The Borghese Gallery
With its rich heritage of accomplished artists and remarkable artwork, Rome obviously has a lot to offer in terms of art. While some of its inventory of artwork is preserved in museums and churches, there are a whole lot weathering in open air piazzas. Within the realm of museums, while some of the crowded and publicized ones like Sistine Chapel holds renowned paintings, other masterclasses are tucked away in lesser known galleries. One of the examples of such underrated galleries, is the Galleria Borghese Gallery.
Suggested Time Spent: 2-3 Hours | Admission: € 15 for Adults | Hours: 9AM – 7PM
Home of the famous and influential Borghese family who settled in Rome in the 16th century, the Villa Borghese was built by Giovanni Vasanzio. The family had close ties to the church, with some of them becoming cardinals and one becoming Pope Paul V. The museum has about 10 rooms of varying sizes containing masterpieces ranging from sculptures, frescoes and paintings. Be sure to look up the ceiling and also look down on the floors for beautiful and intricate mosaic art work. The sculptures and frescoes on the doors are worth hundred words too.
The Statue of Paolina Bonaparte (Napoleon’s sister) as Venus by Canova, and David by Bernini, smaller than the one by Michaelangelo are two of the most famous statues. Apollo and Daphne and Rape of Proserpine by Bernini are two other prominent statues decorating the rooms. Embodied in all of the above are feminine sensuality and masculine gladiatorial poise.
Among the paintings, Sacred and Profane Love by Titian, Madonna dei Palafrenieri by Caravaggio, Deposition by Raphael and David with the head of Goliath by Caravaggio were our favorites. In the large room, the expansive fresco in the ceiling with Angels and peasants embellished by Christ was impressive.
Due to the sheer lack of crowds and the layout, we could get so close to the artwork. Plus the wide variety of masterclasses on display, starting from the imposing statues by Bernini and the darker sides depicted by Caravaggio, are somewhat unparalleled in all the museums in the area.
- Galleria Borghese has a maximum occupancy system that keeps crowds to an optimum level ensuring viewing comfort. So tickets are limited, and a reservation is recommended. We went without one, and had no trouble with crowds, but we heard that it can get busy sometimes. Check the details here.
- It is one of the few museums with detailed descriptions for each room. So self guided tours are possible, albeit will take a bit more time.
- If you do not have a human guide, buy the audio guides at the ticket counter, but not required
- It has a small cafe serving snacks and coffee. Bit pricey but if you are going to take a walk in the large Park Borghese on your way to Piazza del Popolo, suggest filling up the bottles and getting some energy back.