The Borghese Gallery, or Galleria Borghese, is one of the top museums in Rome. The museum is housed in the gorgeous Villa Borghese mansion in the Borghese Gardens on the Pincio Hill and contains masterful marble sculptures by Bernini among other treasures.
Arts patron Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who was the nephew of Pope Paul V, commissioned the building of the Villa Borghese and its lush surrounding gardens from 1613-1616.
Borghese used the villa as a home for entertaining as well as a place to display his growing art collection. The Cardinal collected antiquities and was among the first patrons of Baroque sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini.
The Bernini sculptures that are in the Museo Borghese collection are some of his best works. They include "Apollo and Daphne," a stunning piece that conveys movement in marble, and "The Rape of Proserpina," an equally stunning composition in which Bernini managed to make marble appear as supple as skin. Bernini also sculpted a "David," the face of which was modeled on his own.
Other works of art in the Museo Borghese include a reclining statue of Paolina Borghese by Antonio Canova; the "Sleeping Hermaphrodite," a Roman bronze from 150 BC, and Roman mosaics from the 4th century. On the upper floor, which is often referred to by the name Galleria Borghese (the Borghese Gallery), visitors will find paintings by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, and other notable names from the Renaissance.
The painting gallery also contains a couple of self-portraits by Bernini.
Location: Villa Borghese, Piazzale Scipione Borghese, 5 in the Borghese Gardens
Admission: €11 (as of 2016), reservations are mandatory, buy Borghese Gallery tickets from Select Italy or use ticket link above. Tickets are for a specific time and visitors may only stay inside the gallery for 2 hours, beginning at the time printed on the ticket.
If you have a Roma Pass, you still need to reserve your entry time. For a great private guided tour, book the Borghese Gallery Tour from The Roman Guy.
Information: Check the Borghese Gallery Web Site for updated hours, prices, and buying tickets.
This article has been edited and updated by Martha Bakerjian.