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Join us on a tour through two millennia of art as we explore the lives and works of some of the greatest artists to have ever lived, in the stunning Villa Borghese's Gallery in Rome. You’ll not only see intriguing ancient sculptures such as the 1st century BC Hermaphrodite, but also masterpieces of the Renaissance and the Baroque, getting an unrivalled overview of art history, from Ancient Rome to the 18th century. Our in-depth visit of the Borghese Gallery offers you fascinating insight into the lives and art of visionaries such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini and Titian.
The access the Borghese Gallery can be complicated, as it's necessary to buy all the tickets in advance, and there are strict time slots. A guided tour guarantees a relaxing and enjoyable experience of Villa Borghese, as we take care of the planning, buying "skip the line" tickets to ensure that you make the most of your time.
The beautiful Villa Borghese and the peerless collection of paintings and sculptures are the results of one man’s obsession. The cardinal Scipione Borghese was one of the most colourful personalities of the 17th century, a patron of Bernini and collector of Caravaggio whose unconventional lifestyle scandalised Rome. With your expert guide, you’ll learn about the life of this remarkable man. Walking through the opulent rooms of the gallery, you’ll discover how his ruthless nature, combined with an unerring eye for artistic virtuosity, led to the creation of one of the most extraordinary private art collections in the world. Scipione’s passion for art knew no bounds. As you explore the Borghese Gallery, you will discover that he would even imprison artists in order to confiscate their work, and he had Raphael's famous Deposition forcibly removed from its altar in Perugia and displayed in his own villa.
His irrepressible spirit is reflected in his imposing marble portrait, the work of the Baroque genius Bernini. You will come face to face with Scipione and learn about the complex web of power and religion in Baroque Rome.
Despite his controversial methods and flagrant disrespect for authority, Caravaggio was feted by the most powerful men in Rome during the first decade of the 17th century. Collectors like Scipione Borghese recognised the revolutionary potential of his art, and spared no expense in securing his works. The paintings that we will admire chart the artist's dramatic rise and fall in fortunes, from early successes like the disarmingly guileless Boy with a Basket of Fruit to mature masterpieces such as his brilliantly moody portrait of St. Jerome. Caravaggio's sudden fall from grace and subsequent humiliating exile is expressed with startling power in the gruesome David with the head of Goliath, where the blank, staring features of the stricken giant are revealed as those of the artist himself, literally cut off from the life of fame and fortune that tragically eluded him. The intense drama and disturbing realism of paintings such as this would change the face of art forever. To learn more about Caravaggio, we recommend our Caravaggio in Rome Tour.
Caravaggio was not the only artistic pioneer whose career owed much to the cardinal's foresight. Gianlorenzo Bernini would become the most famous sculptor of his generation and one of the most influential artists in history, but it was at Scipione's palatial suburban villa that he first found fame. Your guide will explain how Bernini's unique interpretation of ancient mythology and his revolutionary conception of three-dimensional space ushered in a completely new language of art, where the boundary between fiction and reality became fundamentally blurred. Bernini's theatrical sculptural fictions launched the golden age of the Baroque, nowhere more clearly in evidence than in the Apollo and Daphne he created for the Borghese Palace. Daphne, pursued by the ancient god of music, is caught in a moment of perpetually arrested transformation - no longer the beautiful woman she was but not yet the inert tree she would become, Bernini has managed to capture this fleeting moment of metamorphosis for all eternity, and you will be moved by the unforgettable experience of seeing this statue up close. You will discover other famous masterpieces including The Rape of Proserpina, David, and Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius, all of which are part of this fantastic art collection of Rome.
Our walk through the Borghese Gallery is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the art and culture of Rome with a top-rated local guide. All our guides are deeply knowledgeable and passionate about art, and at the end of your itinerary you will walk out into the beautiful gardens of the Villa Borghese with an enriched appreciation and understanding of the art collection.
Read more on our blog: Cardinal and Connoisseur: Five Highlights of the Borghese Gallery
Near the entrance to the Borghese Gallery. You will receive full details with map and photo on booking
This is a walking tour through a medium-sized gallery of Rome with some staircases.
Oct 24, 2018
Jun 25, 2018
Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for Rome's inspiring cultural heritage. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!