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The Temple of Aesculapius is surely the most beautiful place in the Villa Borghese.

After several days of visiting the ancient ruins and the Vatican, we wanted to spend some quiet time in a green place. The Gardens of the Villa Borghese were perfect to fulfill this desire.

Find out all the information you need to know about visiting the Borghese Gardens, as well as a short account of our experience.

What are the Gardens of the Villa Borghese?

The Villa Borghese is a large park in Rome of 80 hectares.

Within it, the most famous activity is to visit the Borghese Gallery, an art museum created by the Borghese family and now open to the public.

But the charm of this park is also a walk in its large gardens. The Villa and its gardens date back to the 17th century. The architect who designed the initial gardens, following the directives of Cardinal Scipio Borghese, was Flaminio Ponzio.

However, the gardens that can be seen today were modified in a so-called British style in the 19th century.


Where are the Borghese Gardens?

The Villa Borghese is located in Piazzale Napoleone I in Rome. It is about 2 miles north of the Colosseum.

Is there an entrance fee to the Villa Borghese Gardens?

The entrance to the Borghese Gardens is free. It is a public municipal park. You are free to wander around the gardens.

borghese fountain
The Fontana dei Cavalli Marini, with its mythological horses in marble.

The only paid activities in the park are the visits to the Gallery, other museums, the Bioparco or rides on the little train through the alleys or a boat in the pond.

A guided bike tour of the park is possible. It can be interesting to learn as much as possible about the most famous garden in Rome.

What are the opening hours of the Borghese Gardens?

The gardens are open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The mornings and the end of the day are the quietest times.

What can I do and see in the Gardens of Villa Borghese?

For free or for a few euros, there is a wide range of activities to do in the Borghese Gardens.

Villa Borghese Entrances

Let’s start at the beginning: the entrances to the Park. You are in Rome. The entrance to such a park deserves more than a classic gate.

We arrived via the Porta Pinciana, a gate that was part of the Aurelian Wall built in 403, and located in Via Vittorio Veneto.

borghese entrance
We arrived in a street near the Porta Pinciana.

The other main entrance is next to Piazza del Popolo. We used it to leave the park. From the gardens, you have a majestic view of this square.

A walk in the gardens

Why look complicated when you can do simple? With Amelie, our number one goal was to walk in a quiet park. We were not disappointed. For two hours, we simply walked. In a big city, having such a peaceful place is relaxing.

In the tempio di antonino e faustinayou have the ruins of the Tempio di Antonino e Faustina.
In the park you have the ruins of the Tempio di Antonino e Faustina.

Romans also practice sports in the park (cycling, jogging) or walk their dogs.

Romans also practice sports in the park (cycling, jogging) or walk their dogs.

The many benches also allow you to sit down and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet (except when the rose sellers try to scam you…).

borghese paths
Treed, the park is pleasant.

A stop in front of the street artists

Despite an early Sunday morning visit, we passed several street performers. A lyric singer and a musician with a guitar were next to the pond. Their songs, alternating with melancholy and sweetness, lent themselves perfectly to the place.

The discovery of the hydraulic clock

The hydraulic clock is near the terrace of Pincio. This clock was made in 1867 and was exhibited during the Paris World Fair of the same year.

A boat ride at the foot of the Temple of Aesculapius

The Temple of Aesculapius is probably the most photographed monument among those in the Borghese Gardens. This small temple was built at the end of the 18th century and is dedicated to the Greco-Roman god of medicine Asclepius.

The Temple of Aesculapius
The Temple of Aesculapius is surely the most beautiful place in the Villa Borghese.

It is surrounded by a small pond. We walked around this small pond. You can get even closer to the temple by renting a boat and sailing on the pond. It is relatively small, so don’t expect 3 hours of boating in the calm, but it is still a good experience.

A walk between the Pincio busts

I’m not sure if the Pincio is part of the Villa Borghese or if it’s just stuck together. I searched in vain for the information on the internet. In any case, we visited it like the gardens.

borghese sculpture
There are many busts to discover, but without being an ace of Italian history, you will know very few names.

In this space, you will see dozens of busts of famous people: Pietro Cavallini, Gugliemo Oberdan, Galileo Galilei, Cristoforo Colombo, Benvenuto Cellini…

Visit the Bioparco

The Bioparco di Roma is not close to the Terrazza del Pincio. This zoo covers 17 hectares and houses more than 1000 animals. We did not visit it, judging that a zoo is not the most interesting activity to do during a short stay in Rome.

The Bioparco reviews remain positive as they are currently above 4/5 on Google.

If you are interested, don’t hesitate to book your Bioparco tickets in advance.

Visit the Carlo Bilotti Museum

This small museum is close to the Temple of Aesculapius. It is a museum of contemporary art. Closed at the time of our visit, we only saw its exterior.

If you are an art lover, plan a visit after or before the Borghese Gallery.

Visit the Pietro Canonica museum

Yet another museum! This one is dedicated to the work of Pietro Canonica, an Italian sculptor who died in 1959. The exhibition includes more recent works than the Gallery.

A play at the Globe Theater

The Borghese Gardens are home to the Gigi Proietti Globe Theatre. It is a reproduction of the London theater called the “Globe Theater”. All made of wood, the structure is magnificent. It has nothing to do with the usual theaters. Seeing a play performed in this building must be a beautiful experience.

The little train ride in the park

This activity, offered for a few euros, is appreciated by young and old alike. You take a seat in a small train that travels through the wide alleys of the Borghese Gardens. Without any effort, you can see the main points of interest.

Beautiful photos from the Terrazza del Pincio

piazza del popolo
Piazza del Popolo shows its most beautiful profile from Villa Borghese.

To the southeast of Villa Borghese, the Terrazza del Pincio is a space where you want to stroll. You have a rare view of the Roman city. Don’t go down the steps to Piazza del Popolo just yet. Observe the surroundings, take pictures and savor the moment.

Visit the Borghese Gallery

As I wrote at the beginning of this article, the Borghese Gallery is the highlight of this park. Opened in 1902, it exhibits the family’s art collection. The Gallery consists of 2 levels and 20 rooms.

You must book your visit in advance. Indeed, the Gallery is regularly full. With a booking, you can spend two hours in the Gallery.


The Villa Borghese can be visited in two ways: quiet walks and observations or cultural visits.

We opted for the first way since we were tired after having done several activities in Rome. But the second way is just as promising. Don’t hesitate to take these tours, which we may do if we ever return to Rome.


As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!