Villa Borghese Gardens and Gallery

Enjoying the heart-shaped Villa Borghese, is a must-do when visiting Rome.

In the beginning of the 17th century, Cardinal Scipione Borghese began the immense project of converting this former vineyard into a glorious park. Eventually acquired by the commune of Rome in the 19th century, it has 148 acres of lush grounds and is open to the public. Set in the centro storico of Rome, this park reaches from Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) to one of the city’s most luxurious districts surrounding Via Vittorio Veneto. On the northern border, Rome’s zoo, the Bioparco, also adjoins this park.

Designed in a traditional English style, Villa Borghese is now home to elegant gardens, multiple lakes, a collection of temples, columns, fountains, arches, and pavilions, a wide range of recreational activities, a few restaurants and bars, a cinema and theater, and of course the much-loved Borghese Gallery. The Borghese Gallery provides the pulse for the heart-shaped park. The Gallery was formerly the Villa Borghese Pinciana, a highly adorned party house for the Borghese family. It was designed by the noted architect Flaminio Ponzio in the early 17th century. As Cardinal Borghese was a great art-lover, the Gallery is home to a magnificent selection of sculptures and paintings, from artists including Bernini, Rubens, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian.

Undoubtedly one of Europe’s most extraordinary museums, visitors can view sculptural masterpieces such as Bernini’s “Apollo and Daphne” and “Pluto and Persephone” or Canova’s “Venus Victrix”. If these aren’t enough to get your heart racing, the Gallery has ornately decorated rooms throughout, all filled with high-Renaissance treasures such as “The Deposition” by Raphael, “Boy with a Basket of Fruit” by Caravaggio, “Sacred and Profane Love” by Titian, and  “Danae” by Correggio.

While Villa Borghese park is open to the public, entering the Gallery requires a reservation (available Tuesday through Sunday). For more information, contact Walks Inside Rome today.