Since we would drive to Tuscany in the afternoon we only planned Galleria Borghese for this day. From the Vatican you can take bus 490 ( Ottaviano stop) and get of the bus at via Viale del Museo Borghese, directly to the entrance of galleria Borghese. Or you can get a tram at Ottaviano (nr 11) and get of at Bioparc. Third option is the metro from Ottaviano, and get of at Spagna (Spanish Steps), and follow the signs for Borghese. They will take you with escalators right to the entrance at porta Pinciani, where you can enter the Borghese park. After entering the park, immediately turn right and walk straight to the entrance of the Galleria. We took the metro since the bus and tram did not ride very frequently and we did not want to be late for our time-slot of our reserved tickets.
Galleria Borghese is one of the most incredible museums in town. You have to book your tickets in advance for a specific two hour time slot. You can book and pay the tickets online in a very straightforward way. If you use a Roma pass or if you do not want to commit and pre-purchase, you need to reserve your time slot by phone: +39 06 32810. You will be given a reservation code. Make sure you are 30 to 15 minutes before your entry time at the Galleria and present yourself at the ticket desk with your reservation code, where you can pay your tickets using the free museum entrance or the reduced entrance with your Roma Pass. You need to present your name, reservation code, and passes or other ways of identification for any other reductions (student card or ID card for under eighteens). You enter at the start of your time slot and get a two hours to visit. The number of visitors is limited making the visit very comfortable and not too crowded. I can also highly recommend the audio guide!
Highlights are the best statues by Bernini: Apollo and Daphne, David and Pluto and Prosperina, paintings by Vasari, Rafaël, Caravaggio and Rubens, the Venus by Antonio Canova (for which Pauline Bonaparte stood model), and a beautiful painting by Titian: Amor sacre, amor profane.
The villa itself (1612) that houses the museum is beautifully decorated and was built by the Borghese family, who hired Flaminio Ponzio as the architect. What is even more incredible is that more then 500 works of Cardinal Scipion’s original art collection have been sold by Camillo Borghese in 1807 to Napoleon, to pay for his debts. They are now exhibited in the Louvre in Paris as the Borghese collection. Even with those 500 works gone, the collection is amazing. Galleria Borghese was one of my best museum experiences ever and together with the Scavi tour under Saint Peter’s basilica the two highlights of our Rome visit. You are allowed t take pictures in the museum, but only without using a flash, so bring your camera.
After this beautiful last visit in Rome we went to pick up our luggage ( after the rather unpleasant experience in the Prati parking) at the B&B and continued towards our Tuscany leg of our Italy holiday.