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Best Things to Do in Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese is an expansive and breathtakingly beautiful park located in the heart of Rome, Italy. At the start of the 17th century, Cardinal Scipione Borghese transformed the land into lush gardens and erected a grand villa as its centerpiece. Today, Villa Borghese occupies nearly two hundred acres and is open for the public to enjoy. From majestic fountains and historic monuments to breathtaking artwork and diverse wildlife, this picturesque oasis offers a serene escape from the bustling city center. So, what’s our ranking of the five best things to do in Villa Borghese? Keep reading to find out!

1. Rent a Rowboat Near the Temple of Aesculapius

Opt to rent a rowboat in Villa Borghese for scenic views of the Temple of Aesculapius

Within the sprawling gardens of Villa Borghese, you’ll find an enchanting lake boasting scenic views. At its center, lies the 18th-century Temple of Aesculapius dedicated to the god of medicine. Upon visiting, you’ll be surrounded by abundant greenery and native wildlife—it’s truly a setting fit for a fairytale! Though it’s possible to walk freely around the lake on foot, opting to rent a rowboat to navigate its waters is an unforgettable activity.

To rent one of the famous Villa Borghese rowboats, head to the quaint stand located along the lake’s left shoreline. Here, you can rent a boat for twenty minutes at a time which costs just €5 per adult and €3 per child. After making your payment at the kiosk, wait for your turn to embark and enjoy the idyllic landscape that surrounds you!

2. Tour the Magnificent Borghese Gallery

Bernini’s famed Abduction of Proserpina sculpture located within the Borghese Gallery

Undoubtedly, the crown jewel of Villa Borghese is the magnificent Borghese Gallery, also known as Galleria Borghese. This ornate villa was once a private residence of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, housing his impressive art collection and serving as the venue for the many extravagant parties he hosted. In 1902, the property was sold to the Italian government and the awe-inspiring Borghese Gallery was converted into a museum containing priceless sculptures and paintings by Bernini, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and countless other artistic giants.

Today, the Borghese Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 7 PM. Since a limited number of guests are allowed inside at a time, you will have a two hour window for your visit. Standard tickets cost €13 plus a €2 reservation free, though discounts are available for those under twenty-five years of age. We highly recommend purchasing Borghese Gallery Tickets a few weeks in advance as they tend to sell out quickly.

To make your exploration of the Borghese Gallery even more enjoyable, try opting for a guided tour led by a passionate and knowledgeable tour guide. On our Borghese Gallery Masterpieces Tour, an expert historian will bring each work of art to life with fascinating stories!

3. Explore the Gardens by Foot or Bike to See its Many Fountains and Statues

Strolling past one of the many fountains within the lush gardens of Villa Borghese

You could easily spend hours exploring the many fountains and statues of the Villa Borghese gardens. Exploring on foot is completely free and allows you to become immersed in the nature and history around you. If you wish to cover more ground quickly, however, you can also opt to rent a variety of bikes or go-karts at one of the stands within the park. There are even four-wheeled quadricycles available that can fit the whole family!

Some note-worthy locations in Villa Borghese to add to your sightseeing itinerary include the Water Clock, Fountain of Moses, Temple of Diana and the Belvedere Terrace, but there are many more remarkable monuments awaiting your discovery as well.

4. Visit the Bioparco, the Zoo of Rome

The elephant exhibit at the Bioparco, the zoo of Rome

Another one of the top attractions in Villa Borghese is the Bioparco, the zoo of Rome. Here, you’ll be able to encounter more than two hundred different species of animals including elephants, giraffes, bears, penguins, owls and snakes—but that’s just the beginning. If you’re looking for a fun activity for kids in Rome or are simply an animal lover, the zoo is a wonderful place to spend the day!

Full price tickets to the Bioparco in Rome cost €19, though discounts are available for children and seniors. You can also save a few bucks by booking your tickets at least five days in advance.

5. Enjoy Views of St. Peter’s Basilica and Piazza del Popolo from the Pincio Terrace

The Pincio Terrace in Villa Borghese offers splendid views over Piazza del Popolo and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

The Pincio Terrace may be the last stop on our Villa Borghese Guide, but it will surely take your breath away. This iconic viewpoint offers unparalleled vistas over Piazza del Popolo and the skyline of Rome. You can even see the imposing dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City in the distance!

This lookout spot is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and it’s easy to understand why. It often attracts a variety of captivating street performers as well, adding a sense of excitement to the scene. There really is nothing like absorbing the vibrant atmosphere of Villa Borghese park from the Pincio Terrace!

Discover the Wonders of Rome & Vatican City on Tour with us!

Thanks for reading our guide to the best things to do in Villa Borghese, we hope that you enjoy this gorgeous park as much as we do! If you’re searching for more memorable things to do near Villa Borghese, be sure to check out our beloved guided tours of Rome, our top-rated tours of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica and our exclusive tours of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill!

For any questions or assistance with booking one of our tours, kindly reach out to our team via email at info@whatalifetours.com or by phone at +39 06 89 111 009 and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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