How to visit the Villa Borghese Gardens ?
Villa Borghese is the most popular park in Rome, and once you’ve visited the gardens, you’ll understand why.
The Borghese Gardens are an oasis of green in the busy city. For locals and tourists alike, they’re a chance to escape the madness of the city centre, and appreciate a mixture of nature, art and history.
But the gardens are huge, 80 acres in fact! And because there’s so much to see, we’d recommend planning your day in advance. So if you’re wondering how to visit the Villa Borghese Gardens, here’s everything you need to know.
How to Visit Villa Borghese Gardens: History
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.
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 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
Taxis will also gladly take you to the Villa Borghese, but this is going to be much more expensive, and can sometimes take longer.
5 Points of interest and how to Visit the 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.
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.
You can visit the Borghese Gallery 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
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 9:30am and 5pm, but last admission is at 4pm. 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
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.
How to visit the Villa Borghese Gardens: 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
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 ?
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.
Conclusion on how to visit the Villa Borghese Gardens
Hopefully you now have a better idea of how to visit the Villa Borghese Gardens. Plan your route through the gardens in advance, and if you really want to make the most of it, book a guided tour.