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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. 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.
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.
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 Goliath: here 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 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
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.
Sep 16, 2019
Beatrice Cauuet GYG
May 18, 2019
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!