History and nature in the gardens of Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese Roma

Rome has great fortune. It is full of villas and parks where you can escape from traffic and noise and immerse yourself in greenery. Many of these villas are right in the centre, offering wonderful views of the city, ancient statues, fountains, caves, small temples and sometimes museums of great value. One of these, among the unmissable and also most famous in the city, is the seventeenth-century Villa Borghese. The perfect combination of green meadows, shady and restful corners and art rich in history. On foot or by renting a bicycle (or even a rickshaw, why not) considering the large size of the park of over 80 hectares, a walk in Villa Borghese cannot be missed in any Roman itinerary that is truly complete and can only leave you enchanted.

A tour of the museums

Between one green lawn and another in Villa Borghese there are some wonderful museums. First of all the Borghese Gallery housed in the Casino Nobile which contains the private collection started in 1600 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. A wonderful collection that includes some of the most beautiful and exciting works of Gian Lorenzo Bernini such as David, The Rape of Proserpina, Aeneas and Apollo and Daphne but also Paolina Borghese as Venus winner of Canova and some masterpieces by Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael And Guido Reni. If you want to visit the Gallery you should book in time while without notice and for free you can admire the Orangery which has now become Carlo Bilotti Museum which houses works of contemporary art and the Pietro Canonica's home-studio inside the Fortezzuola: here you can enter the artist's apartment and discover his sculptures, his busts, his work tools and even the private rooms in which he lived in a magical atmosphere.

Between a pond and neoclassical temples

Walking through the villa you can find other historic buildings here and there such as the Casino del Graziano, the Casino Giustiniani, the Uccelliera and the Meridiana with its secret gardens up to the romantic Lake garden created in 1786 by Antonio Asprucci and characterized by an artificial islet with the Temple of Aesculapius, in neoclassical style. You can admire it from the benches around the lake while feeding some ducks or turtles that populate the lake or reach it with a short and relaxing boat ride. But there are also other neoclassical temples in the villa. The temple of Antonino and Faustina it was designed by Cristoforo Unterperger and built in 1792 with fragments of ancient architecture from the Roman Forum combined with modern parts to create a fake ruin and has the ancient statue of Faustina behind the façade. The Temple of Diana it is instead an imitation of the Temple of Love of Versailles and was built in 1789 by Antonio Asprucci with a circular shape. Not far from the small temple – near Piazza di Siena – we find the Raphael's house built at the end of the 16th century at the behest of Scipione Borghese but transformed by Asprucci around the end of the 18th century. Once a private house, today it houses a highly organized municipal play library.

The Pincio walk and a coffee at the Valadier house

Continuing to walk through Villa Borghese along the overpass over the Muro Torto you arrive at the Pincio, which is still part of the villa. Here, while walking in the greenery, you can focus on a small curiosity: thewater clock created in 1873 for the Universal Exhibition in Paris and still functioning today. You can then walk between the 228 Renaissance busts of famous Italian personalities including sculptors, philosophers, statesmen, poets, archaeologists, doctors, composers etc., treat yourself to a coffee in the elegant neoclassical Casina Valadier and continue along the shaded avenues up to Piazzale Napoleone from which to admire the famous splendid view over the rooftops of Rome.

From here, if the time has come to reluctantly leave the villa and its peace, you can go down via del Corso, continue to Piazza Augusto Imperatore and come and visit us in our restaurant 'Taste. We are ready to prepare you an excellent lunch based on traditional Roman foods, one good pizza or simply some drink.