Borghese Park in Rome

posted in: Italy Travel, TRAVEL | 29


Borghese Park in Rome Photo by Margie Miklas

In a city of almost three million people, I always enjoy finding a place to get away from it all. When I needed a break from the fast pace of sightseeing in Rome, I made my way over to Borghese Park, also known as Villa Borghese, located north of the Spanish Steps. Roughly one-fifth the size of New York City’s Central Park, Borghese Park is a welcome respite for tired feet after a few busy days in Rome. The park has two main entrances, one at Piazza del Popolo and the Porta Pinciana entrance off via Veneto.

Men playing Bocce Ball Photo by Margie Miklas

What was originally a vineyard became the 2nd largest public park in Rome, with the Villa Doria Pamphili in western Rome considered to be the largest. After obtaining the Villa Borghese from the Borghese family in 1903, the city opened the park to the public. The park  offers something for people of all ages, with open green spaces, bocce courts, picnic areas, a zoo, museums, bicycle rentals, a lake with boats, an amphitheatre and a botanical garden.

Borghese Park in Rome - Photo by Margie Miklas

The most well-known museum in the park is Galleria Borghese, or the Borghese Gallery, which is in the original Villa Borghese, after which the park derived its name. Galleria Borghese features works of art from the masters, Raphael, Titian and Rubens as well as sculptures from Bernini and Canova. It is located near the Porta Pinciana entrance.

Rome Borghese Gardens Photo by Margie Miklas

The National Gallery of Modern Art, or Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, has 75 rooms featuring the largest collection from 19th and 20th century Italian artists. It is close to the National Etruscan Museum, or Museo Nazionale Etrusco, which is inside the Villa Giulia, the former summer home for Pope Julius III. One of its main features is a life size reclining bride and groom monument.

Called the Bioparco, the zoo in the northeastern area of Borghese Gardens, is a delight to both children and adults. It is one of the oldest zoos in the world, built in 1911 and has over one thousand animals. It is open daily except Christmas for an entrance fee of 16 euros for adults and 13 euros for children and seniors.

The lake in the park is not only a beautiful serene spot with swans, ducks and geese, but you can also rent boats here. A favorite subject with photographers, the Temple of Esculapius next to the lake allows for great photo opportunities.

Borghese Temple Photo by Margie Miklas

Rentals and Other Fun Activities
Besides renting boats at the lake, you can rent bicycles and Segways as well as take a hot air balloon ride from inside the park. For children, there are playgrounds and a children’s library and also a small touring train which traverses the park. A cinema house featuring predominantly Italian films also is in this park.

Rome is beautiful and there is so much to see, but part of living the sweet life or “la dolce vita” is taking time to relax in one of its few green spaces. Borghese Park is a pleasant alternative to the cobble-stoned streets and uphill roads of the Eternal City.

Have you visited Borghese Gardens? I’d  love to hear your feedback so please leve a comment.


Grazie and Ciao


Have you visited my Facebook page lately?  Check it out for the latest posts and photos about Italy.


29 Responses

  1. dollygoolsby

    Villa Borghese is my favorite art gallery in Rome, for all the Bernini sculptures in that place. I have visited the park many times over the years. On my first trip to Rome in 1997, I took Frank, my significant other, on a boat ride on that little lake. Borghese Gardens is truly a place to catch your breath, and relax, especially after touring the many sights.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Dolly…I have not been inside that gallery yet, so I will have to add it to the list. Thank you so much

  2. pamcarey

    Margie, how did you guess our favorite spot in Rome? After traveling around the continent, we get some R&R on the island of Ischia and then spend a couple of days in Rome before flying home. We stay at the edge of the Villa Borghese, right across the street from the zoo. Some nights we can hear the lions roar! The museums aren’t overwhelming and the park is a quiet oasis. Looking forward to our 19th visit next June!

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you Pam…Not many people have visited this place, so I’m glad to hear you have..It’s such a peaceful respite from the crowded streets and piazzas in Rome. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  3. gregsitaly

    The zoo is amazing. Enjoyed strolling through It and watching the children enjoy the animals. Convenient tram stop nearby. Well worth the trip. Many years ago I dropped my wife off at the park and returned our rental car. Told here I would meet her at the restaurant. Did not know there were several. I did a lot of walking that day.

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks so much Greg…Always happy to hear from someone who visited….Good to know about the tram

  4. Tony

    I visited the park on my last trip and absolutely loved it! So beautiful and peaceful, it was a great way to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature and the views of the city are amazing! 🙂

  5. stellalucentellc

    Marge, love your photo of the garden behind the Galleria Borghese. We visited the galleria the last time my family and I were in Rome, and I have to say it was well worth the trip just to see the statues there. But I didn’t know there was a zoo! And I somehow missed the lake. Now I have ideas for my next visit!

  6. margieinitaly

    Tank you so much, Albert, for sharing this information. I am so glad my post brought back good memories for you and your wife. I will have to find this piazza when I return to Rome. love learning about places and the “behind the scenes” information. Grazie and Buon Natale.

  7. Albert Annunziata

    Buona Sera, Margie!
    My wife Margaret and I visited Borghese Park a few summers ago. Yes, it was hot, crowded but still, a wonderful retreat, very evocative of Central Park, though much smaller. Your post brought back some nice memories of the museums and the charm of the place. One place of interest that caught my eye was “Piazza Enrico Sienkiewicz”. Henry Sienkiewicz
    (pronounced Chien-Kay-Vitch) was a famous Polish author of the 19th Century, known by such works as “Quo Vadis” and a mammoth trilogy of the Polish-Russian wars of the 1600s, “With Fire and Sword”. The Piazza is a lovely little vest-pocket circle of peace at the corner of Via Pinciana and Viale dei Cavalli Marini, on the perimeter edge of Borghese Park. Apparently Sienkiewicz
    lived in Rome for a time, with Borghese Park one his favorite retreats in the city, and an inspiration to him whilst writing QUO VADIS.
    Just a little trivia that I thought you’d like to know.
    Cordiali Saluti. Auguri e’ Buon Natale e’ Buon Anno Nuovo!

  8. Lisa

    Dear Margie,
    I’m going to Rome with my class in october.
    We really, really wanted to do that balloon ride after reading about that online. The only contact info we found doesn’t seem to work anymore. When I searched for it, some web sites even claim that the balloon ride doesn’t even exist anymore – and hasn’t existed for the past few years! Can you remember seeing it in borghese park when you were there?
    And I read your reply to Sandy, but I can’t find the contact info about the officials at Borghese Park either. Would you please tell me how I could contact these officials?

  9. Sandy

    I’m going to Rome in sept. Do u have any contact info about the hot air balloon. I can’t seem to find any online

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you Sandy…Have a great time. September is a beautiful time to be in Italy. I do not have any information on this I am sorry to say. have you considered emailing the officials at Borghese Park?

  10. Greg Speck

    Great post Marge. We were in Rome in 2009, and I dropped my wife off the the park to return the rental car to the airport. I saw a sign for a restaurant and told here I would meet here there in two hours. I proved to be an eventful day. First I drone through the zona limiatato, not seeing any signs and enjoying the view of the Coloseo! Then after getting on the Leonardo DaVinci Express, I finally got back my wife was no where to be found in the restaurant. Seems that there were two places with the same name in the park, after another two hours we found each other. If AT&T had not locked my cell phone out, we would have made connections.

    The folks in Roma made their money for the day, I received a traffic ticket for 100E about a month later!


  11. Cindi

    I been to Rome several times but never visited the Borghese Gardens. Your post just put it on “Must see” list. Thanks Margie!

  12. K Smothers

    We were in Rome in September. It was rather warm and crowded so we made our way to the park for a few hours. It was much cooler and so serene. I learned a few historical details from your post so thanks. Great pics as always.

  13. imarancher

    An amazing number of things to see and do in that park. The estate is lovely and it is good that Rome, although eternal, found a modern way to green space parts of the city.

  14. greeneyewitchygirlbree55

    looks like there is at least 6 months of Italia to see and take in and you did in 3 weeks amazing !!!

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.