The Borghese Gallery, located in the heart-shaped park of Villa Borghese is something that I would recommend to everyone to visit. And this is not only a suggestion for major art and art historian buffs, and here I’ll tell you a bit of why it’s such a great place!
While the Borghese Gallery is small, it’s filled with amazing art….unlike some museums which have lots of stuff (but in reality only a small portion of which is worth looking at). This means it’s easy to tackle, you won’t feel as overwhelmed.
Reservations are required to visit. You can make reservations either via their website or via this phone number: +39.06.32810. Presto Tours offers a 3 hour Borghese Gallery Tour which ends with a stroll through one of the most beautiful parks in Rome, Villa Borghese. Presto will take care of the reservations for you. The gallery allows only a certain number of people in at a time, for 2 hour time slots. Also, keep in mind that pretty much everything will have to be checked in at their coat check (they will give you a clear little bag to carry a few things, such as phones or wallets). This is to avoid anything in the collections being damaged. If you are unable to get a reservation and have no other day to visit, you can go anyways, wait for no-shows and claim those unused spots…typically your best bet in this case is one of the time slots right after lunch-time.
This was actually never built to be lived in, but was actually built as a little place to have parties and to house the collection of Cardinal Scipione Broghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (pope from 1605-1621). He was a passionate art collector, and lucky for him, he had the money (and therefore also power in this case) and knew the right people, in order to secure such works of art.
Among the priceless gems here are some Caravaggios, Raphaels, Titians, Barocci, and Bernini. As a personal note, seeing such works up-close allows a truly intimate experience with the works of art….when you see the frosty coating on the grapes in Caravaggio’s Boy With A Basket Of Fruit or the absolutely real flesh on the sculptures of Bernini, you will understand the supreme skill of the hands that made them!
With kids, this could be a fun place to have a little scavenger hunt type activity, as there’s lots of fun decorations (such as a room with different animals frescoed all over)! Plus there’s the beautiful Villa Borghese park outside, which would be ideal for a little picnic or running around after when the weather permits it.
Besides the permanent collection, there’s also always a temporary exhibition, which are usually pretty amazing. Check out their schedule on their website to know what is there or what will be there during your visi!
See some amazing antiquities too, such as some amazing mosaic floors and the famous Sleeping Hermaphrodite sculpture (which is positioned currently in a way which ruins the ‘surprise’…oh well).