Highlights of this tour

  • A visit to what is considered to be the ‘queen’ of all private collections: Caravaggio, Titian, Bernini
  • A historical walk in the garden


GALLERIA BORGHESE – The Borghese were a wealthy bankers’ family originally from Siena. They possessed a ‘vineyard’ in Rome, where they moved in the mid 16th century.

In 1605 Camillo Borhgese was elected Pope with the name of Paul V. The Pope adopted his sister’s son, Scipione Caffarelli, who at just 29 became Cardinal with the name of Scipione Borghese.

While the family acquired enormous wealth, Cardinal Scipione, supported by the Pope his uncle, started to transform the family vineyard into the most extensive gardens built in Rome since Antiquity.

The Villa itself was built by architect Flaminio Ponzio, supported by sketches from Scipione himself.

The villa, then at the edge of Rome, was conceived as a suburban retreat for relaxation, a party space far from the central palaces of power.

Although he was not an intellectual and only possessed a mediocre cultural background, Scipione Borghese had an excellent eye.  He was an early estimator and patron of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and avidly collected the works of Caravaggio.

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Your guide will tell you about the ruthless methods adopted by the Cardinal nephew to

obtain the artworks he coveted for his collection, that included theft and extortion!

The result was a priceless collection of over 350 sculptures and paintings, that was defined by the experts as the ‘Queen’ of private collections.

Inside Galleria Borghese we will admire some the most famous sculptures by Bernini, such as the Apollo and Daphne, one of the early masterpieces of the great artist, that immediately enjoyed an enormous success.

Young Bernini played a fundamental role in the decoration of the Villa, as he was called to create his sculptural groups to implement the Cardinal’s collection of ancient statues.

You will learn more about the complex relationship between the Cardinal and Caravaggio: how Borghese obtained the Sick Bacchus and the Boy with a Fruit Basket and how the Cardinal nephew was involved in Caravaggio’s tumultuous (and criminal) life.

We will see some of the absolute masterpieces such as Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love, the Danae by Correggio, the Deposition by Raphael, works by Rubens, Cranach and others.

Dulcis in fundo we’ll enjoy one of the most famous statues of the Borghese Gallery, Paolina Borghese Bonaparte by Antonio Canova. You will learn about this famous nude and its vicissitudes through the decades.

In the XVIII Cent. the Villa went through a general transformation following a flamboyant Neoclassical style.

At the end of the tour we shall take a walk in the park, a landscape garden in the English taste, featuring ’false’ ruins, exquisite fountains, two ‘secret spaces’ nad famous maritime pines.

The splendid view of Rome from the Pincian Terrace will complete our Galleria Borghese tour.

Cost of this tour

  • This tour lasts three hours and costs 330 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.
  • For larger parties send us an email
  • Admission fees: 18 euros (including prebooking)
  • We will book for you but we need to know at least 15 days in advance.
  • The Borghese Gallery is closed on Mondays