Do you want to visit Villa Borghese Gardens in Rome? In this guide we tell you everything you need to know about visiting the best park in Rome, from where it is and how to get there to the best things to do in Villa Borghese Gardens.
Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you!
What is and Where is Villa Borghese Gardens
Villa Borghese Gardens is a gorgeous and large park in the centre of Rome.
The Gardens are almost 200 acres in size and in my opinion are one of the best places to visit in Rome with babies and toddlers but also great for those people who want to escape some of the busier Rome tourist attractions such as the Colosseum and the Vatican City for instance.
Although the park is expansive there is actually no Metro Station located close to the park although there are several bus routes that have stops very close to the park entrances and depending on what area you are staying in you may be able to walk to the park by foot.
When we were in Rome with our little one we stayed at the Westin Excelsior Rome and found it very easy to walk from the hotel to the park even with a stroller in Rome.
For more information on using a stroller in Italy check out this post.
No cars are allowed with the gardens however there is one large road running through the park which is serviced by buses.
Please note: the parks closed at sunset and no one is permitted to be in the parks overnight.
Are Villa Borghese Gardens Free?
Yes the Villa Borghese Gardens are free to visit and are in our opinion one of the best free things to do in Rome.
How Many Entrances are there to Villa Borghese Gardens
As the park is almost 200 acres in size it should come as no surprise that there are several entrances to get inside the parks.
You can find Villa Borghese PArk entrances at:
- Parco Dei Daini
- Passeggiata del Pincio
- Piazelle Belle Arti
- Porta Pinciana or Spanish Steps entrance
Perhaps the two most popular entrances for tourists are the Porta Pinciana and the Pincio entrance which is close to the Piazza del Popolo.
What is the Best Entrance for Visiting Villa Borghese Gardens
I would say the best entrance for visiting Villa Borghese Gardens really depends on where you are starting from and the main reason you are visiting Villa Borghese Gardens.
If you are close to the gardens I would recommend walking into the gardens and then strolling through the park to your destination. This is our preferred way.
However if you are short on time in your Rome itinerary and need to get to the park quickly or else are not staying near the park I would recommend choosing the entrance closest to the thing you want to do most in the park.
Here we will give you the run down of the entrances that are closest to some of the Villa Borghese Gardens biggest attractions:
Parco Dei Daini
This entrance is best for those who want to visit
- The Zoo
- Borghese Gallery
Please note that both of these attractions are ticketed and have a fee attached to them. Also the Borghese Gallery strictly limits the number of people who can visit the Gallery everyday so it is imperative that you book your tickets early to avoid disappointment. Click here to buy your Borghese Gallery Tickets here.
Piazelle Belle Arti
This entrance is best for those
- traveling to Rome with kids and looking for a playground
- Borghese Pond and Temple
- wanting to find a cafe in the park
If you are wanting the best view of Rome from the Villa Borghese Gardens then this is the entrance that you need to be heading to. Here you will find Pincio Terrace which offers one of the best views of Rome in the whole city from which you can see the Vatican and other famous Roman landscape.
The only issue with this is that there are lots of steep steps to get here. This is not the entrance you want to be heading to do if you have any accessibility issues or are traveling to Rome with a stroller.
You can reach this entrance from the Piazza del Popola.
Another great entrance for families as there is another playground near this entrance.
Best things To do in Villa Borghese Gardens in Rome
Now that you know how to get to the gardens and the entrances near some of the larger tourist attractions in the park we will now turn our attention to the best things to do in the Gardens.
Admire the View from Pincio terrace
There are many stunning Vistas throughout the city of Rome however my favourite viewpoint in the city is from the Pincio Terrace inside the Villa Borghese Gardens.
This viewpoint takes in some of Rome’s most famous landmarks such as the Vatican City, Piazza del Popolo amongst others.
If you can plan your day to be here at sunset just before the park closes you will be rewarded with the most stunning views and in my opinion is one of the most romantic things that you can do in Rome as a couple.
Visit Borghese Gallery
The number one thing to do in Borghese Gardens in my opinion is head to the stunning Borghese Gallery. This gallery has a really impressive collection but without the humungous size of the Vatican City Museums. The collection is made up of mostly paintings and sculpture and in these galleries you will be able to see works by some of Italy’s most famous artists such as Bernini and Caravaggio.
However please note that the museum due to its relatively small size operates strict controls on visitor numbers and as such it is imperative that you book your tickets in advance especially if you are visiting Rome in the summer.
A visit to the park combined with the gallery I would say would take around half day in your Rome itinerary. And although I love this gallery I probably wouldn’t recommend taking small children to this gallery. Please note: strollers and prams are not permitted inside the gallery.
If you leave it too late to get tickets to Borghese Gallery or you fancy trying something on the Rome hidden gems list you could exchange this gallery for a visit to Museum Carlo Bilotti, Etruscan Museum and the Villa Medici which are also in the park.
See the Olympic Site
If you head to Siena Square in the gardens you will see where the equestrian events were hosted during the 1960s Olympics.
Visit the Zoo – BioParco Rome
Whenever we are traveling with our toddler we always seek out zoos as they are always a big hit in our household. The Rome Zoo is not world famous like San Diego Zoo, Palm Springs Living Desert or even the Taronga Zoo in Sydney however if you have a little one and want to do something out and out traditionally kid friendly then a visit to Rome Zoo may be just the ticket.
One of my little one’s favourite things to do in Villa Borghese Gardens with kids is to take out one of the little boats on the boating lake. It won’t ear up too much time or money and a little boat trip never fails to delight my toddler.
Hit A Playground
There are several playgrounds in the Villa Borghese Gardens so if you are visiting the park with children then you may want to add a playground to your Villa Borghese itinerary.
Hire a bike
I personally would not go biking around the Rome city centre given the traffic in the city. However if you like bikes and Segways then Villa Borghese Gardens is a great place to get your bicycle fix.
Or if you don’t want to walk or bike around the park a more leisurely way to see the park is from a miniature train. Please note this isn’t always running so do check before traveling to avoid disappointment.
Head to the cinema
If you are visiting Rome on a rainy day or trying to escape the heat in the summer months a great place to head is the Case del Cinema. However many of the showings are conducted only in Italian.
Have a Picnic
Although there are many restaurants and cafes in the park, a great thing to do, especially if you are visiting Rome with kids is to take a picnic and sit under the shade of the trees and just enjoy people watching and a bi of playtime. It is a great place to keep cool in Rome in summer.
Try one of the Villa Borghese Restaurants
We have never eaten at one of the restaurants in the gardens as we always favour taking a picnic when traveling with littles however if you have time why not try out one of the park restaurants. However be warned some may come with a hefty price tag given the amazing setting and views you will get from there.
The Gardens are Rome’s third largest public park and along with being a beautifully landscaped garden it also has a number of buildings and museums, the main attraction of these being Galleria Borghese, the Museum of Modern Art and the Globe Theatre. Tickets for gallery entrance must be pre booked and are time limited. However, if you don’t manage to get tickets there are plenty of sculptures to keep any art fan amused.
The Piazza di Siena, close to the Via Veneto entrance, hosted the equestrian events during the 1960 Rome Olympics and is a perfect place to go for a run.
The Gardens also offer some great viewing platforms to take in some great and interesting perspectives of Rome such as that at Piazza Napoleone.
In the centre of the gardens is a beautiful lake overlooked by the stunning Temple of Aesculapius. The lake in front can be boated in good weather, but on our last trip we weren’t lucky enough to do this! But I am sure when we return when Baby E is a bit older this is something we will definitely do!
Have you been to Villa Borghese Gardens? What was your favourite things to do?