Rome’s Borghese Gallery (Galleria Borghese), housed in a former villa of the eponymous family, houses a large part of the family’s vast collection of antiquities, paintings, and sculptures. Its 22 rooms across two floors showcase many important pieces including paintings by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Rubens. The city of Rome acquired the Villa Borghese in 1903, opening its collection and gardens to the public. The 1911 World Exposition was held in the park and some of the various countries’ pavilions still exist.
Advance reservations are required to visit the Borghese Gallery and numbers are limited at any given time, so it’s best to book tickets in advance. Travelers can book skip-the-line tickets, a private or small-group tour, or opt for a Segway tour of the greater Borghese Villa. Art historians often lead small-group tours, which add context to the artwork you’re seeing. Even without a tour, you will feel the impressionable impact of Raphael’s The Deposition and Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath, two of the museum’s most famous works.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Borghese Gallery is a must-see for art lovers in Rome.
- Even with a required advance-purchase ticket, there can be long entry lines. To avoid the wait, consider a private, skip-the-line guided tour.
- The Borghese limits the number of people who can enter and the time they can stay (two hours), so it’s a great place to enjoy fine art and avoid the crowds found at most Roman art museums.
- Wi-Fi is free to all visitors.
- The Borghese features accessible restrooms and a small elevator to the second floor.
How to Get There
The Borghese Gallery is in central Rome, located within the Villa Borghese. You’ll find the Villa Borghese up the Spanish Steps on the path to the left. You can catch Metro Linea A to Flaminio in the Piazza del Popolo, from which the museum is located up the hill.
When to Get There
The Borghese Gallery is open from 8:30am to 7:30pm Tuesday through Sunday. Like most Roman attractions, the Borghese is at its busiest in summer. It’s best to purchase your ticket for early in the morning, as that is often when it is quieter.
The Borghese Family Effect
The Borgheses were a powerful Italian family who rose to prominence and wealth after one member became Pope Paul V in 1552 and gave power and titles to many family members. One such was the pope’s nephew, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who built the Villa Borghese and Borghese Gardens in the 17th century to hold parties and house his private art collections. He was a patron of the famous artist Bernini, so many of Bernini’s sculptures—including Apollo and Daphne and David—are held in the Borghese collection.