Did you know that you can go on a leisurely boat ride not far from the Spanish Steps in Rome? Villa Borghese is one of famous places in Rome where you could easily spend a day there visiting museums, galleries, walking and relaxing during your private tour of Italy.
One of the largest parks in Rome, Villa Borghese covers almost 148 acres. In the 16th century, there was a sprawling vineyard in its place but in 1605 cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of pope Paul V, decided to create a splendid park instead. Over the centuries new features were added, however, the park remained private until 1903 when the city of Rome, after long negotiations, bought it from the Borghese family and opened the park to the public.
Today the park can be accessed from different sides with main entrances being located at the Piazzale Flaminio (near Piazza del Popolo) and the Porta Pinciana, located at the end of Via Veneto. Dubbed the ‘park of museums’, Villa Borghese is home to a number of museums. The most famous one is the Galleria Borghesethat houses an impressive collection of sculpture, fine art and antiques started by the Borghese family in the 17th century. Here you can admire masterpieces by Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens, Raphael, Bernini and Canova.
The Museo Nazionale Etrusco is located in Villa Giulia, built in the 16th century and used to be a summer residence of Pope Julius III. It displays a beautiful collection of pre-Roman antiquities from the Etruscan and Faliscan civilisations, excavated around Rome and Umbria. Not far from Villa Giulia is the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna with a collection of 19th and 20th century Italian paintings.
Spend some time walking through the park to discover its temples, fountains and statues. There is a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, Cinema dei Piccoli, which is the world’s smallest picture house, ice cream and juice bars. At the end of the 19th century, an artificial lake was created in the park with a small island and Ionic temple. Today you can rent a boat and row under the weeping willows among ducks and swans.
To see as much as possible in one day hop on a rental bike or take a Segway tour of the park.
Photos by: Evelyn Hill, Stephanie Kraus, Sergi Montes.