visit borghese gardens

Visit Borghese Gardens: Organize Your Day to Avoid Getting Lost

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Planning to visit Villa Borghese Gardens? Great! You're at the right place.

The Rome Villa Borghese Gardens is more than just a public park. It’s filled with attractions dotted over 80 hectares on Rome’s Pincian Hill.

The most-visited attraction is the Borghese Gallery, but there are many more museums and even cinemas and a zoo within the park’s borders.

With many different paths and even streets crisscrossing the park, it’s easy to get lost when you visit Borghese Gardens. That’s why it’s important to be armed with either a physical or digital map.

Studying your Borghese Gardens map before setting out will also help a great deal to orientate yourself.

Villa Borghese Gardens History

how to visit the villa borghese gardens
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Before setting off on your visit to the Borghese Gardens, you might want to know a little bit about the Villa’s history.

The gardens date back to the 16th century, when they began as a small vineyard, belonging to the Borghese family. As the years went by, the Borghese family acquired more and more land, until eventually they had 80 acres of gardens.

Cardinal Scipione Borghese later decided to commission the building we now know as the Borghese Gallery as his private home. He wanted somewhere impressive enough to stand out, and somewhere large enough to house the Borghese family art collection.

But as well as building his private home, he also transformed the land into beautiful gardens. And to further impress his guests, Scipione Borghese had peacocks and ostriches who roamed the gardens.

What to Expect When You Visit Borghese Gardens?

Villa Borghese is the 3rd largest public park in Rome. There are 9 entrances and hundreds of paths leading to over 90 attractions, big and small. You’ll also find other must-visit places, like the Piazza del Popolo and Spanish Steps close to the border of the Borghese Gardens.

Most people head straight for the Borghese Gallery which is very well signposted. But getting to other Borghese attractions can be confusing. For example, how will you get from the gallery to the Bioparco zoological gardens or the National Gallery of Modern Art? And where are the beautiful garden features such as the Temple of Asclepius and the Piazza di Siena?

The Importance of Planning Your Borghese Gardens Visit

You don’t want to walk from one point of the Borghese Gardens to the other just to realise you missed something close to where you started. You’ll also want to know where you can stop for refreshments or a bathroom break. And what the Villa Borghese Gardens Hours are to make sure you have enough time to fit everything in.

The Villa Borghese Garden paths are well maintained and easy to walk on. There are also maps and signs at strategic points in the park to confirm you’re heading in the right direction. Sometimes they’ll also inspire you to deviate from your pre-planned route.

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Quick Tips to Walk Around Borghese Gardens Without Getting Lost

visit borghese gallery travel tips Tip 1

Do your research before leaving home by studying a Borghese Gardens map online and deciding what you would like to do and see in Borghese Gallery and Gardens.

visit borghese gallery travel tips Tip 2

Print the map to take along. If you prefer a digital map, make sure you can access one on your mobile phone by either downloading or bookmarking one.

visit borghese gallery travel tips Tip 3

If you prefer a physical Borghese Gardens map and don’t have time to print one at home, there maps for sale outside most of the entrances.

visit borghese gallery travel tips Tip 4

Decide where you want to enter and exit the Villa Borghese Gardens on the day of your visit.

visit borghese gallery travel tips Tip 5

Check the Villa Borghese Gardens hours when planning your visit. Generally, the gates open at dawn and close at dusk.

visit borghese gallery travel tips Tip 6

Find a landmark which you can return to when you get lost.

5 Points of Interest and How to Visit the Rome Villa Borghese Gardens

There’s so much to see in the Borghese Gardens, so it’s worth taking a look at the points of interest before you go.

Work out what you want to see so you can plan how long to spend exploring.

Borghese Gallery

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The Borghese Gallery is a top attraction not just in the Borghese Gardens, but in the whole of Rome.

It’s one of the most impressive art galleries in the world, with artworks dating back to Ancient Roman times.

It also holds the world’s largest collection of Bernini works.

Days Hours
Monday Closed
Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday & Friday 9am - 7pm
Wednesday 9am - 10pm
Thursday 9am - 9pm

You can visit this amazing place from 9am to 7pm, any day apart from Mondays. The gallery doesn’t open on Mondays.

You’ll need to book tickets in advance if you want to go inside the gallery, as you’ll need to book a certain slot for entrance.

Villa Borghese Zoo / Bioparco di Roma

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The Bioparco di Roma is a zoo that houses many different species, from big cats, to meerkats, to reptiles, to hippos. It’s a great attraction for the whole family, no matter what age you are!

You can visit the zoo anytime between 9:30 am and 5 pm, but last admission is at 4 pm. You should allow around 2-3 hours if you want to see it all.

Pincio’s Water Clock

This water clock dates back to 1867, but it really is a timeless attraction.

The clock still works, powered by water from the fountain, and stands tall in a corner of the gardens. It’s a peaceful spot, and it can make for some good pictures.

The Globe Theatre

Italy’s version of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre resembles the London theatre almost exactly. You can take a stroll by the theatre and admire it from the outside, or you can throw yourself back in time and watch a Shakespeare play.

Most of the plays will be in Italian, but they occasionally have English showings. You can check what’s on at the Globe Theatre here.

Temple of Asclepius

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The original ancient temple of Asclepius was destroyed a long time ago, but this replica was built in 1786. It sits on the middle of an island on the gardens’ artificial lake.

It’s a picturesque spot to admire and take photos of from afar, or you can rent a row boat and paddle out to the temple.

A Typical Day When You Visit Borghese Gardens

With the diverse points of interest in Villa Borghese Park, there are many possible itineraries for a day in the park. What’s great is that you can customize your visit to suit your needs.

Those who aren’t confident enough to do their own thing, can choose one of the Villa Borghese Tours that appeals most to them. There are bicycle tours, walking tours, Segway tours and even garden picnics. Or you could opt for a tour of the Borghese Gallery including the garden highlights.

Visit Borghese Gardens: a one-hour walking tour

However, if you do want to explore on your own, here is a short  basic route to follow. Simply walking this route will take around one hour. Spending time at attractions or deviating from the route will of course add more time to it.

1st step

  • Start at the Porta Pinciana entrance to the Villa Borghese Gardens. It’s easily reached from the Spanish Steps. This is a busy entrance where you can also rent bicycles.
  • Walk straight until you reach the Cinema dei Piccoli (the smallest of its kind in the world) just a short distance from Porta Pinciana.

2nd step

  • Now turn back to Porta Pinciana and look for the sign showing the way to the Borghese Gallery. It’s almost impossible to get lost on the way there along a wide, well signposted path.
  • From the Borghese Gallery (whether you visited or not), turn left and continue straight until you reach a public road at the Bioparco Zoological Gardens. The Borghese Gallery gardens will be on your right after turning. If you’re not in the mood to walk everywhere, this is also where you can catch the tourist train shuttle or small electric public bus.
  • Walk left along the public road. You’ll soon pass the zoo’s main entrance on your right. Keep going until you find an unpaved path on your left which joins another dirt path taking you back into the Borghese Gardens.

3rd step

  • Look for the tram lines (no 3 and 19) and follow them along the adjacent main path in the direction of the National Gallery of Modern Art (book your ticket online here).
  • Keep your eyes open for the lake with the Temple of Asclepius on the island in the middle. It will be on your left. Veer off the main path anywhere you like to reach the lake. Now is the time to rent a boat and row to the island for a nice break in your walk.

Last step to your Borghese Gardens visit

  • Get onto Via del Lago which goes around the lake and follow it where it branches off toward the Viale Pietro Canonica. Turn right here.
  • Although this path changes names a few times, you can just carry on straight with it until you come out above the Piazza del Popolo. The viewing platform on the piazza is the perfect place to end your walk, even more so when it coincides with sunset. You’ll have great views over Rome’s rooftops from here. Just be careful to keep the Villa Borghese Gardens hours in mind to avoid getting trapped inside for the night.
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How to Visit the Villa Borghese Gardens: Our Top Tips

Book Borghese Gallery Tickets in Advance

The Borghese Gallery is one of the most impressive attractions in the park, but you’ll need to book tickets in advance.

There’s a limit of 360 people allowed in the gallery, and you need to choose an entrance time in advance. So booking beforehand will mean you’ll skip the line and avoid disappointment.

Consider a Guided Tour of the Gardens

The gardens can take a long time to walk around, so if you want to make the most of your day, it’s worth joining a guided tour.

A tour guide will be able to take you to all the best attractions, and fill you in on the history of the gardens too.

Most guided tours of the Villa Borghese will include skip the line entrance to the Borghese Gallery. Book your tour here!

Wear Comfortable Clothes and Shoes

There’s going to be a lot of walking when you visit the Borghese Gardens, so make sure you dress sensibly. Avoid high heels and uncomfortable shoes, as there’s some uneven pathways.

Bring a Picnic

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The Villa Borghese is one of the best picnic destinations in Rome.

If it’s a nice day, bring a picnic, and you can have lunch in the gardens, with buskers playing music in the background. You could also choose to have lunch in one of the cafes around the park.

How to Visit the Villa Borghese Gardens with Kids

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For kids, gardens aren’t always that excited, but there’s plenty to do in the Villa Borghese to keep them entertained.

The zoo is a popular attraction for families with children, as there’s plenty to see. There’s also a play park where they can unleash their energy.

There’s also the Casina di Raffaello which is a play centre for children aged between 3 and 10. Kids can take part in activities and workshops, or browse the children’s library.

Borghese Gardens Map

How to Get to the Parc Borghese?

If you’re traveling from within the city centre, you can take bus 910 from Termini station. Then you’ll just need to get off at the fifth stop: Pinciana/Museo Borghese.

You can view the bus route here.

If you’re worried about finding the right bus and getting off at the right stop, don’t hesitate to ask the driver or other tourists. Rome’s a friendly city, and anyone will gladly help you find out how to visit the Rome Villa Borghese Gardens.

Getting to the Villa Borghese by Metro

There’s no metro station near the gardens, but if you want to mix and match public transport methods, you can take both the bus and metro.

The closest metro station to the Villa Borghese is Barberini station. From there you can take bus 61 and get off at S. Paulo del Brasile.

Traveling by Taxi

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Taxis will also gladly take you to the Villa Borghese, but this is going to be much more expensive, and can sometimes take longer.

Conclusion

No matter what your interests are, you’ll find something that appeals to you when you visit Borghese Gardens.

Armed with a map after doing prior research, there is no reason to get lost in this vast park with its many attractions.

Just remember to make sure about the Villa Borghese Gardens Hours for the time of year you’re visiting.

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