every 15 minutes): Bocca Verità, V.Teatro Marcelo, P.Venezia, V. Corso. It leaves you inside the park itself and 10 minutes walk from the gallery.
- Buses 86 and 116 (electric, through narrow streets, every 5-10 minutes): V. Giulia, V. dei Baullari, Corso Rinascimento, V. Zanardelli... You must get off at Porta Pinciana, more than 10 minutes from the park.
Please note that punctuality in getting to the Gallery is mandatory, so if you use public transport to get there, leave your hotel well in advance in case the chaotic Roman traffic delays your bus more than usual.
A little history about the Borghese Gallery
The Borghese Gallery has an extraordinary collection of Italian paintings from the 16th-17th centuries, with works by Titian, Antonello da Messina, Bellini... It houses true gems of painting such as a 'Pietà' by Rubens, the 'Lady with a Unicorn' by Raphael and the 'Pauline Bonaparte' by Canova.
It shows rooms dedicated to the master of lights and shadows, Caravaggio, with his impressive 'David with the head of Goliath' and others that house sculptures of the first period of the great Bernini, such as 'Apollo and Daphne' and the 'David', as well as Roman antiquities with a 'Mosaic with gladiators', from the fourth century AD, and a 'Dancing Satyr' from the fourth century BC.
In addition, it is a really beautiful museum in ornamentation, with two floors that can be toured in two hours (this is the maximum duration allowed for each visit), and without crowds, only 360 people are accepted at each turn. This ensures a very relaxed tour.
The gallery is a palatial building of the seventeenth century, the so-called "Casino Nobile" of this Villa, built in 1633 as a residence and exhibition space for the private collection, already famous at that time, of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, patron of Bernini, nephew of Pope Paul V and to whom the gallery and the gardens where it is located owe their name.
The Borghese Gallery is, in fact, one of the first buildings in the world to be built expressly for exhibition purposes, which, compared to other modern art galleries, denotes a certain antiquity. This, despite its remodeling in 1775 under the direction of the architect Antonio Asprucci, who relocated the museum's sculptures and antiquities under a single thematic criterion.
At the end of the 18th century the building was converted into a public museum. Some time later, in 1808 and as a consequence of the impossibility to maintain the legacy, the family was forced to sell several of the sculptures and antiques to the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, brother-in-law of Prince Camillo Borghese. As a result, some of the jewels housed in the gallery are now in the Louvre in Paris, such as the remarkable statue of the 'Borghese Gladiator'.
Ana's Traveller Tip
The Villa Borghese park is free to enter and you can enjoy it even if you don't have a ticket for the Gallery. For me, the park is a must stop on any trip to Rome.
What can I see around the Borghese Gallery?
Villa Borghese Gardens
In the vicinity of the Borghese Gallery there are many other points of interest that you can take the opportunity to visit on the same day of your visit to the museum. If you have already decided to buy your ticket for the Borghese Gallery, you will pass through the magnificent Villa Borghese Gardens, which deserve a separate visit for being one of the largest urban parks in Europe and where nature and art come together to create a truly dreamlike setting.
In addition to the gallery, sculptures, ponds, gazebos and groves, there is the Rome Zoo, known as Bioparco, with more than 1,000 animals of 200 different species; the Pincio Water Clock, an example of 19th century engineering that is still in full operation and even a copy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, the Silvano Toti Globe Theatre. Quite a spectacle for the senses.
Saint Mary of the Conception of the Capuchins
Very close to the area, about a kilometer away, stand two renowned churches. The Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini is one of the most special in Rome for housing a crypt decorated with the bones of more than 4,000 Capuchin friars who died between 1528 and 1870 and built between 1626 and 1631 on the orders of Pope Urban VIII.
Santa Maria della Vittoria is the other basilica of interest in this area which, built in the 17th century to commemorate the victory of Emperor Ferdinand II in the Battle of Monte Blanco, will ring a bell especially if you have seen the movie based on Dan Brown's bestseller Angels and Demons, as it serves as the setting for part of the film.
Plaza de España and other must-see streets and squares
A short distance from there you can visit another of Rome's fundamental enclaves, the famous Spanish Steps and its lively stairways which, built in the early eighteenth century to communicate the square with the Church of Trinità dei Monti, are always crowded with tourists, street artists, street vendors and the Romans themselves.
A little more than a kilometer away, you can enjoy another of the most emblematic squares of the city, Piazza Barberini, located at the end of Via Veneto and which is particularly striking thanks to the two important fountains by Bernini that decorate it, the Triton and the Bees.
A short distance from the square is Palazzo Barberini, a wonderful Baroque palace that houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art, with more than 1,400 pieces by renowned artists from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries, among which you can find works by Titian, El Greco, Caravaggio, Tintoretto and Raphael, with his brilliant work "La Fornarina".
Guided tours through the best of Rome
If you don't want to miss any of the most incredible streets or squares of the city, I recommend you take a guided tour. The amount of alleys, statues, fountains and works of art that you can find on the street in Rome can go unnoticed if you don't go with an expert to explain them to you. I wrote this guide about Top 11 tours of Rome that can help you choose which guided tour is right for you.
If you are interested in the Borghese Gallery you will also be interested in
Rome itself is an open-air museum, but once you have visited its main attractions, getting out of the Italian capital is also a good way to complete your trip. Around Rome there are real wonders accessible on a day trip. In my article on The 9 best excursions from Rome I propose the most interesting ones.
If you prefer to continue exploring the capital, do not hesitate to get to know Trastevere in depth, as it is one of the most picturesque and bohemian neighborhoods of the city. I tell you how in this article: 14 things to see and do in the Trastevere neighbourhood.