Buy skip-the-line tickets online to visit the Borghese Gallery in Rome’s Villa Borghese Park and book the cheapest tours well in advance for time-slot admissions to see the wonderful art including many sculptures by Bernini and paintings by Caravaggio.
The Borghese Gallery is one of the top sights to see when visiting Rome. The art on display is of the best quality and the small, almost intimate villa, is much easier to enjoy than the vast packed exhibition halls of the Vatican Museums. Admissions are limited with time-slot reservation tickets essential to secure admission to the villa. Highlights include the largest single collection of Caravaggio paintings in the world, several Bernini sculptures, Canova’s Pauline Borghese as Venus, and paintings by top artists such as Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Domenichino, Rubens, and Cranach. Buy tickets or book tours well in advance to secure the cheapest deals for the Borghese Gallery.
Art Highlights in the Borghese Gallery in Rome
The Borghese Gallery (Museo e Galleria Borghese) is in the early 17th-century summer house of Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the Villa Borghese Park. The cardinal was not a very religious man but had exquisite taste in art with a keen eye for the best works of both antiquities and contemporary art, which in this period included Bernini and Caravaggio.
Much of the Counter-Reformation, early Baroque art and exuberant decorations of the villa are secular in nature, some even slightly erotic but without the full-frontal nudity of the Florentine Renaissance. Even when religious works were acquired, the aesthetics probably appealed more to the cardinal than the biblical message.
- Gian Lorenzo Bernini — several Bernini sculptures including David; Apollo and Daphne; The Rape of Proserpina; Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius; and Truth Unveiled by Time.
- Caravaggio — the largest collection of his paintings including Young Sick Bacchus, Boy with Fruit Basket, St Jerome Writing, St John the Baptist, David with the Head of Goliath, and Madonna of Palafrenieri.
- Canova — Paolina Borghese as Venus
- Raphael — The Deposition and Lady with a Unicorn.
- Titian — Sacred and Profane Love and Venus Blindfolding Cupid.
In 1807, Camillo Borghese sold some of the finest works from antiquities under pressure from his brother-in-law, Napoleon Bonaparte, to the Louvre. These are still in the Louvre, including among others the Sleeping Hermaphrodite on a Bernini-carved mattress and the Borghese Gladiator.
Borghese Gallery Tickets and Visitor’s Information
Borghese Gallery Opening Hours
The Borghese Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 19:00.
Admission is strictly by time-slot reservations. For years, visitors were limited to a maximum of two hours in the villa but the system was recently changed. New batches of visitors are allowed to enter every hour with visitors being guided to visit the quieter areas first. Although visitors are recommended to move to different floors after an hour or so, visitors are no longer forced to move on at a set time. The final admissions are at 17:45 and slightly cheaper as all have to exit the villa by 19:00.
The busiest times to visit the Borghese Gallery are usually early morning or late afternoon with Saturday and Tuesday the busiest days. For much of the year, tickets sell out well in advance meaning visitor numbers are fairly constant throughout the day.
The entrance is through the basement — doors under the external flight of stairs. Here, it is sometimes necessary to exchange vouchers for tickets and audioguides may be booked. Free toilets and a small cafe are before the ticket gate so may be used before or after the timed two-hour museum visit period.
It is necessary to check in all bags and umbrellas but no items of clothing are taken — coats must be kept on person in the gallery, even when wet. Photos are usually allowed but sometimes not for temporary exhibitions.
Tickets for the Borghese Gallery in Rome
Time-slot reservation tickets for the Borghese Gallery follow the same infuriating system as so many other top sights in Rome and Italy currently do. Resellers buy up tickets en masse and resell tickets, completely legitimately and above board, at their own prices and conditions. Prices go up with demand or in anticipation of demand.
The cheapest tickets for adults to visit the Borghese Gallery are €18 (€16 ticket, EU citizens 18-25 pay €3, and children under 18 free but add a €2 reservation fee to every ticket). In the lowest of low seasons, it is sometimes possible to secure a ticket in person at the museum for use immediately or later in the day.
The Borghese Gallery’s preferred reseller currently seems to be TicketOne, which actually sells tickets for €18 and official guided tours for €24 (great value and highly recommended). Tickets are usually bookable around two months in advance. If not taking a tour, adding an audioguide is a good option (rent before passing the ticket scanners), as there is very limited information inside the museum.
If TicketOne has no availability on selected days, resellers may still have tickets from their own stock. Legitimate resellers include Tiqets and Get Your Guide but do compare prices in addition to availability — the official guided tour price is usually cheaper than a stand-alone ticket from a reseller. In the high season, getting a ticket from resellers for below €30 is doing well.
Tickets and Tour Options to Visit the Borghese Gallery
Many ticket deals and tours are advertised for the Borghese Gallery but there are really just three versions:
Tickets — all tickets are time-slot admission tickets, so be at the museum at the given time and follow the procedure on the reservation. (Scan at the gate, or pick up a paper ticket.) Tickets may be advertised as skip-the-line, VIP, priority entrance, etc. but all work exactly the same once at the gallery entrance.
Hosted Tickets / Escorted Entrance — travelers meet the representative of the reseller outside the villa to receive the ticket and may be pointed in the right direction once inside (but the process is hardly complicated).
Tours — the official guided tours are good value and an audioguide is a good option (rent before passing the ticket scanners), as there is very limited information inside the museum. Many further tours are available.
A variety of guided tours are offered to see the art in the Borghese Gallery — note that tours should be of the Borghese Gallery (Galleria) and not of the Villa Borghese, which refers to the large free park that surrounds the art museum. Availability is probably the biggest deciding factor between the tours on offer — all are around an hour inside the museum with free time to explore more at the end. Small groups and private tours are more pleasant but usually more pricey too.
Some tours also add sightseeing in the Villa Borghese park garden such as a golf cart ride or rent a self-driving golf cart. Combination tickets with other sights in Rome often give small discounts if booked at the same time — transportation is usually not included and sights may be visited on different days.
Transportation to the Borghese Gallery in Rome
Getting to the Borghese Gallery is slightly more complicated than the average museum visit in Rome. The Borghese Gallery, Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 00197 Rome, is in the northeastern corner of the vast Villa Borghese park. If taking a taxi, be sure to ask for the Museo e Galleria Borghese and not Villa Borghese, or the taxi may legitimately drop you off very far from the gallery. Even when taking a taxi, it is still a few minutes walk through the park to the museum itself.
From Barberini, Spagna, or Flaminio metro stops, it is a pleasant walk in good weather — allow at least half an hour to reach the museum and to go through the entrance procedures. Several public and hop-on-hop-off buses also stop at the edge of the park near the gallery.
Visit the Borghese Gallery in Rome
The Borghese Gallery in the Villa Borghese Park is one of the finest art museums to visit in Rome. Opening hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 19:00 with admission hourly. (The previous maximum stay of only two hours is not currently enforced.) Time-slot reservation tickets are essential and best booked well in advance.
- Visit the Villa Borghese Gallery in Rome: Buy the Cheapest Tickets and Tours for details and how to secure the best deals.
- Top Art Highlights in the Borghese Gallery — including six Caravaggio paintings
- See Top Bernini Sculptures in the Borghese Gallery — sculpture masterpieces and three rare paintings.
- More photos of the Borghese Gallery on Flickr.
- Buy the cheapest tickets at TicketOne or check Tiqets and Get Your Guide for more availability and tours.