The Borghese Gallery is one of the most renowned art galleries in the world, thanks to its collection of works by Bernini, Raphael, Botticelli, and Rubens. Is it worth a visit? Well, of course! Not only for the works of art housed here but also for its unique location in the Villa Borghese Gardens.
1. Where to buy tickets for the Borghese Gallery
On the Internet
The best recommendation I can make to visit the Borghese Gallery is to buy your tickets online and well in advance of your trip to avoid missing out on this experience. Here are the different types of tickets you can get:
Given the large influx of tourists that are drawn to the Borghese Gallery, tickets can only be purchased in advance, by phone, or online. This is the telephone number: (0039) 06 841 3979. For me, this is not the most convenient option, firstly because of the cost of the call and because you will not be able to calmly compare the prices of the different types of tickets.
2. Skip-the-line entrance to the Borghese Gallery
This is the basic ticket and with it, you can access the museum at the slotted time previously selected and without waiting in line. As in any other museum in the world, when you buy this skip-the-line entrance to the Borghese Gallery, you can enjoy a visit to its interior at your own pace, without having to follow any specific route. However, due to the large crowds that visit the museum, I recommend you to be very punctual in your schedule to avoid any problems at the door.
This is undoubtedly a good option for the traveler who does not want to miss this wonderful collection without having to pay extra for a professional guide. If this is the option that suits you best, I recommend that you get well informed about what you are going to see before the visit, to get the most out of this unique collection in the world.
What is included in the ticket for the Borghese Gallery?
- Guaranteed entrance to the Borghese Gallery with no waiting lines.
- Option to upgrade the ticket with a guided tour of the museum and gardens of Villa Borghese.
- As soon as you purchase it, you will receive confirmation of your reservation immediately and your entrance ticket in electronic format. The cancellation of this ticket is completely free of charge, as long as it is canceled 24 hours before the visit.
What is not included in the ticket for the Borghese Gallery?
- Pick up and return to the hotel.
- Food and beverages.
Possibility of hiring a guided tour
This no-queue entrance to the Borghese Gallery also offers you the possibility to take a 3-hour guided tour in which you can learn about the history of the museum and the pieces of art of its collection, thanks to the explanations of a guide and in a group of no more than 20 people. This guided tour also includes a walk through the wonderful Gardens of Villa Borghese.
Ana's Traveller Tip
Arrive well in advance of your visit, if you are late for your slotted turn you will not be allowed inside.
3. Private tour of the Borghese Gallery with an expert guide in Art History
If you are a true art buff and are looking for an even more inspirational experience, there is the possibility to take a private tour of the Borghese Gallery with an Art History expert in which a professional guide specialized in arts will explain all the details of the history of the Borghese Gallery and its paintings and sculptures.
What does this tour consist of?
The guide will accompany you on a tour of the Gallery and then the Gardens of the Villa. Finally, they will take you to the nearby Piazza del Popolo, surrounded by two imposing churches. There you can compare the order and harmony of Raphael's Renaissance Chigi Chapel with the emotional and sensual strength of Caravaggio's Baroque works of art in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, with two of the painter's most famous compositions: "The Crucifixion of St. Peter" and "The Conversion of St. Paul".
You can even customize your guide's explanations by indicating what you are most interested in learning about the museum so that they can go deeper into its history, sculpture, or painting.
What does the private tour of the Borghese Gallery include?
- Professional art historian guide
- Entrance to the Borghese Gallery
- Tour of the Borghese Gallery, the Gardens, and Piazza del Popolo
What is not included in the private tour of the Borghese Gallery?
- Food and beverage
- Transfer to and from your hotel
Other details of interest about the private tour of the Borghese Gallery
- Is wheelchair accessible
- Baby carriages can be carried
- Surfaces are suitable for wheelchair use
- This is a private activity, so only your group can participate.
4. Roma Pass and other passes that give you access to the Borghese Gallery
The visit to the Borghese Gallery is included in the Roma Pass, which includes a flat rate for access to the major attractions. With it, you will save a lot of money on individual museum tickets and a lot of time in queues.
Rome is one of the most touristic capitals and with more points of interest in the world, so if you are going to spend several days in the city and want to visit most of its wonders without perishing in the attempt my suggestion is to not think twice and get a Roma Pass. You can check what it is and how to get it in this other article I wrote about Rome Pass and other passes.
However, remember that even if you have your Roma Pass, to visit the Borghese Gallery you are also required to select a time of visit in advance. For this, you can make your reservation by phone at 0039 06 32 810 or by sending an e-mail to [email protected] (they usually reply within 48 hours).
The Borghese Gallery can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
In addition, the museum is open every day of the year except Mondays and on January 1 and December 25.
Ana's traveler tip
As far as possible, try to avoid the most crowded days to be able to visit the gallery more comfortably; these are usually weekends at midday.
6. How do I get to the Borghese Gallery?
As in most of Rome, to get to the Borghese Gallery you ride the subway or bus, as it is somewhat further away from the central area of Rome where many of the major attractions of the city are located.
The nearest Metro stop is Piazza di Spagna, line A.
To get there by bus there are different options, depending on where your accommodation is or where you are visiting the city at the time of departure to the Gallery:
- Bus 52 (every 15 minutes): V. Tritone, Pza. Barberini, V. Veneto... It will drop you off outside the park, 200 meters from the entrance.
- Bus 53 (every 25 minutes): V. Tritone, Piazza Barberini, V. Veneto... You will get off at the same place as the previous one.
- Bus 95 (every 15 minutes): Bocca Verità, V. Teatro Marcelo, P. Venezia, V. Corso. It leaves you inside the park itself and 10 minutes walk from the gallery.
- Buses 86 and 116 (electric, through narrow streets, every 5-10 minutes): V. Giulia, V. dei Baullari, Corso Rinascimento, V. Zanardelli... You must get off at Porta Pinciana, more than 10 minutes from the park.
Please note that punctuality in accessing the Gallery is mandatory, so if you use public transportation to get there, leave your hotel well in advance in case the chaotic Roman traffic delays your bus more than usual.
7. A little history about the Borghese Gallery
The Borghese Gallery has an extraordinary collection of Italian paintings from the 16th-17th centuries, with works by Titian, Antonello da Messina, Bellini... It houses true gems of painting such as a 'Pietà' by Rubens, the 'Lady with a Unicorn' by Raphael, and the 'Pauline Bonaparte' by Canova.
It rooms dedicated to the master of light and shadow, Caravaggio, with his impressive 'David with the head of Goliath' are such a delight to visit, as it is the case of the rooms housing sculptures from the early period of the brilliant Bernini, such as 'Apollo and Daphne' and the 'David', as well as Roman antiquities with a 'Mosaic with gladiators', from the fourth century AD, and a 'Dancing Satyr' from the fourth century BC.
In addition, it is a really beautiful museum in ornamentation, with two floors that can be toured in two hours (it is the maximum duration allowed for each visit), and with a limit to excessive crowds since only 360 people are allowed inside in each time slot. This always helps when it comes to a tourist attraction such as this.
The gallery is a 17th-century palatial building, the so-called "Casino Nobile" of this Villa, built in 1633 as a residence and exhibition space for the private collection, already famous at that time, of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, patron of Bernini, nephew of Pope Paul V and to whom the gallery and the gardens where it is located owe their name.
The Borghese Gallery is, in fact, one of the first buildings in the world to be built expressly for exhibition purposes, which, compared to other modern art galleries, denotes certain antiquity. This, despite its remodeling in 1775 under the direction of the architect Antonio Asprucci, who relocated the sculptures and antiquities of the museum under a single thematic criterion.
At the end of the 18th century, the building was converted into a public museum. Sometime later, in 1808, and as a result of the impossibility of maintaining the legacy, the family was forced to sell several of the sculptures and antiques to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, brother-in-law of Prince Camillo Borghese. As a result, some of the precious works of art formerly housed in the gallery are now in the Louvre in Paris, such as the remarkable statue of the 'Borghese Gladiator'.
Ana's Traveller Tip
The Villa Borghese park is free to enter and you can enjoy it even if you don't have a ticket for the Galleria. For me, the park is a must-stop on any trip to Rome.
8. What can I see around the Borghese Gallery?
Villa Borghese Gardens
In the vicinity of the Borghese Gallery, there are many other points of interest that you can take the opportunity to visit on the same day of your visit to the museum. If you have already decided to buy your ticket for the Borghese Gallery, you will pass through the magnificent Villa Borghese Gardens, which are worth a separate visit as one of the largest urban parks in Europe and where nature and art come together to create a truly dreamlike setting.
In addition to the gallery, sculptures, ponds, gazebos, and groves, the Zoo of Rome, known as Bioparco, with more than 1,000 animals of 200 different species; the Pincio Water Clock, an example of nineteenth-century engineering that is still in full operation and even a copy of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, the Silvano Toti Globe Theatre. Quite a spectacle for the senses.
Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini
Very close to the area, about a kilometer away, stand two renowned churches. The Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini is one of the most special in Rome for housing a decorated crypt with the bones of more than 4,000 Capuchin friars who died between 1528 and 1870 and built between 1626 and 1631 under the orders of Pope Urban VIII.
Santa Maria della Vittoria is the other basilica of interest in this area which, built in the 17th century to commemorate the victory of Emperor Ferdinand II at the Battle of Monte Bianco. This place will ring a bell especially if you have seen the movie based on Dan Brown's bestseller Angels and Demons, as it serves as the setting for part of the film.
Piazza di Spagna and other unmissable streets and squares
A short distance from there you can visit another of Rome's fundamental sites, the famous Spanish Steps, and its lively staircases which, built in the early eighteenth century to connect the square with the Church of Trinità dei Monti, are always crowded with tourists, street artists, street vendors and Romans themselves.
A little more than a kilometer away, you can enjoy another of the most emblematic squares of the city, the Plaza Barberini, located at the end of Via Veneto and which is particularly striking thanks to the two important fountains by Bernini that decorate it, the Triton and the Bees.
A short distance from the square is Palazzo Barberini, a wonderful Baroque palace that houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art, with more than 1,400 pieces by renowned artists from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries, among which you can find works by Titian, El Greco, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, and Raphael, with his brilliant work 'La Fornarina'.
Guided tours of the best of Rome
If you do not want to miss any of the most incredible streets or squares of the city, I recommend you take a guided tour. The number of alleys, statues, fountains, and works of art that you can find on the street in Rome can go unnoticed if you don't go with an expert to explain them to you. I wrote this guide on Best Rome Tours that can help you choose which guided tour is right for you.
9. If you are interested in the Borghese Gallery you will also be interested in...
Rome itself is an open-air museum, but once you've visited its main attractions, getting out of the Italian capital is also a great way to complete your trip. Surrounding Rome there are wonderful places just a day trip away. In my article on Best Day Trips from Rome I write about the most interesting ones.
If you prefer to continue exploring the capital, do not hesitate to get to know Trastevere in depth, as it is one of the most picturesque and bohemian neighborhoods of the city. I tell you how in this article: Trastevere Tours.