The Lives and Scandals of the Borgia Family


Tour details:

  • Typology: Private tour
  • Duration: Approx. 2.5 hours
  • Starting time: To Be Advised
  • Operating Days: Sun; Mon; Tue; Wed; Thu; Fri; Sat;
  • Meeting Point: Hotel (if centrally located)
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The Walks Inside Rome team


The name Borgia evokes a time in the history of Renaissance Rome when power-hungry cardinals schemed with and against one another to become Pope. This walking tour will lead you down some of the most charming hidden alleys of Rome to admire its monumental beauties and uncover the life of Italy’s most infamous family: The Borgias!

In 1492, through a Machiavellian web of machinations, Rodrigo Borgia became the Pope of Rome –  the most important figure in the Catholic world. Scandals, intrigues, affairs, poison, power, and corruption, these are some of the words that come to mind when speaking of the Borgias. Their fascinating lives – which have inspired a host of books, movies, and a TV series with Jeremy Irons – will unfold before your eyes as your expert guide leads you to explore the streets and neighborhoods frequented by the Borgias.

We will start the walk in front of the Borgia Palace. This ivy-covered building, set in a picturesque square, was the residence of a young lover of the Borgia Pope. After winding our way down the gentle slopes of the Esquiline Hill, admiring charming streets and some of the architectural gems of Rome as we proceed, we will reach the ancient Via dei Banchi Vecchi (literally, the Old Worktables). This street – one of the most interesting in Rome – takes its name from the worktables lined along it in the Medieval and Renaissance past. Your guide will unveil its historical secrets and conduct you to admire the site of a luxurious palace built for Rodrigo Borgia.

Then, we will tread along the Road of the Pilgrims, following in the footsteps of thousands of faithful pilgrims who used it to reach St. Peter’s and uncovering the affair between the Pope and Vannozza Cattanei, who bore four of his children. As we reach Campo de’ Fiori, one of the concealed gems of Rome, we will discover more about the life of Vannozza, who owned a business on this square, and the daily life of Romans who in the past, as much as in the present, flocked here for food and drink. As your guide takes you to Piazza Navona – perhaps the most stunning square in Rome – you will discover further details about the political maneuvers of the Borgias. The tour will end in Piazza Fiammetta, which takes its name from an audacious concubine who stole many a heart in 15th-century Rome, including that of the Pope’s son, and obtained many favors in return.

*If you wish to delve even further into the life of the Borgias, combine this tour with our Vatican tour and let us take you to visit the apartments of Pope Alexander VI with frescos by the prominent Renaissance artist Pinturicchio.