The Villa Borghese Gardens (often referred to as, simply put, Villa Borghese) are, next to other notable green spaces of Rome (such as Villa Ada and Villa Doria Pamphili), the richest and most prized parks in the capital, not to mention the fact they also count as one of the largest gardens here. They stretch on a surface of about 80 hectares and, on top of the naturalistic patrimony, they are also a hub of cultural venues, and of entertainment opportunities, including family-oriented pastimes.

As it looks today, in its general outlines, Villa Borghese Pinciana (the name comes from Pincio, or the Pincian Hill, one of the hills of Rome, but not one of the seven hills of the capital) was laid out no sooner than the beginning of the 19th century. Yet, the history of this park goes back to the early 17th century, when Scipione Borghese, founder of the Borghese Gallery, commissioned the construction of a landscaped garden for his Villa Borghese Pinciana (the villa which is home to the above mentioned Borghese Gallery), used back then as residence and venue for social occasions and events. The garden was meant to replace a former vineyard that, at its turn, as historians maintain, grew on the site of the legendary Gardens of Lucullus (Horti Lucullani).

The gardens became a public park in the late 19th century. Since then, their naturalistic patrimony, as well as the entertainment infrastructure, has increased dramatically, of course, to the delight of all people who come and visit the park looking for a green refuge as an alternative to the agitated city, to visit the art galleries in the garden or to spend time with their families or friends enjoying the cultural programs of the venues hosted by the garden. Roller-skating, skateboarding, cycling or, why not, taking the tour of the gardens with the park train are further options, in case resting on the grass or having a casual conversation with the friends seems less entertaining for the tastes of a dynamic holidaymaker.

Thus, the highlights of the Villa Borghese Gardens refer to the splendid Borghese Gallery, a repository of some of Bernini’s most valuable works (a collection gathered by Scipione Borghese, patron of the brilliant Baroque architect and sculptor), to the Globe Theater (a close reproduction of Shakespeare’s foundation), to the so-called Casa del Cinema, and to the rich Bioparco di Roma. The Pincian Gardens (which are located at the western extremity of the wider Villa Borghese Garden, outstanding by their alleys dotted with busts of famed Italians) can also be taken into account as sightseeing opportunities, next to the nearby National Gallery of Modern Art and the National Etruscan Museum.

Villa Borghese Gardens (Villa Borghese)
Piazza di Siena, Rome, Italy