Are you wondering if you should visit the Galleria Borghese when you come to Rome?
Find out why this is one of Rome's must-see museums, and all the tips you need to know about visiting it, including how to avoid the crowds, whether you can take photos, and more!
I've visited the Galleria Borghese countless times over the years and I see something new every time I go. Suffice to say I can never get enough!
This is one of the easiest museums in Rome to visit, thanks to a well-organized entry system, a beautiful location inside Rome's third-largest park, and a concentrated collection of paintings and sculpture by some of the most renowned artists in the world.
On this page, I'll share with you:
The Borghese Gallery is a relatively small museum in the Villa Borghese park at Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5.
While it houses a spectacular collection of some of the world's most renowned artists from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, you will also find mosaics and sculptures from Ancient Rome, all in a stunning space surrounded by lush gardens.
I live in Rome and still have not visited every single museum.
And yet, every museum I have visited has been "worth it." But that is, of course, subjective.
If I had to pick only one museum to visit on my trip to Rome, it would be this one.
Sacrilege you say?
Not the Vatican Museums? (If you follow me, you know I am mad about the Vatican Museums!)
Well, really, you should see them both (and the Capitoline Museums!)
But if I had limited time, and I had to pick one museum, the Borghese Gallery would win hands down. Here's why:
You may notice I wrote "no stress" 3 times above.
That is because it's one of the draws to visiting this museum.
A visit to the Galleria Borghese is wonderful, in part, because it's so doable.
You can see a LOT of amazing art in a relatively small space in a short window of time without the crushing crowds you find in some other museums in Rome (ahem.)
In short, yes, the Galleria Borghese is very much worth visiting. And in my opinion, it's worth spending the whole 2 hours and soaking up the beauty all around you.
Thanks in part to art-lover Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the Borghese Gallery is so full of amazing works of art by many world-class renowned artists, that it's impossible to list them here.
But to give you an idea of some of the wonderful sculpture and paintings you can see in the Galleria Borghese, here is a short preview:
A sculpture of Paolina Borghese by Antonio Canova that is worth the price of admission alone:
I am a sucker for pretty much anything Gianlorenzo Bernini has ever done.
Lucky for us, three of his most important sculptures are in this museum.
These include Apollo and Daphne, David, and The Rape of Proserpina.
There are many more works by him, including a self-portrait (painting), a fascinating sculpture of Aeneas fleeing Troy (this is the beginning of the Rome foundation story!), and even a sculpture he didn't finish.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese, founder of the museum, was a huge fan and patron of Bernini, so we can thank him for giving us this marvelous collection.
Michelangelo Merisi, otherwise known as Caravaggio, one of the most renowned artists of the Italian Baroque period, was a master of chiaroscuro, which means using very light colors against a dark background, for maximum effect and contrast.
He perfected this style and is considered one of the best and most well-known artists in using it to create a strong atmosphere in his paintings.
I really cannot do these works of art justice with my photographs, taken at angles, and the sun glaring on them.
(Photos are allowed, just no tripods and no flash. Get my photo tips here.)
But to give you an idea of the art you can find in this fabulous museum, you will find paintings by Rubens, Raphael, Guido Reni, Domenicchino, Parmigianino, Botticelli, Correggio and so many more.
Many of these are on the top floor so don't skip that part!
The Borghese Gallery is open Tuesday - Sunday.
Entry times are hourly for a 2-hour visit, starting at 9 AM and ending at 7 PM (last entry is at 5:45 PM for a shorter visit.)
On Fridays and Saturdays the Borghese Gallery is open until 10 PM (last entrance at 8:45 PM.)
The Galleria Borghese is inside of the Villa Borghese park in the heart of Rome.
The precise address is Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5.
So, where is the Villa Borghese located?
The Villa Borghese is the third largest park in Rome, and you can visit all the rest of it without visiting the Galleria Borghese.
The Villa Borghese was the summer and party residence of the noble Borghese family, built in the early 1600's.
In 1605, Camillo Borghese became Pope Paul V, and his nephew, Scipione Borghese, soon was made a cardinal.
In 1606, Cardinal Scipione Borghese ordered a palazzo built.
The "Villa Borghese Pinciana", named for its proximity to the Porta Pinciana, was designed mostly by Flaminio Ponzio. The villa was completed in 1633.
Cardinal Scipione Borghese was a real art buff and at a very young age became one of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's biggest fans and patrons.
The Galleria Borghese was decorated and furnished mostly due to Cardinal Scipione Borghese's tastes and very strong will (some works were purchased and other donated, but some works were "confiscated." You can figure out what that means.)
In the 1800's, while Rome was under French rule, another Camillo Borghese, who was actually a prince, married into the Bonaparte family (his wife Paolina is the one seen reclining in Antonio Canova's spectacular sculpture, seen in the photo on this page.)
In 1807, Prince Borghese had to give about 500 pieces of art from this museum to Napolean Bonaparte, so if you want to see more of the original Borghese collection, you will have to visit the Louvre in Paris. (This is not a very happy subject for Romans today, as you can imagine!)
In 1902, the Borghese family sold the Villa Borghese and its contents to the Italian government.
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In this section about how to book tickets and tours to the Borghese Gallery in Rome, we'll go over:
Borghese Gallery tickets cost
There may be additional costs if there is a special exhibit going on.
To book your Galleria Borghese tickets, there is a 2€ fee. So even if you book for an under-18 year old, or for a free Sunday, or you are using a Roma Pass for free entry, you will pay 2€ for the reservation.
Anyone disabled and their accompanying caregiver do not get free entry but are exempt from paying a reservation fee.
There are some ways to visit the Galleria Borghese villa for free.
If you are on a budget, this can be a great way to save.
For most of the free visits, there is still a 2€ charge to reserve, and most of the time, you need to reserve.
On the first Sunday of every month, it is free to visit the museum (you still have to book!)
The Galleria Borghese is free for everyone under 18, European tour guides, some journalists, some teachers.
For more specific details about who is eligible for free entry, and more info, visit the official website of the Galleria Borghese.
You must still book your entry date and time. And you must pay the 2€ reservation fee.
There are now 3 ways to book Borghese Gallery tickets: phone, online, or by e-mail.
The number to call is +39 06 32810.
If you are using a cell phone, the "+" indicates an international call. The +39 means country code Italy.
If you are using a regular telephone and dialing from the US or Canada, you dial 011 39 06 32810.
If you are dialing from another country, use whatever code you need to get an international line, then 39, then 06 32810. (You could also ask your hotel to do this for you in advance, as it's a free phone call from here!)
You will have the choice to speak to an operator in Italian or English.
The phone ticket office is open Monday - Friday from 9am until 6pm, and Saturday from 9am until 1pm. It is closed on Sundays and holidays.
Be ready to book with credit card, and have something to write with.
Once you book, they will give you a booking code.
They will ask for your email address so they can send you confirmation via email.
You still need to pick up your Galleria Borghese tickets on the day and time of your visit.
You can also book the Galleria Borghese in Rome via e-mail.
Send an email to email@example.com.
Don't forget to include the number of people, their ages, dates you want to book, and your preferred time.
Also make sure to give them an easy way to reach you if the email you send from cannot be used.
When booking via e-mail, you'll receive confirmation within 48 hours.
If you have trouble with email, or don't get a response, then revert to the other ways of booking.
If you go to the Borghese website (Italian only) and click to book tickets, it will take you to their official ticket vendor affiliate in Italy, which is TicketOne.
Here is the booking page for the Galleria Borghese in Rome on TicketOne in English. (In case the page comes up in Italian, click the globe at the top.)
Browse to find available dates and then, once you select the date you want, you can choose from available time slots.
Once you are ready to pay, you will see there is a fee to use that vendor, which is an additional 2€ per person (on top of the 2€ booking fee that the museum itself charges.)
You will need to create a login name and password, but it's fairly straightforward.
I have heard more than one person tell me they find the Galleria Borghese ticketing website frustrating and/or difficult to use.
Do you just want to book your tickets via an English-language website and be done with it?
Here's an easy online booking calendar.
The tickets cost just a bit more than using TicketOne, but it's an agency and that includes the ease of use and your peace of mind.
Consider that they only allow 360 people at once in the Borghese Gallery, with entry for up to 180 people every hour, on the hour, for a maximum 2-hour visit.
In high season, if you don't book in advance, you risk being turned away due to no availability.
You can try to visit the Borghese Gallery in low season without booking in advance, but as entry is limited to just 180 people at once, you risk not getting in or having to wait until there is an available time slot.
You are only allowed a 2-hour window for your visit.
But you need to be there at least a half-hour before your entry time. The address is Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5.
You may also spend a little time afterward visiting the small gift-shop, having a coffee or even a meal in the café there, or walking around the gardens.
Figure in time to get to the museum (this of course depends on where you are coming from, and how you will get there).
So all together, I'd say count on a good 3-4 hours out of your day.
My top recommendation for a guide to this museum is to do their audio tour. You cannot book this in advance. You just get it on the day you visit.
The audio tour is 6€, and is self-guided. It's really well-done and has good narrators telling interesting history about specific important (numbered) pieces throughout the Borghese Gallery.
There is no order, so you just go at your own pace and start where you want.
You may book a guided tour of the Galleria Borghese villa with one of their docents, for 8€ per person, in addition to the ticket price and booking fee.
You must reserve and pay for this when you book your tickets, either by phone or online.
You have the choice of a docent who speaks English or Italian, and sometimes, several other languages may also be available, including French, Spanish and German.
Wondering where to have breakfast, lunch or dinner before or after your Borghese Gallery visit?
Besides the cafe inside the Galleria Borghese, here are two of my favorite spots to eat nearby.
One is inside the Villa Borghese park and the other is just outside it by a few blocks:
This cute outdoor cafe is on Piazzale delle Canestre inside the Villa Borghese park.
It's about a 10-minute walk from the Borghese Gallery.
It's actually really good food, including the pasta and pizza!
It's also nice to sit outside and have little birds come join us.
Not far from the Borghese Gallery (maybe a 10-15 minute walk off the grounds of the Villa Borghese park) you will find one of our favorite pizzerias, Pizzeria San Marco.
You can eat inside or out, and have just about anything from pizza to salads to pasta to fish.
Via Sardegna, 38/g. Open daily from 10am - 1am. Phone: 06 4282 4893. Reservations suggested.
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