Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese | Explore Art and Architecture Amidst Nature

Villa Borghese in Rome is one of Europe’s largest urban parks. It spans over 80 hectares and is a beautiful landscape garden housing museums, galleries and many buildings that are the epitome of Roman architecture. While being the second largest public park in Rome after the Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Borghese stands out for the perfect coalescence of nature and Roman art. 

Why visit Villa Borghese?

  • One of the largest parks in Europe with monuments, sculptures and fountains built by renowned Roman artists.
  • The Borghese Gallery is one of the most important and interesting points of interest housing a world-class art collection by famous names like Bernini, Caravaggio and Raffaello.
  • 90 points of interest sprawling over 80 hectares of the Villa Borghese park area.
  • The perfect destination for families and individuals of all ages. The versatility of Villa Borghese attracts leisure seekers, history buffs as well as art lovers.
  • Villa Borghese is an excellent escape from the city bustle in the centre of Rome.

Villa Borghese Highlights

Temple of Asclepius

The Temple of Asclepius was built in 1786 in the memory of the ancient temple of Asclepius on the Tiber island which was destroyed. It was built on a small island in the park’s artificial lake as a decorative landscape feature making it the ultimate romantic spot of Villa Borghese where you even rent a row boat.

Water clock

In 1867, Roman architect Giovan Battista Embriaco built a hydrochronometer and displayed it at the Paris Universal Exposition. It was then fitted into one of the fountains in Villa Borghese in 1873. There is also a bridge across the fountain to walk over to the clock which works 24/7 even today.

Carlo Bilotti Museum 

The Orangery of Villa Borghese, known as the Aranceira, houses the Carlo Bilotti Museum. There is a permanent collection here that includes works of Gino Severini, Andy Warhol, Giorgio de Chirico and Giacomo Manzù. The museum is free for public visits and even hosts exhibitions from time to time.

Casino Della Meridiana

The Casino Della Meridiana is an aviary along with the Uccelliera built in 1688 and designed by Carlo Rainaldi. Adorned with stucco and marble decorations, the pavilion derives its name from the sundial placed right at the centre of the historical landmark.

The secret garden where Cardinal Borghese admired his rare and exotic flowers lies in between these two aviaries and is now restored to its original beauty and allure.

Casina de Raffaello

Housed in an elegant 14th-century building, the Casina de Raffaello is a children’s play arena where plenty of interactive workshops and activities are hosted for kids of age 3 to 10 years. Apart from being a venue for children's birthday parties, the Casina also has facilities like a library and a bookstore.

Pincio Terrace

The Pincio terrace is connected to the Villa Borghese Gardens by a pedestrian bridge across the Via Del Nuro Torto. This spot gives a spectacular panoramic view of the city including the historic centre and the Vatican. Climb up the stairs from Piazza del Popolo and walk through Villa Borghese while following the sign to reach the Pincio Terrace. 

Bioparco di Roma

There is a zoological garden in the Villa Borghese park which previously was the home of exotic animal species that were held for exhibition. In the 90s, the zoo was reformed into a biopark where more than 1000 animals of 222 species are maintained. 

Right next to the biopark, is a zoological museum of natural history. It has an important osteological collection and over 5 million specimens displayed in 18 rooms.

Piazza di Siena

Inspired by the Piazza del Campo in Siena, architects Mario and Antonio Asprucci designed this square in 1792. The Piazza de Siena has been a centre for concerts, exquisite events and the world-famous equestrian competition in May.

Cinema and Theatres 

Villa Borghese has many ideal venues for movie and theatre buffs. The Casa Del Cinema has the modern HD digital video projection system, Globe Theatre is an Elizabethan open-air theatre, the Puppet Theatre hosts shows for children with hand-painted backdrops and stage props and the Cinema of the Little ones holds the Guinness record for being the world’s smallest cinema hosting shows for children. 

Brief History of Villa Borghese

The 17th century 

Owned by the Borghese Family, Villa Borghese occupied only the area of the ancient site, Horti di Lucullo (Colle del Pincio). Cardinal Scipione Borghese acquired neighbouring land in order to transform the place into a symbol of prestige and grandeur for the Borghese family. 

The Villa opened its spectacular gardens only to guests and surpassed all other noble residences in Rome in terms of wealth and luxury. Engineered by Flaminio Ponzio and Jan van Santen, Cardinal Scipione immersed himself in enriching the estate with famous paintings, sculptures, fountains and invaluable furnishings.

18th - 19th century

After Scipione, Villa Borghese underwent radical expansion with neoclassical decorations. Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese along with architects Antonio and Mario Asprucci added many other attractions like the Sea Horse Fountain, Aqua Felix, Temple of Diana, Piazza di Sienna, Casino dell'Orologio, Temple of Aesculapius etc.

The park was also opened to visitors for leisure and summer walks. The connection of the Borghese family with that of Napolean Bonaparte brought in significant contributions that added to the estate’s grandiose and pomp.

Since the unification of Italy

Villa Borghese came in between the possessions of the Borghese family and the Italian state after the unification of Italy in 1861. The monumental estate was finally bought by the Municipality of Rome giving access to the public.

Today, Villa Borghese is a glorious fusion of art, architecture and nature, hosting public exhibitions and distinguished artistic events.

Plan Your Visit to Villa Borghese

Visitor tips
Villa Borghese map
Where is Villa Borghese located?

Villa Borghese is located in the heart of Rome. It spans over 200 acres in between Piazza del Polopo, Via Veneto, Piazza di Spagna and the neighbourhood of Parioli. 

Address: Piazzale Napoleone I, 00197 Roma RM, Italy. [Find on map]

How to get there?

By bus - Several bus lines like 360, 490, 52, 53, 63, 83, 910 and 92 pass Villa Borghese from places around the city of Rome.

By metro - Take line A metro and alight at the Piazza di Spagna or the Flaminio station which are the closest metro stations to Villa Borghese and take you to different entrances of the park. 

By car- You can also take a taxi or drive to Villa Borghese. Garages and public parking spaces are available around the park. 

Villa Borghese has many entrances that lead to different beautiful areas in the park. Make sure to choose the convenient entrance for the attraction you want to visit.

  • Parco del Daini - an entrance lined with benches that leads to the Borghese Gallery and the Zoo
  • Pincio entrance - the street of Salita del Pincio climbing up from the Piazza del Polopo and leading to the beautiful Pincio terrace
  • Piazzale Belle Arti - this entrance, served by trams 19 and 3, leads up the Borghese pond, Temple of Asclepius, playgrounds and cafes.
  • Porta Pinciana entrance - leads to the Casa del Cinema and is perfect to reach the playgrounds for kids.

There are some notable Italian restaurants and cafes in the Villa Borghese park premises that you can enjoy:

  • Casina Valadier - neoclassical style restaurants perfect for romantic dinners and special occasions
  • Casina Del Lago - Cozy cafe next to the Bilotti museum perfect for breakfast, quick lunch and snacks
  • VyTA Villa Borghese - enjoy authentic Italian gastronomic traditions with a creative touch
  • Take out at least half a day to cover the Borghese Gallery as well as Villa Borghese gardens. It is also recommended to plan your visit based on the Borghese gallery tour schedule.
  • Explore the gallery first and then enjoy the rest of the time in the park as it gets even more beautiful close to sunset.
  • Villa Borghese spreads over 80 hectares. So look out for the park maps on brochures or boards near the entrances in order to not lose your way inside.
  • It is much easier to move around in Villa Borghese on bicycles and bikes that you can rent for a day.
  • You can enjoy a romantic time at the Borghese pond by renting a row boat.
  • Look out for the delicious restaurant and cafe options in the park to take quick breaks.
  • Villa Borghese is also an ideal picnic spot for families and kids to have a relaxing time.
Book Villa Borghese Tours and Tickets

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Frequently Asked Questions about Villa Borghese

What is Villa Borghese?

Villa Borghese is a landscape garden in Rome that also houses many museums, galleries and architectural buildings. It is the second largest urban park in Rome and a perfect combination of architecture, art and nature.

Where is Villa Borghese located?

Villa Borghese is located in the heart of the city of Rome. It spans over 200 acres between Piazza del Polopo, Via Veneto, Piazza di Spagna and the neighbourhood of Parioli. [Find on map]

How to get to Villa Borghese?

You can get to Villa Borghese by bus, metro or car. By bus - lines 360, 490, 52, 53, 63, 83, 910 and 92. By metro - Line A metro to Piazza di Spagna or the Flaminio station.

What is Villa Borghese is famous for?

Villa Borghese is one of the largest parks in Rome and is known for its pristine greenery and neoclassical architecture, as well as the Borghese Gallery, which houses world-class art collections.

Is Villa Borghese worth visiting?

Yes. Villa Borghese is a perfect combination of art, Roman architecture and nature. It houses a world-famous gallery with spectacular art collections as well have has other attractions like a biopark, pond, museums, theatre spaces etc.

Is the Villa Borghese free for the public?

Yes, the entrance to the Villa Borghese park is free for visitors. However, there are tickets and tours available for the Borghese Gallery and other museums in the park.

How long does it take to explore Villa Borghese?

It is recommended to take out half a day to explore both Borghese Gallery and Villa Borghese gardens. You can take your own time to visit other attractions too.

Where can I eat in Villa Borghese?

There are some notable restaurants, kiosks and cafes in Villa Borghese like the Casina Valadier, Casina Del Lago and VyTA Villa Borghese for you to enjoy dining in the park.

Are kids allowed in Villa Borghese?

Yes, kids are allowed in Villa Borghese. There are special attractions like Cinema for the Little Ones, Puppet Theatre and playgrounds for kids.

What are the timings of Villa Borghese?

Villa Borghese is free for the public from dawn to dusk. The park premises have to be vacated before sundown. However, the timings of the Borghese Gallery are 9 am to 7 pm with the last entrance at 5:45 pm.

Are pets allowed in Villa Borghese?

Yes, pets are allowed in the Villa Borghese park. However, no animals are allowed inside the Borghese Gallery and other museums in Villa Borghese.

When is the best time to visit Villa Borghese?

The springtime between Arpil and June as well as September to October is a pleasant time to visit Villa Borghese. Avoid summer as it is the peak tourist season with heavy crowds.