The Borghese Gallery (Galleria Borghese)

Piazzale Scipione Borghese 5

Tel. +39 06 32810

Official website

Opening hours Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 - 7.

Ticket prices €8.50 (free to EU citizens under 18 / over 60).

One of the most beautiful and famous museums in Rome, the Borghese Gallery contains a superb collection of sculptures and paintings that definitely deserve a visit.

The collection was begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the wealthy nephew of Pope Paul V (1605-1621), and many of the works on view today formed part of the original collection. The Villa itself was built for Cardinal Borghese by Flaminio Ponzio in the first half of the seventeenth century, and is in the middle of the beautiful and ornamental Villa Borghese gardens in Rome.

Things to see

Borghese Gallery the Villa Borghese (photo: Eleanor Murkett)

The collection is made up of works from antiquity, largely Roman, which are found mainly on the ground floor and include many fine statues as well as the famous mosaic depicting gladiatorial combat which dates from the late third century AD. Other floors house the rest of the collection, which dates mostly from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It includes many famous works by (amongst others) Raphael (whose Deposition was added to the collection in 1608), Titian, Rubens, Caravaggio and of course Gian Lorenzo Bernini whose Apollo and Daphne , David and Rape of Proserpine form some of the highlights of the collection.

In 1806, many pieces from the collection were sold by Camillo Borghese to Napoleon, and now form the 'Borghese Collection' in the Louvre. Nevertheless the collection continued to be added to, with more recent additions including the famous Danäe of Correggio, which joined the collection in 1827. The most well-known piece in the museum is possibly the elegant statue of Pauline Bonaparte depicted as Venus Victrix, which was commissioned by her husband Camillo Borghese, and superbly fashioned by Canova in the early nineteenth century.

Visiting the Borghese Gallery

The Gallery can be reached be reached by Metro: get off at Spagna (Linea A) and follow the signs for 'Via Veneto' - or by bus 116 from Via Veneto. Alternatively you can walk through the lovely gardens of the Villa Pinciana to reach the villa, taking in some of the many statues and busts, and the elegant boating lake.

Guided visits are also available for the cost of an additional €5. These begin in English at 9.10 am, and 11:10, and in Italian at 11:10 and 17:10. Tickets are allocated by the hour for timed visits, and it is important that you book beforehand as if you just turn up, you are unlikely to get in immediately. Call 06 32810 to make a reservation (they speak English).