Villa Borghese is one of the most beautiful and significant art collections in Rome. Originally the private collection of the wealthy cardinal Scipione Borghese, the Borghese Gallery is now an impressive art gallery and one of the main attractions in Rome. Highlights of the gallery include some of Bernini’s greatest masterpieces and paintings by Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio. For art lovers, a visit to Villa Borghese is a must-do in Rome.
In this article, we will present to you our quick travel guide to Villa Borghese.
Where is the Villa Borghese located and how to get there?
The Villa is located in the Borghese Gardens, in the center of Rome. Its official address is Piazzale Scipione Borghese 5 and is very easy to reach on foot. The closest park entrances to the gallery are on Via Pinciana, Via Mercadante and Via Raimondi. Via Pinciana entrance is about 2 minutes away from the Villa Borghese’s main entrance.
The public transportation serving the Borghese Gallery are tram 19 and 3, and buses 52, 63, 83, 92, 223, 490, 910.
How to visit the Villa Borghese?
Tickets for the Villa Borghese are usually sold out extremely fast, so we recommend you book them a few weeks in advance. If you’re not looking for a guided tour, the easiest option to visit the gallery is to buy tickets from the official website. Of course, the best option to visit Villa Borghese is to join a guided tour. You can choose a shared tour, or a private one. This is the perfect way to explore and understand the amazing wonders of the art collection. We highly recommend you to take a look at our Small Group Borghese Gallery & Villa Borghese Gardens Tour and the Private Tour Of Villa Borghese and Borghese Gallery.
What to see at Villa Borghese?
The Borghese Gallery is organised on 2 floors. Most of the pieces are original from the collection of Scipione Borghese, while other pieces were added to the collection later. The main things to see at the museum are:
The entrance hall: The dominant feature is the ceiling by Mariano Rossi (also, the room’s official name is Salone Mariano Rossi). The subject celebrates Roman civilization and the heroic virtue of honour. In the centre is the depiction of Romulus welcomed to Olympus by Jupiter to propitiate the victory of Furius Camillus against Brennus, king of the Gauls.
Boy With A Basket Of Fruit: an early oil on canvas from 1593 by Caravaggio.
John in the Wilderness: painting by Caravaggio, depicting a tired and frail St. John the Baptist. The overwhelming sadness of this painting both draws you in and pushes you away.
St. Jerome Writing: a wonderful painting by Caravaggio, that shows one of the most important events in Christian history: the translation of the Bible from Greek to Latin.
Madonna dei Palafrenieri: one of the mature religious works of Caravaggio. Originally created as a centerpiece for St.Peter’s Basilica, the commission was dropped because it was considered too vulgar.
David with the Head of Goliath: due to its importance in biblical history, David is often the subject of works of art. This particular version by Caravaggio shows David beheading Goliath as he looks down in triumph. This was one of Caravaggio’s last paintings.
Young Sick Bacchus: one of the most famous artworks by Caravaggio. An illness, thought by some to be Malaria, incapacitated the young artist for a period of six months and it is believed that he painted a self-portrait at this time with the use of a mirror.
Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius: a masterpiece by Bernini, one of the lesser-mentioned sculptures.
The Rape of Prosperina: one of the greatest masters of the early Baroque, this sculputre really shows Bernini’s engineering marvel.
Apollo and Daphne: Bernini depicts the mythological drama that occurs between Apollo, god of music and poetry, and Daphne, a virginal nymph.
Paolina Bonaparte: one of the gallery’s iconic masterpieces by Antonio Canova, representing Napoleon’s sister.
The Deposition: The Deposition (of Christ) was completed in 1507 on wooden panels by Raphael for Atlanta Baglione after the death of her son. The painting shows figures, one of which is the likeliness of Grifonetto Baglione, carrying Jesus away to his tomb.
Young Woman with Unicorn: a painting by Raphael of a mysterious woman looking directly at the observer, holding a unicorn in her hands which is a sign of virginity.
Do you think you’d enjoy a visit to the Borghese Gallery in Rome?
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