Galleria Borghese in Rome, exhibitions and photos

Galleria Borghese in Rome: Italy’s most coveted museum

The Borghese Gallery is Rome’s most famous gallery and is the perfect place for art lovers to admire masterpieces in a beautiful setting without the crowds.

The Galleria Borghese represents one of the world’s greatest private collections of art, assembled by Cardinal Borghese in the 17th century. The collection is particularly rich in ancient Roman, Renaissance and Baroque art, featuring major works by Bernini, Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael and Rubens.

  • History of the Borghese Gallery
  • Works of the Galleria Borghese
  • 1. Abduction of Proserpine, Bernini
  • 2. The Sick Bacchus, Caravaggio
  • 3. Apollo and Daphne, Bernini
  • Boy with a Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio
  • 5. David, Bernini
  • 6. Lady with the Unicorn, Raphael.
  • 7. Love of Heaven and Love of Earth, Titian
  • Video about the Galleria Borghese
  • Useful Information
  • Tips for visiting the Borghese Gallery

The gallery itself is very beautiful, here are some photos:

What sets the Borghese Museum apart from the other galleries is that it has a time reservation system that keeps the crowds to a minimum. But you have to keep in mind that you won’t get in without a reservation in advance, and the number of tickets is limited.

You can book your ticket here (27€). Or, you can order a guided private tour of the Galleria Borghese with a Russian speaking guide, complete with tickets (~170 €).

Now let’s move on to the Borghese Gallery itself.

History of the Borghese Gallery

The Borghese family is a noble and famous Italian family from Siena that moved to Rome in the 16th century. Here they only continued to increase their fortune and power. The family was closely associated with the Roman Catholic Church and the papacy: one Borghese became pope (Pope Paul V), others were cardinals, papal lawyers and high-ranking church officials.

Pope Paul V

Other Borghese include Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, naval captains, a cosmetics entrepreneur, and one living Borghese (Prince Lorenzo Borghese) was on season 9 of the American show “The Bachelor.”

Most interesting to our visit, however, is Shipione Borghese, who was a cardinal and avid art collector. It was Cardinal Shipione Borghese who built Villa Borghese and filled it with his ever-growing art collection.

Cardinal Scipione Borghese

Cardinal Borghese was a particularly great admirer of Bernini and Caravaggio, and works by both artists remain an important part of the current collection. Most of the works were donated, bought, or commissioned; some works of art were acquired by less honorable means (stolen, confiscated, etc.).

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By the end of his life, the cardinal had amassed a huge collection of art. He also made sure that everything remained intact after his death. According to the will left to Borghese, the collection could not be divided, it had to be inherited in its entirety.

A commission created just for this purpose was appointed to oversee it. But history has decided that Borghese’s will was not fully executed.

  • Firstly, some exhibits disappeared during the redistribution of the inheritance and were never seen again.
  • Second, the collection thinned considerably during Napoleon’s invasion of Italy. One member of the Borghese family became the husband of Napoleon’s sister and gave his influential relative several hundred masterpieces, which are now in Paris as the Borghese Collection in the Louvre.

In 1902, the museum and the gardens and parks were sold to the Italian government. In 1903 it was opened as the current Galerie Borghese.

Works of the Galleria Borghese

The interior of the house is a work of art in itself with its marble floors, columns, bas-reliefs, frescoes, decorated ceilings, etc., so take a moment to admire the building itself, which is the perfect setting for the artwork.

  • The first floor of the villa features a collection of sculptures;
  • The entire second floor is occupied by an art gallery.

Among the works most famous are:

1. Abduction of Proserpine, Bernini

Abduction of Proserpina, Bernini

This is one of the most famous works by the architect and sculptor Bernini and from the Borghese collection, created in 1621-1622.

Bernini created this sculpture at the age of 23, depicting the tragic abduction of Proserpine by the god of the underworld Hades. The sculpture is about 3 meters high and is made of the unique Carrera marble, which seems to give it a softness.

Influenced by the classical Baroque style, Bernini’s sculpture depicts the body in a very believable way. This can be clearly seen in the subtle details: whether it is Hades’ hands that sink into Proserpine’s soft flesh, the suffering on her face, or his tense muscles as he tries to overpower her.

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2. The Sick Bacchus, Caravaggio

The Sick Bacchus, Caravaggio

Sick Bacchus is an early self-portrait by the artist Caravaggio, which he painted in 1593-1594 at the age of 22. This work was painted by the artist using a mirror.

According to the period he fell ill with malaria and spent 6 months in hospital. This can partly explain his yellowish skin in the self-portrait.

3. Apollo and Daphne, Bernini

Apollo and Daphne, Bernini

Apollo and Daphne is perhaps one of the most beautiful sculptures in the Borghese Gallery. It depicts the tragic story of the god Apollo and the nymph Daphne.

Apollo, struck by Cupid’s arrow, falls in love and chases Daphne, but before he catches up with her, she turns into a tree. Despite its still form, the sculpture wonderfully conveys movement. You can see the gradual transformation of Daphne from human to tree, where Bernini has left some parts of her body normal and others that have already been covered by the bark of the tree.

Boy with a Basket of Fruit by Caravaggio

Boy with a Basket of Fruit, Caravaggio

A Young Man with a Basket of Fruit (c. 1593) is a painting that dates back to the time when Caravaggio, who had recently arrived in Rome from his native Milan, was making his way in the competitive Roman art world.

The model was his friend and companion, the Sicilian painter Mario Minniti, at the age of about 16.

5. David, Bernini

David, Bernini

David is a life-size marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The sculpture was one of many commissions to decorate Bernini’s villa. The work was completed in seven months from 1623 to 1624.

The subject of the work is the biblical David about to throw the stone that will bring down Goliath. You can see the tension of David and all the power he was putting into this blow.

6. Lady with the Unicorn, Raphael.

Lady with a Unicorn, Raphael

The Lady with the Unicorn is a painting by Raphael Santi, a famous Italian painter who created many frescoes in Vatican museums. The work was created in 1505-1506.

The painting was originally painted in oil on a panel and transferred to canvas during conservation work in 1934. It was during these works that the excess painting, with the unicorn behind it, was removed and the wheel, cloak and palm branches added by an unknown artist in the mid-17th century were removed.

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7. Love of Heaven and Love of Earth, Titian

Love of Heaven and Love of Earth, Titian

Love Heavenly and Love Earthly is an oil painting by Titian, painted in 1514, early in his career. The painting probably depicts the figure of a bride dressed in white, seated next to Cupid and accompanied by the goddess Venus.

The title of the painting was first recorded in 1693, when it was entered in the inventory as Amor Divino e Amor Profano, and may not be at all consistent with the original intent.

Video about the Galleria Borghese

The video shows interesting elements of the gallery building and all the major works in the collection:

Useful Information

I have collected all the useful information for tourists who are going to visit the Borghese Gallery in Rome:

Where is it located: at Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 00197 Rome. The Borghese Gallery is located in the Villa Borghese on the Pincio Hill.

How to get to the Galleria Borghese : you can get here on foot, by cab or by public transportation.

  1. The nearest public transport stop is the Pinciana/Museo Borghese bus stop.
  2. The closest metro stop is Spagna; in that case, however, you’ll have to walk a little according to the signs.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9 am to 7 pm, Monday off.

How to book a ticket: it is best to order on the website tiqets. The site is in Russian, you will get an online version of the ticket, which you will need to show at the entrance to the gallery. Keep in mind that you need to be in the designated day and time of the ticket. Or you can order an individual tour of the Galleria Borghese with a Russian speaking guide, together with the tickets.

TIP: Arrive early or leave time after visiting the gallery to see the beautiful Borghese gardens and take in the views from the Pincio Hill.

Can I use the Roma Pass for the Borghese Gallery? Yes, you can use a Roma Pass tourist discount card to get free admission to the gallery. However, in order to visit, Roma Pass holders still need to make a reservation by calling +39 06 32810 or by emailing

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Phone reservations are confirmed immediately, whereas email reservations can take up to 48 hours. Pass holders must arrive 30 minutes in advance to pick up their reservations.

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Tips for visiting the Borghese Gallery

Here are a few reminders and tips to help you make the most of your visit to the Borghese Gallery:

  1. Book your tickets in advance! Remember that tickets must be reserved even if you qualify for a free ticket, are visiting on a free admission day, or have a pass. If you are eligible for a free ticket, you will simply be charged a reservation fee.
  2. If you want to attend a guided tour, it must also be booked in advance.
  3. Remember that visiting temporary exhibits may increase the total cost of the tickets. Photo rules are also subject to change during temporary exhibitions.
  4. Be sure to plan to arrive early. All visitors are asked to arrive 30 minutes before the designated admission time to register and obtain tickets. If you arrive later than your scheduled time, tickets may be oversold and you may be denied admission.

Masterpieces to see at the Galleria Borghese

The Galleria Borghese in Rome is a beautiful collection of paintings by Cardinal Borghese, from which this extraordinary museum comes.

The art and sculpture collection of the Borghese family, displayed in the Villa Borghese building. Its collection is a veritable treasure trove of world art.

On the two floors of the eponymous villa are paintings of recognized masters of the Renaissance (Caravaggio, Fra Bartolomeo, Raphael Santi, Lorenzo) and favorite impressionists (Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh).

Not only is the gallery beautiful, but the villa itself, built in the style of classicism.

History of the Galleria Borghese

The museum was founded in Italy in 1903, but the collection of paintings had its foundation in the seventeenth century. The founder of the Villa Cardinal revered the work of Caravaggio and acquired many of his works. Generations later, the collection has been preserved and multiplied.

At the beginning of the XX century the villa was purchased by the state and numerous museums (apart from the Borghese Gallery) and the Globe Theater were opened on its premises.

Galleria Borghese exhibits

The Borghese Gallery is one of the richest private collections in the entire world. And the collection is very diverse, as it has been collected for more than one generation. Within the walls of the gallery you will find recognized world masterpieces, such as Caravaggio’s “Young Man with a Basket of Fruit” or Santi’s “Lady with a Unicorn”.

The gallery has two floors. The first devoted to sculpture and the second to painting.

From the side of the Spanish Steps you can get there by the sign “VillaBorghese”, metro station “Spagna”.

Even out of season there are a lot of people who want to visit the gallery, it is best to book tickets in advance (a week before the visit). Otherwise, there is a risk of standing in a long line and not buying a ticket.

The time in the gallery is limited – only 2 hours The entrance ticket costs 13 euros For 30 euros you can buy a ticket, which will be valid for several days

By cab, say: Galleria e Museo Borghese [Galleria e Museo Borghese] Official website:

Caravaggio – The Sick Bacchus

Caravaggio – Boy with a Basket of Fruit

Caravaggio – Saint Jerome

Caravaggio – David with the Head of Goliath

Fra Bartolomeo – The Adoration of the Child

Raphael Santi – Lady with a Unicorn

Raphael Santi – The Position in the Coffin

Giulio Romano – Madonna and Child and Young Saint John

Andrea del Sarto – Madonna and Child and Young St. John

Agnolo Bronzino – Saint John the Baptist

Antonio Allegri Correggio – Danaia

Benvenuto Tisi – Madonna and Child with Archangel Michael and Saints

Lorenzo Lotto – Portrait of a Man

Francesco Albani – “The Seasons” series

Gerrit van Honthorst – Concerto

Rubens – Saint Susannah

Domenichino – The Hunt for Diana

Domenichino – The Sibylline of Cumea

Antonello da Messina – Portrait of a Man

Lorenzo Lotto – Madonna and Child between Saints Ignatius of Antioch and Onuphrius

Giovanni Bellini – Madonna and Child

Titian – Love on Earth and Love in Heaven

Paolo Veronese – Sermon of Saint John the Baptist

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini – Apollo and Daphne

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini – Abduction of Proserpine

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