Visit the Villa Borghese Gardens
The Villa Borghese is the third largest public park in Rome and features an extensive garden influenced by English sensibilities. On first view, the gardens are here to impress with their lush, immaculately-maintained landscape and wide variety of flora and fauna.
The feather in the Borghese Gardens’ cap is the Borghese Gallery, one of the most-visited museums in the city. However, not only is it home to the Borghese Gallery, but also 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. With your Borghese Gallery tickets, embark on a walking tour of the Villa Borghese Gardens and feast your eyes on the picturesque surroundings.
History of 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.
What to See at the 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.
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.
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.
The Villa Borghese gardens are located on the Pincian Hills and offer a breathtaking view of Rome. Although not a part of the Seven Hills of Rome, the Pincian Hills fall 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 Terrible where you can get stunning views of Rome, including the dome of St. Peter's Basilica!
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.
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.
Visiting Villa Borghese Gardens
The Borghese Gardens are open throughout the day, until sunset (season dependent).
You can visit the Villa Borghese Gardens throughout the year. To experience smaller crowds, you can visit early mornings and late evenings.
Two metro stations are located close to Villa Borghese: Spagna, on Line A, and Flaminio, on Line A. From Flaminio, Villa Borghese is only at a 5-minute walking distance.
There are several bus stops located close to the Villa Borghese. Some of the closest ones are: Pinciana, Bioparco, Villa Borghese, Galleria Art Moderna, Puccini and Aldrovandi.
Villa Borghese Gardens FAQs
Yes. Villa Borghese Gardens are now open to the public post-COVID-19.
There are two main entrances to Villa Borghese: the gate near the Spanish Steps (Porta Pinciana) and the gate near Piazza del Popolo.
Yes. You can take a tour of the Villa Borghese Gardens as part of your Borghese Gallery experiences.
No. Entry is free to the Villa Borghese. However, you will have to pay to enter attractions like the Borghese Gallery.
Yes, dining options are available inside Villa Borghese. You can also pack a picnic for the park.
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.
Villa Borghese is generally open until sunset. Opening times may vary depending on the season.
Apart from traveling on foot, you can rent a cycle or an electric quad-bike, or go boating to explore Villa Borghese.
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 experiences includes a walking tour of the gardens.