Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese

You can reach Villa Borghese via the Spanish Steps. Villa Borghese is a large landscape garden which is called the "green heart" of Rome because of its shape. It is the third largest public park in Rome after Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada, that was landscaped at the beginning of the XVII century at the times of Scipione Borghese and later in the XIX century was reconstructed into an English-style park. In 1605 Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, laid out a park on the spot of former vineyards decorated with antique statues, part of these statues along with other antique objects were later sold to Napoleon. In 1903 government purchased the park and presented it to the city. Territory of the park houses the following objects: Borghese Gallery, National Etruscan Museum Villa Giulia, National Gallery of Modern Art (collection of Italian paintings of the XIX-XX centuries), the Globe Theatre, house-museum of the sculptor, artist and composer Pietro Canonica, Museum of Carlo Bilotti (Museum of Modern Art) and Bioparco (the zoo).

After Pietro Canonica died in 1959 on the ground floor of the building where he used to live the house-museum was opened while the first floor was occupied by his widow until 1987. After her death dwelling rooms with all the interiors were added to the exposition of the museum. Halls of the museum exhibit sculptural portraits including Italian, English and Greek royal families, portraits of the Romanovs, the Russian royal family, portraits of the representatives of European nobility, equestrian monuments and statues. Library of the museum contains about 2200 volumes. Photographs and family records of Pietro Canonica are kept in the library.

Villa Giulia was constructed in 1550s by Pope Julius III. The design was done by Bartolomeo Ammanati and Giacomo Barozzi Vignola. Villa Giulia is a beautiful example of the summer estate with interesting mosaic ceilings and cosy courtyard. Since 1889 it has been hosting the National Etruscan Museum. The museum has the largest collection of Etruscan objects that are left from the civilization living on the territory of Italy before the antique Roman times. Tourists can see vases, bas-reliefs, homeware, and adornments, sarcophagus, elements of the buildings and chariots, even restored rooms with the frescoes discovered on the territories near Rome.

National Gallery of Modern Art is a wonderful museum where tourists can enjoy the masterpieces by Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and Wassily Kandinsky. At the museum there is a nice arts shop. Museum of Carlo Bilotti occupies the former orangery famous for its fountains that was also known as The House of the Water Games. Collection of the museum includes 23 works presented to Rome by collector Carlo Bilotti in the second half of the XX century. The centre of the museum's exposition is 18 pictures by Italian surrealist Giorgio de Chirico.

The best idea is to spend the whole day at the villa: there are attraction rides for kids, fountains, Segway rental, various cafes, a very nice restaurant Casina Valadier with a beautiful view on the city. From the viewing platform of the park you will be able to see Piazza del Popolo spread before your eyes.

Address: Villa Borghese
Opening hours: park is opened 24h;
House-museum of Pietro Canonica: Oct-May Tue-Sun 10 am – 4 pm; Jun-Sep Tue-Sun 1 pm – 7 pm; 24 and 31 December 10 am – 2 pm; Mon, 25 Dec, 1 Jan, 1 May closed
Museum of Carlo Bilotti: Jun-Sep Tue-Fri 1 pm – 7 pm, Sat-Sun 10 am – 7 pm (enter until 6.30 pm)
other museums: Tue-Sun 8.30 am – 7.30 pm, 25 Dec, 1 Jan closed
Bioparco: 1 Jan – 28 Mar daily 9.30 am – 5 pm; 29 Mar-28 Sep Mon-Fri 9.30-6 pm; Sat, Sun and holidays 9.30 am – 7 pm; 29 Sep-26 Oct daily 9.30 am – 6 pm; 27 Oct-31 Dec daily 9.30 am – 5 pm. Ticket offices are closed one hour before closing hour. Cages with some animals are closed 30-60 minutes before closing of the zoo.
How to reach: metro Spagna, Flaminio
Coordinates: 41.912625, 12.485036