VILLA BORGHESE – EN

Villa borghese

A RIDE IN THE GREEN in THE HEART OF ROME DISCOVERING NATURE, ART AND HISTORY

Rome is not only a city of rare beauty that enchants with its countless monuments, its art and its history, Rome is also an extraordinarily green city. More than 30 km2 of green space are spread across the urban area in large and small parks, gardens and nature reserves, and Villa Borghese is the most central park in Rome. It is right in the heart of the Eternal City and coincidence wants that the entire park is shaped like a heart. During this relaxing tour, which can be done by bike or by foot, we will immerse ourselves into the green of Villa Borghese and follow the example of generations of Romans from Antiquity to the present day with a wonderful mix of nature, art and history. The park is located on Colle Pincio in the heart of Rome and was owned by the Borghese family since the late sixteenth century. But this area was already known by the ancient Romans, who used this territory for luxurious villas and summer gardens to escape from the torrid heat of the city and breathe fresher air. Over the centuries the owners of this hill have changed many times, but never its destination. In fact, today the Park of Villa Borghese is the most central and popular public garden where both Romans and tourists go to relax, play sports and have picnics, or to admire the innumerable historical and artistic beauties of the park. Tour duration: 3h Length of the route: ca. 7km/4.5miles Ascents: ca. 64m/210ft Descents: ca. 117m/213ft Difficulty: easy

Mappa - Villa Borghese_ritagliata

OUR ROUTE

Piazza del Popolo - Peoples' Square
Once, the square located further north of Rome has been for many centuries the gateway for almost all travelers, therefore one of the most important squares from the representative point of view. Rearranged almost entirely at the beginning of the nineteenth century, today it is the most modern square in the historic center, one of the many meeting places for young and old, street artists, and above all, Federico Fellini’s square of the “Dolce Vita”.
Mausoleum of Augustus
The family tomb of the first Roman emperor built at the end of the 1st century BC today is a ruin. Despite having been reused in different ways throughout its history, the typical shape of the Roman mausoleum can still be recognized at first glance.
Piazza di Spagna
This square, which once housed the Spanish embassy for the Papal States, is best known for its staircase, the ‘Spanish Steps’, that connects the square below to the church ‘Trinità dei Monti’ located above the staircase on the Pincian hill. At the foot of the stairs one of the most popular Roman fountains, the so-called “Barcaccia” is located, which was built in the 17th century by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Today, both square and stairs are among the most popular meeting places in the city, where friends meet, but also many encounters with tourists from all over the world take place. This is mainly thanks to the steps of the stairs from where you can not only enjoy a wonderful view, but until recently you could sit down for a short break and often spend the entire evening.
Trinità dei Monti
One of the five francophone churches in Rome, Trinità dei Monti was built in the sixteenth century in Gothic and Renaissance style. Today it is famous above all for its position directly above the homonymous staircase that connects it with the Spanish Square. On the square in front of the church is the Sallustian Obelisk, one of the thirteen ancient obelisks in Rome is located.
Villa Medici
On the territory where in the Roman era there were sumptuous gardens, the Horti Luculliani, today Villa Medici is located. It is a splendid Renaissance villa that belonged first to the Medici family and then was used as the embassy of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It was later purchased by France and has been home to the French Academy in Rome since 1800.
Belvedere and Casina Valadier
The highest point of the Pincian Hill is also a beautiful panoramic terrace. Located in the direct vicinity of the historic center of Rome, from here you can enjoy a magnificent view directly over the roofs and terraces, domes and bell towers. On the terrace a small nineteenth-century villa, Casina Valadier is located, which was built in neoclassical style by the architect Giuseppe Valadier. For several decades it was a meeting place for social and artistic life also thanks to the splendid view that can be enjoyed from its terrace.
Arch of Septimius Severus
This neoclassical arch was built in the 19th century based on the ancient Roman triumphal arches, and the arch of Titus on the Roman Forum was used as a model. However, it owes its name to the statue of the Roman emperor Septimius Severus which is placed on top of the arch.
Pond and Temple of Aesculapius
In the middle of the park there is a small lake with an artificial island on which the Temple of Aesculapius is located. This temple was built in the late 18th century in neoclassical style to house an ancient Roman statue of the god of medicine, which was found during excavation work little time earlier.
Temple of Diana
A small round temple built in the late eighteenth century in neoclassical style to house a statue of Diana, the goddess of hunting. It was a Roman copy of a Greek statue. The statue is now located in the Louvre Museum, but you can still admire the beautiful temple.
Porta Pinciana and Aurelian Walls
Porta Pinciana is one of the access gates of the second Roman city wall, the Aurelian Walls, and was built in the 5th century. Although over the centuries there have been some restorations, it is one of the few Roman gates with an almost original appearance.
Hippocampus-Fountain
Among the many fountains that adorn the park of Villa Borghese there is the ” Fontana dei Cavalli Marini “, a circular basin fountain of the late eighteenth century, which shows four sea horses.
Villa Borghese (exterior)
The Casino Nobile of Villa Borghese was built starting from the seventeenth century taking example of other roman villas such as Villa Medici and Villa Farnesina and was adorned with countless bas-reliefs and ancient busts. The main purpose of the Villa was to house the family’s private collection . Above all, Cardinal Scipione Borghese was an exceptional collector who bought and stole precious paintings and sculptures. At the beginning of the twentieth century the Borghese family was forced to sell both the park and the villa and its collection to the Italian state which transformed the villa into a museum. Thanks to its refined collection, Galleria Borghese today is among the best art museums in Italy and in the world and houses a significant number of pieces by magnificent artists such as Caravaggio, Bernini, Raffello, Tiziano and many others.
Secret Gardens
The Secret Gardens are small gardens within the Villa Borghese park and were thought for the exclusive use of the Borghese Princes. These gardens date back to the seventeenth century and were used for a collection of rare and exotic plants.
Birdhouse Pavilion
Small seventeenth-century pavilion richly decorated with frescoes, stuccos and reliefs that housed the collection of rare and often exotic birds of the Borghese Family.
Meridiana
Pavilion similar to the birdhouse pavilion containing a sundial.
Fallow deer Park
The Parco dei Daini takes its name from the fallow deer and gazelles that until the nineteenth century lived in the garden that was the private reserve of the Borghese Family. Herms made by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini served as delimitations of the avenues. Some of them can still be admired today.
Biopark (external)
Inside the park of Villa Borghese the Rome Zoo, recently transformed into Bioparco is located. It is the first Italian Zoo whose origins date back to the early twentieth century. Today it houses more than 200 different animal species.
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
This fake ruin was built in the late eighteenth century and presents a mixture of modern and ancient elements found mainly on the Roman Forum. At the center of the temple the ancient statue of Faustina, wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman empress is located.
Fortezzuola - Museo Pietro Canonica
This building at first glance might seem a small fortress because of its medieval-style fortress walls. In reality it was the so-called “Gallinaro” where birds were bred from the seventeenth century on. In particular, they were ostriches, peacocks and ducks that were used for the hunting events of the Borghese family. When the park became public in the twentieth century, this building was used for a short period of time as an administrative office and then donated to the sculptor Pietro Canonica, who used it as a home – studio. Today it has been transformed into a museum, where you can admire both the artist’s works and visit the rooms where he lived.
Piazza di Siena
Piazza di Siena is a large area in the center of the Villa Borghese park and owes its name to the city of Siena from where the Borghese family originated. The family wanted to have a place where – as in Siena – sporting events and popular festivals could be held. Today this vast area is used for various public events such as open-air concerts, but is known above all for the annual horse show.
Water Clock
This 19th century hydrochronometer was originally built for the world exhibition in Paris, and later on placed on the Pincian Hill above an islet of a tiny pond.
Obelisk of the Pincio
The Obelisk of the Pincio or Obelisk of Antinous is one of the thirteen ancient obelisks of Rome and was built in Egypt under the reign and at the behest of the emperor Hadrian in the second century and dedicated to his lover Antinous.
Terrace of the Pincio
The Terrazza del Pincio is the most popular of Rome’s many panoramic terraces. It was built in the nineteenth century by the architect Giuseppe Valadier during the rearrangement of the Piazza del Popolo situated at the foot of Pincian Hill. For its position surrounded by greenery and its splendid direct view of Rome and the dome of Saint Peters, it is much loved by Romans and tourists, photographers and couples who can enjoy splendid sunsets from the benches on the terrace.

MEETING POINT

WHAT DO WE OFFER?

Historical Monuments

During the tour we will stop in proximity to the monuments listed on the route, giving visitors the opportunity to observe the innumerable peculiarities more closely, and offering the possibility to photograph the monument itself from the most characteristic points.

Easy to reach

We start at Piazza del Popolo, 100 meters from the Flaminio station of the Metro A and 800 meters from the Spagna station of the Metro A. The tour finishes at Piazza del Popolo, 100 meters from the Flaminio station of the Metro A and 800 meters from the Spagna station of the Metro A.

Guided Tour

You will be accompanied throughout the tour by one of our guides who will tell you the history and curiosities of the monument at every stop. Being very small groups you will also have the opportunity to ask your more or less specific questions, or even just a simple personal curiosity, after all Rome has multiple curiosities that it would be a shame not to ask ...

Equipment

For this tour we provide visitors with a bicycle, helmet, a bottle of water and, upon request, a child seat.

PRICING CHART

Choose in which way you want to do your Villa Borghese Tour and book it here.

Villa Borghese by Bike
2 Persons +
€30/Person
  • Bicycle + Helmet
  • Guided Tour
  • Water Bottle
Villa Borghese by Bike Private
2 Persons +
€45/Person
  • Bicycle + Helmet
  • Personal Guide
  • Water Bottle
Villa Borghese Walking Tour
2 Persons +
€25/Person
  • Guided Tour
Villa Borghese Walking Tour Private
2 Persons+
€40/Person
  • Personal Guide

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