Explore the Stunning Fusion of Nature and Art at Villa Borghese Gardens
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Located in the heart of Rome, Italy, Villa Borghese Gardens is a sprawling public park that covers 80 hectares of land. The third largest public park in Rome, it is renowned for its picturesque gardens, stunning fountains, museums, and art collections. One of the most famous and beautiful parks in the city, it is a popular tourist destination and a beloved spot for locals to relax and enjoy outdoor activities, Villa Borghese Gardens offers a unique and charming experience for visitors of all ages.
The feather in the Borghese Gardens’ cap is the Borghese Gallery, one of the most-visited museums in the city. It is also home to several other attractions like Villa Medici, Museo Pietro Canonia, and Museo Carlo Bilotti. At the Borghese Gardens, one can also watch classic films at the Casa Del Cinema or visit the Bioparco di Roma Zoo.
Quick Facts About Villa Borghese Gardens
- Location: Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 00197 Roma RM, Italy
- Date of opening: 1605
- Timings: The park is open 24/7, while the attractions inside (such as museums and galleries) have varying operating hours.
- Architect: The gardens were designed by architect Flaminio Ponzio, and the main villa was designed by Giovanni Vasanzio and Flaminio Ponzio.
- Architectural style: The main villa is in the Baroque style, while other features in the garden display a mix of styles.
- Collection: The park is home to several museums and galleries, including the Galleria Borghese which houses one of the largest collections of art in the world. The collection features works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Raphael, and other renowned artists.
Why Visit the Villa Borghese Gardens?
- Beautiful Gardens: The park boasts stunning gardens, fountains, and sculptures.
- Peaceful Retreat: It is a perfect spot for a leisurely walk or bike ride, picnic, or simply to relax.
- Art Collection: Home to the world-renowned Borghese Gallery, housing masterpieces by famous artists.
- City Views: Take in panoramic views of Rome from the park's high vantage points.
- Convenient Location: Located in the heart of Rome, the park is easily accessible and a must-visit attraction for any tourist.
Essential Information to Visit Villa Borghese Gardens
The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the park is between the months of April to June and September to November, when the weather is mild, and the gardens are in full bloom. The park is less crowded during these months compared to the summer, which is peak tourist season. Visitors are advised to arrive early to avoid long queues, especially if they want to visit the Borghese Gallery.
Address: 00197 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy
The Villa Borghese Gardens in Rome, Italy is located near popular attractions such as the Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, Tiber River, and Castel Sant'Angelo, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the city.
What to See at Villa Borghese Gardens?
The Villa Borghese Gardens are open to the public today. When you visit, along with the Borghese Gallery, there’s plenty to see and explore. Here, we list the primary attractions that you can visit.
Casina di Raffaello
One of the most beautiful buildings in Villa Borghese gardens, Casina di Raffaello houses breathtaking frescoes making it worth a visit. The building presently functions as a children's activity center and workshops and events for kids are organized here. Do note that tickets for Casina di Raffaello are sold separately and are not a part of your Borghese gardens ticket. Also, the attraction remains closed on Mondays so plan your visit accordingly.
Bioparco di Roma Zoo
The Zoological Garden of Rome is one of Europe’s oldest zoos. Established back in 1908, it was established by Carl Hagenbeck who sought to change the way zoos are designed. This new structure allowed animals to reside freely without being cooped up in cages and maintained a clear divide with the public. The Bioparco today is home to over 1000 animals from across 200 species, including members of the feline family, chimpanzees and bears among others.Explore the Rome Zoo
The Villa Borghese gardens are located on the Pincian Hills, which is not a part of the Seven Hills of Rome but falls within the iconic Aurelian walls. Within the hills, you'll find the popular pathway, the Passeggiata del Pincio which is lined with busts and statues of popular icons. Also accessible via the Villa Borghese is the Pincio Terrace provides one of the most spectacular views of Rome. From this hilltop terrace, visitors can see the city's stunning skyline, including famous landmarks such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum. It's an ideal location for a picnic or just to sit and enjoy the view while taking a break from exploring the gardens.
Victorian Water Clock
One of the most unique attractions at the Borghese gardens, the water clock is something straight out of a fantasy tale. Built by inventor Giovan Battista in 1867, the Victorian Water Clock masterfully combines science and the force of nature. Located in the middle of a pond in the Borghese gardens, not further from the Temple of Aesculapius, the water clock, or hydro chronometer, calculates accurate time until today. It is generally open throughout the day.
An opulent villa located in proximity to the Villa Borghese, Villa Medici is another unmissable attraction of the Borghese Gardens. Construction work for the villa was completed in 1544 and the owner changed multiple times during its long existence. A major ownership change occurred when Napoleon Bonaparte shifted the French Academy into the Villa Medici premises. Presently, the building and the gardens which surround it have been restored to their former glory and offer visitors a delightful experience.
Teatro Dei Burattini San Carlino
An attraction created specifically to keep kids entertained and engaged while the parents tour the museum, the San Carlino puppet show offers a wonderful time. The show features Pulcinella, a popular puppet character rooted in Naples, where the show was created. The puppets are part of stories that encourage children to dream big. Take your kids to this fun and interactive experience which they will appreciate much more than the fine Italian art on display at the many museums.
Temple of Aesculapius
The Temple of Aesculapius is a stunning temple in Villa Borghese Gardens dedicated to the ancient Roman god of medicine. Built in the 18th century, the temple's circular design is surrounded by water, creating a tranquil and serene atmosphere. The surrounding gardens and ponds make for a lovely stroll and provide a unique and peaceful experience.
Piazza di Siena
Located in the western part of Villa Borghese Gardens, Piazza di Siena is a vast open-air arena surrounded by beautiful trees, statues, and greenery, making it a perfect place for a walk or picnic. The square hosts the annual CSIO horse show, which draws visitors from around the world. If you visit during the show, you can enjoy the stunning spectacle of horses and riders jumping over obstacles, but even outside of the show, the square is a beautiful and peaceful destination.
History of Villa Borghese Gardens
Back in 1605, the wealthy Borghese family owned a section of the estate on which the current Villa Borghese stands. In 1606, Cardinal Scipione Borghese expressed his desire to build and design a space that reflected the family name and grandeur. He then acquired land and vineyards located nearby and began work on establishing this prestigious estate. Primarily, architects Flaminio Ponzio, Jan van Santen, and Domenico Savino da Montepulciano worked on the Villa Borghese. Sculptures and fountains, along with several small houses and of course, the Borghese Gallery.
It was after the Cardinal’s passing that the gardens went through massive changes. Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese, along with his architects, worked on plans to expand the gardens and revamp its look. Various ornaments and sculptures were installed in various parts of the gardens, along with ponds and fountains. The Borghese Gallery’s interiors were also re-done with polished paneling and beautiful frescoes.
After the 19th Century, the Villa Borghese was then sold to the city of Rome and opened completely to the public.
Villa Borghese Gardens Today
The Borghese Gardens remains one of the most significant and beautiful public parks in Rome. With its unique blend of formal Italian Renaissance and naturalistic Baroque styles, the park offers visitors a remarkable fusion of natural and man-made beauty.
Today, visitors can enjoy the park's geometrically shaped parterres, fountains, and sculptures, including the Fontana dei Cavalli Marini and the Fontana del Pincio, among its defining features. The park also houses several buildings, including the Temple of Aesculapius and the Casino dell'Aurora, which houses the Borghese art collection.
Throughout the years, the park has undergone numerous changes and renovations, including the addition of the Pincio Terrace, which offers panoramic views of the city. The park is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, who come to enjoy its beautiful gardens, breathtaking views, and rich cultural heritage.
The Villa Borghese Gardens are a testament to the city's history and cultural significance, and its continued influence on the city's landscape and cultural identity cannot be overstated. Whether it's a relaxing stroll, a bike ride, or a cultural experience, the park has something to offer everyone who visits. It remains one of the most important and relevant attractions in Rome today, a must-visit for anyone seeking to explore the city's rich heritage and natural beauty.
Frequently Asked Questions About Villa Borghese Gardens
The Villa Borghese Gardens are a large public park in Rome, Italy.
No. Entry is free to the Villa Borghese. However, you will have to pay to enter attractions like the Borghese Gallery.
Yes. You can take a tour of the Villa Borghese Gardens as part of your Borghese Gallery experiences.
Yes, the Villa Borghese Gardens are open to the public.
It depends on the ticket you book. Standard Borghese Gallery tickets do not include a walking tour of the gardens; however, if you book guided tours of the museum, your experience includes a walking tour of the gardens.
There are two main entrances to Villa Borghese: the gate near the Spanish Steps (Porta Pinciana) and the gate near Piazza del Popolo.
Villa Borghese is generally open until sunset. Opening times may vary depending on the season.
The Villa Borghese Gardens is located in the heart of Rome, near the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo.
Apart from traveling on foot, you can rent a cycle or an electric quad-bike, or go boating to explore Villa Borghese.
You can take the bus, tram or metro to get to the Villa Borghese. Several metro and bus stops are located right outside and you can simply walk to the gardens.
Yes, dining options are available inside Villa Borghese. You can also pack a picnic for the park.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese began turning the former vineyard into gardens in 1605.
The Villa Borghese Gardens were designed by several prominent architects and landscapers, including Flaminio Ponzio, Girolamo Rainaldi, and Domenico Savino.
Visitors can see a wide range of attractions at the Villa Borghese Gardens, including the Pincio Terrace, the Temple of Aesculapius, and Piazza di Siena.