The Villa Borghese Gallery is one of the finest museums of Rome and the place well-known among art lovers from all around the world. For a long time it belonged to the Borghese family, who built the gallery in 1660 and sold their heritage in 1902 to the Italian government. Thus, Villa Borghese Gallery became a museum. Interestingly, the Borghese family is still flourishing today and many museum visitors are very excited to learn the twists and turns in the history about this aristocratic family.
As compared to other museums that are numerous in Rome, Villa Borghese won’t impress you with its size. This is because it used to be a house for a private art collection from the start and meant to show the wealth and influence of rich people among each other (private galleries came into fashion in the 17th century). And though initially it wasn’t intended to be a museum, Villa Borghese became something of a kind for those times when museums didn’t exist. A great number of famous artists were invited into the chambers of Villa Borghese Gallery.
It contains some essential works made by the greatest artists of their time and the story about obtaining this collection is also of great interest. The collection contains paramount pieces of art by such masters as Caravaggio, Bernini, Raphael, Titian, and Rubens. The brilliant collection together with the exciting story about life of the Borghese family make this place one of the centers of fine art in Rome.
For example, amazing Bernini’s works The Rape of Proserpina and Apollo and Daphne can be found nowhere but here. In the hands of the genius the figures made of stone look unrealistically alive. If you do enjoy art these and other masterpieces will definitely put you in a state of awe. Everything inside Villa Borghese Gallery is either exquisite or stunning, but most often - both. The floors and the ceilings in every chamber are also a work of art. Scipione Caffarelli who accumulated the core of the collection was absolutely obsessed with the beauty he was assembling and knew he wouldn't stop in front of anything or anybody on the way to obtaining the best works created by the best painters, sculptors and architects. That means something! Anyone who visits Rome can see these thoroughly accumulated beauty with their own eyes and it is absolutely worth it.
Apart from the Villa Borghese Gallery in Rome, there is also a corner devoted to the Villa Borghese Gallery with Borghese name on one of the exhibitions in the Louvre museum in Paris. When Napoleon conquered Rome, he took part of the masterpieces with him from the Borghese Gallery. Later, however, the Borghese family managed to replenish their family museum with other prominent masterpieces without demanding the “old” ones back. Today the Villa Borghese Gallery is considered to be fully complete and perfect in every sense of this word.
A visit to the Villa Borghese Gallery can and must be combined with a walk in the Borghese park with its beautiful trees and gardens, which surround the famous villa. The park is also full of various entertainment for every age and it is a great place to spend time for families with children. Here you can spend all day, ride horses and Segways, go to the zoo, eat ice cream, watch a movie, see great panoramas, enjoy the nature and what’s also important, be near the historical center of Rome, so that you continue exploring the City of Seven Hills whenever you feel like it.
The museum is not available at any time. In order to visit Villa Borghese you will need to make a reservation one-two weeks in advance, which will be scheduled to a specific time. There is no other way to get inside. Think about it as an advantage, because you won't need to stand in endless lines waiting and also you will have the chance to enjoy one of the top museums in Rome without crowds.
Working hours: from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 – 19:30.
You will have only two hours for visiting the Gallery, which is not much. Therefore, especially in this case the service of a professional guide is highly recommended.
Be sure to come at least 30 minutes before the start so that there is time to exchange your reservation for tickets and put your bags into the storage room.
One more great thing about Villa Borghese is that it can be visited at any time of the year. In summer you will be very glad to stay in a cool museum in every sense of this word. In winter Villa Borghese will save your day when a rainy day comes. However, on any great day of spring or autumn visiting Villa Borghese would be just a great idea, because it is surrounded by a botanic gallery with all its beautiful nature. This museum does offer you something special and rare, so don’t miss it upon your arrival to Rome! You deserve to see it!