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Rome Group Tours

Borghese Gallery Tour: The Idea of Art through the Ages

Explore one of the world’s best art collections in an opulent Baroque villa, including works by Raphael, Bernini and Caravaggio

PRICE FROM

€ 59

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TOUR DETAILS

all inclusive price

PRICE

€ 59

GROUP SIZE

Max 13

DURATION

2,5 hours

OVERVIEW

Of all the great museums that light up the Eternal City, the Borghese Gallery might just be our favourite. Equal parts aristocratic pleasure palace and historic art gallery, the intimate Villa Borghese is a spectacular treasure trove of Renaissance and Baroque art where jaw-dropping masterpieces lurk around every corner. From Bernini to Caravaggio and Raphael to Titian, discover works by some of the greatest artists of all time in the opulent surroundings of a lavish 17th-century villa. Join our Borghese Gallery tour and embark on a journey into the theatrical and spellbinding world of Baroque Rome.

The magnificent Villa Borghese was the brainchild of the unscrupulous and art-obsessed Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the pope’s all-powerful nephew whose lavish tastes shaped Rome in the 1600s. You’ll learn all about the cardinal’s scandalous life on our tour, and how his largesse launched the career of one of the greatest sculptors to have ever picked up a chisel – Gianlorenzo Bernini. Four of the master’s greatest works are here: be enchanted by his Apollo and Daphne, where the protagonists are marvellously immortalised in marble at the moment of Daphne’s metamorphosis into a tree, and shiver with the doomed goddess Proserpina as she is dragged screaming to Hades by the lustful god of the underworld.

And that’s not all. On our tour of the Borghese gallery we’ll also follow in the footsteps of Caravaggio, the greatest and most controversial painter of Baroque Rome as he charted a violent course through the city’s streets. Learning about his revolutionary technique and tumultuous life, we’ll get the fascinating back story behind dramatic works such as his dramatic St. Jerome and sombre David and Goliath - a masterpiece of chiaroscuro modelling. There’s an entire room dedicated to Caravaggio here, and it’s one of the best places in the world to get to grips with his unique and madcap genius.

But the Borghese Gallery isn’t all about the age of the Baroque. Scipione Borghese was an avid collector of Renaissance masterpieces from the past as well, and his unmatched private collection contains works from the brushes of Titian, Correggio, Domenichino and many more. Best of all is Raphael’s famous Deposition, a painting that the unscrupulous Cardinal so coveted that he had it stolen from a church in Perugia and brought to his Villa, where it still hangs in pride of place today. 

For any art enthusiast, a visit to the Borghese is simply a must when in Rome. Explore this incredible collection with one of our expert guides, and discover what motivated the greatest artists of all time to fashion their masterpieces.

 

Discover the unique masterpieces of the Borghese Gallery

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. As well as intriguing ancient sculptures such as the 1st century BC Hermaphrodite, you'll also see masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, giving you an unrivalled overview of art history from Ancient Rome to the 18th century. Our in-depth visit of the Borghese Gallery offers you fascinating insights into the lives and art of visionaries such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Bernini and Titian. 

Access to the Borghese Gallery can be complicated to arrange, as it's necessary to buy all the tickets in advance for strictly enforced time slots. A guided tour instead guarantees you a relaxing and enjoyable experience of the Villa Borghese, as we'll take care of everything - including buying "skip the line" tickets to ensure that you make the most of your time and get the most out of your visit.

Encounter an extravagant Baroque prince with a mania for art

The beautiful Villa Borghese and its peerless collection of paintings and sculptures are the fruits of one man’s obsession. Cardinal Scipione Borghese was one of the most colorful 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 gallery's opulent rooms, you’ll discover how his ruthless nature and 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'll discover that he made a habit of imprisoning artists in order to confiscate their work.  He even had Raphael's famous Deposition forcibly removed from its altar in Perugia and carted to his villa in Rome, where it still hangs in pride of place today.

Borghese's irrepressible spirit is reflected in an imposing marble portrait sculpted by the Baroque genius Bernini located in the gallery. Coming face-to-face with Scipione, you'll learn about the complex web of power and religion that defined Baroque Rome.

Take a walk on the wild side with one of art’s most controversial geniuses

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 fortune, 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 Goliathhere 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.

Marvel at the incredible virtuosity of the Baroque master Gianlorenzo Bernini

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 it's an unforgettable experience to see this statue in the flesh. We'll also encounter other famous masterpieces by the great master including The Rape of Proserpina, David, and Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius, all of which are part of this fantastic Rome art gallery.

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 housed in the fabulous Baroque palace.

Read more on our blog: Cardinal and Connoisseur: Five Highlights of the Borghese Gallery 

  • Maximum group size of 13 people
  • Ticket and reservation fees with preferential access so you don't wait in line.
  • Expert, fluent English-speaking guides who know and love the Borghese collection.
  • Headsets for groups of 6 or more, so you can always hear your guide.

Classic sights included in our itinerary:

  • Bernini's mythological statues, including Apollo and Daphne
  • Paintings by Caravaggio
  • Paintings by Raphael

Overlooked sights included in our itinerary:

  • Titian's Sacred and Profane Love
  • Antonello da Messina's Portrait of a Man
  • Correggio's Danae

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.

PHOTO GALLERY

Our strengths

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!

Expert guides

5 hour
in-depth tours

Skip the Lines

Discovering hidden treasures

Optimising your time

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