Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna Rome

The Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (National Gallery of Modern Art) in Rome, like the Galleria Borghese and the Etruscan Museum, is located in the Villa Borghese. It has a great permanent collection of 19th and 20th century, especially Italian art, but also hosts temporary exhibitions, often several at the same time. Continue reading “Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna Rome”

Villa Borghese Rome

The Villa Borghese is probably the most famous park in Rome and one of its biggest ones, together with the Villa Doria Pamphili and the Villa Ada.  With the Galleria Borghese, the Modern Art Gallery, the Etruscan Museum and a number of smaller museums within its borders, it may well be called the city’s museum park.

Villa Borghese Rome

Opening hours and admission

Admission is free. The Villa Borghese is officially opened from sunrise till sunset. In reality you can more or less enter the park whenever you want. However, it is definitely not recommended to enter the park at night, especially for women.

Villa Borghese Rome

Villa Borghese Rome
Villa Borghese

Until 1605 what is now the Villa Borghese area had been used as a vineyard and in antiquity was known as the Gardens of Lucullus.

The Villa Borghese was constructed in the early 17th century. It was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who was a nephew of the then Pope Paul V. His former residence is now the seat of the Galleria Borghese, one of the city’s most popular museums. The architect  of this palace was Flaminio Ponzio, who had based his design on sketches by the cardinal himself.

The gardens were divided into a wooded section, a wilder, more natural-looking section and a more landscaped part with lots of statues, sculptures and fountains.

Architects who participated in the project were Jerome Rainaldi and Vasanzio, who was Dutch and was really called Jan van Staten.

In the 19th century the Villa Borghese was remodeled after English examples.

In 1903 the city of Rome bought the Villa Borghese and made it into a public park, which it in reality it had already been for a long time.

Highlights Villa Borghese

The southern part of the park, between the Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps is taken up by the Pincio Hill. Especially from the part nearest the Spanish Steps you can enjoy a gorgeous view over the rooftops and church domes of the historical center. The Casina Valadier and the Villa Medici are two beautiful palaces along the way. The latter is the seat of the French Academy in Rome and sometimes hosts exhibitions.

The Piazza di Siena is not really a square, but a sandy area used for equestrian dressage and jumping. Concerts are held here as well. It was created towards the end of the 18th century, by Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese. The square was supposed to be similar to the Piazza del Campo in Siena, city of origin of the Borghese family. Construction was not completed until after the prince’s death. From that moment it became a spot for popular festivals and other events. Nowadays it hosts the famous
Concorso Ippico Internazionale “Piazza di Siena”.

It is almost next to a small and rather badly maintained play area for children, which includes a library/bookstore.

The above-mentioned Galleria Borghese is the most famous one of the museums in this park. It is found in the north-eastern section of the park and houses an important sculpture and painting collection.

The entrance to the Zoo (Bioparco) is not far from the Galleria Borghese.

The Villa Giulia is the seat of the Etruscan Museum. Even if you are not interested in the museum itself, the courtyard of this palace is extremely picturesque and can be entered for free. The villa is named after Pope Julius II, who had his residency here.

The white marble building next to the Etruscan Museum is the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. This palace was, quite unusual for Rome, specifically built to house the city’s modern art collection. The best chance you will ever have to get an overview of the major Italian art movements of the 20th century.

The Fortezzuola is a Gothic garden, with a number of sculptures by Pietro Canonica.

The so-called English Pavilion houses the British School in Rome and is designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

There is an artificial lake in the middle of the park. You can rent canoes and rowboats or you can walk around this lake and look at all the statues surrounding it. The small temple on an island near the western bank of the lake is dedicated to Aesculapius. The Temple of Aesculapius was built in the 18th century and consists of a portico with a triangular pediment supported by four Ionic capitals. There are several Greek statues on its roof. Behind the portico there is a statue of Aesculapius himself. The small bridge leading to the island cannot be used by the public.

There are fountains all over the park. One of the most interesting ones is the Fountain of the Winged Victories in the Viale Goethe.

Villa Borghese for children

The Villla Borghese is a great environment to take your children to, as there are many things to see and do in the park. Apart from the above-mentioned zoo, there are several playgrounds, a special library for children and a huge inflatable slide. Skaters show off their skills, bicycles and segways can be hired and there is a little train going through the park as well.

Address and public transport

The Villa Borghese has several entrances. The easiest ones to reach from the center are found at the Piazzale Flaminio (metro Flaminio), the Spanish Steps (metro Spagna) and the Via Veneto (metro Barberini). The Villa Borghese lies partly in the rione Campo Marzio, partly in the quartiere Pinciano.

Villa Borghese – Rome

Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum Rome

The National Etruscan Museum in the Villa Giulia (Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia) is housed in a beautiful palazzo in the northern part of the Villa Borghese Park in Rome. Its extensive collection shows archeological finds from the age of the Etruscans, a people who lived in (especially) the northern part of Lazio in pre-Roman times. Continue reading “Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum Rome”

Villa Poniatowski Rome

Villa Poniatowski is a historical building in the north-west corner of the Villa Borghese Park in Rome. Part of the building is now used a secondary seat of the adjacent Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum. The original 15th century villa was modified by the famous 19th century architect Valadier.

Villa Poniatowski Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Via di Villa Giulia, 34 – Rome (tel. +39 06 44239949). Quartiere: Pinciano. Take metro line A to Flaminio, followed by tram 2 to the Belle Arti stop. Opening hours: Tuesday till Sunday from 09.00 till 13.45 hours. (Note: From April 1st 2017 until February 24th 2018 the Villa Poniatowski is only open on Thursday mornings (10.00 till 13.00, last entry 12.15) and Saturday afternoons (15.00 till 18.00, last entry 17.15). Admission: 8 Euros (the ticket for the Museo Etrusco).

History Villa Poniatowski Rome

Sala Indiana - Villa Poniatowski Rome
Wall paintings in the Sala Indiana (“Indian Hall”)

In the early 19th century Stanislao Poniatowski, who was the grandson of the last King of Poland, who commissioned Giuseppe Valadier to transform the 15th century Villa Cesi into a villa.

Valadier moved the main façade to the Via Flaminia, with a main entrance preceded by a cordonata. The fountains along this set of stairs are supllied with water from the Acqua Vergine aqueduct.

In 1849 the villa was seriously damaged during battles between the French troops and Garibaldi‘s freedom fighters. After the Unification of Italy the villa got a new owner called Riganti, who had a tannery constructed in its gardens.

In 1989 the Villa Poniatowski became a possession of the Italian State. It was specifically acquired to be used as a second seat of the Etruscan Museum. A number of rooms are now used to display archeological finds from Latium Vetus and Umbria. The rest of the building is dedicated to temporary exhibitions.


The villa’s vast garden consists of a number of terraces that are decorated with antique sculptures. The pergola at the top is called the Loggia delle Delizie (“Loggia of Delights”).

The most impressive parts of the building itself are the  Sala dell’Ercole Farnese (ground floor) and the Sala delle Colonne Doriche (first floor).

Valadier‘s modifications brought several parts of the original villa to light. The most important ones are the wall paintings in the Sala d’Ercole, the Sala Indiana en the Sala Egiziana. Other finds include vases and fountains.

Via di Villa Giulia, 34 – Rome

Pinciano District Rome

Pinciano is the name of Rome‘s third quartiere. Of all the quartieri, Pinciano may well be the one with the biggest concentration of tourist attractions. Most of these are found in and around the Villa Borghese Park.

Pinciano District Rome (Quartiere III)


The name Pinciano as a denomination of the entire quarter is a fairly recent one, since before World War II only the part between the Via Pinciana and the Via Salaria was called Pinciano, while the remaining part was called “of the rivers”. The reason for this was that all streets were named after rivers in this area. The original name of the quartiere is yet another one, Vittorio Emanuele III.

Tourist Attractions

The Porta del Popolo is impressive and in the Viale delle Belle Arti there are two important museums, i.e. the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna and the Etruscan Museum. One of Rome’s most famous museums can likewise be found in the Villa Borghese: The Galleria Borghese, with many works by famous artists like Bernini and Canova.

Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese Rome

Most of the tourist attractions of the district can be found in the enormous Villa Borghese Park. This park contains three important museums, plus a number of smaller ones. There is a lake in the middle and statues and other sculptures are placed all over its grounds. There is also a small children’s cinema.

Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum

Etruscan Museum - Pincio District Rome

The National Etruscan Museum in the Villa Giulia (Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia) is housed in a beautiful palazzo in the northern part of the Villa Borghese Park. Its extensive collection shows archeological finds from the age of the Etruscans, a people who lived in (especially) the northern part of Lazio in pre-Roman times.

Galleria Borghese

Rome - Galleria Borghese - Canova - Paolina Borghese

The Galleria Borghese is one of a number of interesting museums in the Villa Borghese. The collection consists of one floor of paintings and one of sculptures. The museum is especially famous for its permanent collection, but every so often also organizes prestigious temporary exhibitions.

Villa Poniatowski

Villa Poniatowski - Pinciano District Rome

Villa Poniatowski is a historical building in the north-west corner of the park. Part of the building is now used a secondary seat of the adjacent Villa Giulia Etruscan Museum. The original 15th century villa was modified by the famous 19th century architect Valadier.

San Panfilo Catacomb

The Catacomb of Saint Panfilo is located along the Via Salaria Vecchia, to be more precise underneath the present Via Paisello and the Via Spontini. The present entrance of this catacomb is inside the Santa Teresa di Bambin Gesù in Panfilo Church. It is normally not open to tourists.

The Roma Zoo (Bioparco) and the race-track Piazza di Siena are also to be found in the Villa Borghese.

Quartiere Pinciano (Q. III) – Rome

San Panfilo Catacomb Rome

The Catacomb of Saint Panfilo is located along the Via Salaria Vecchia, to be more precise underneath the present Via Paisello and the Via Spontini. The present entrance of this catacomb is inside the Santa Teresa di Bambin Gesù in Panfilo Church. It is normally not open to tourists.

San Panfilo Catacomb Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Via Paisiello, 24 – Rome (tel. +39 06 735824) District: Quartiere Pinciano. Bus: 910. Opening hours: Like many smaller an dless well-known catacombs the San Panfilo Catacombs can only be visited with permission of the Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra.

History and description

The presence of many so-called “a capuccina” tombs (that resemble the roof of a house, with rows of slanted tiles) indicate that people were buried here as early as the 3rd century. This impression is supported by some of the inscriptions found in the catacombs, one of which is dated 298 AD.

The oldest level of these catacombs, which was reached by means of a long staircase, was created with the so-called “a pettine” system. A higher level was added in the 4th century to be followed by a third floor.

This last floor consists of a hallway, beginning neat the staircase. This hallway is more disorderly than the other two levels.

There is a cubicolo doppio (double cubicolo) in the oldest one of the hallways, which had apparently necessitated the destruction of a number of already existing loculi. These extensively decorated spaces had been built by two freed slaves and dedicated to their former masters, Teofilo and Ponziana.

Panfilo’s relics are supposed to be kept in this cubicolo doppio. According to the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, a 7th century list containing all martyrs, Saint Quirino and Saint Candido are also supposed to be buried in these catacombs, but no remains have been found yet to support this.

Panfilo’s catacombs can only be visited after writing to the Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra.

Via Paisiello, 24 – Rome

Casa del Cinema Rome

The Casa del Cinema is a city-run movie theater and exhibition space in Rome. It is located inside the Villa Borghese park and will be used for several events and movie showings during the annual International Film Festival of Rome.

Casa del Cinema Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Largo Marcello Mastroianni, 1 – Rome (tel. +39 06 423601).  Opening hours and admission depend on the event.

History and description

The history of the Casa del Cinema starts in 1833, when the Borghese enlarged the Villa Pinciana through the acquisition of some adjacent vineyards and confining villas. One of these was the Villa Manfroni Bernini, which bordered the Aurelian Walls near the Porta Pinciana.

At the time there was a building consisting of an older and a newer part, the newer being lower and less refined. The building was restored by the architect Luigi Canina to be used as a restaurant, but after having been damaged during fights between Mazzini and the French troops (1849) ended up being used as a stable for cows and a milk factory.

When the Villa Borghese became property of the city of Rome (1903) the Casina kept being used that way, but in the 1930’s it was transformed into a luxury restaurant called Villa Umberto-Casino delle Rose.

The next transformation came in the 60’s when it became a dancing, called “La Lucciola”. In 1976 the owners made some unauthorized modifications to the building and only after 25 years of legal wrangling restoration work was started, guided by the use of early 20th photographs.

The Casa del Cinema was inaugurated in the building in 2004. There are three projection halls (Sala Deluxe, Sala Kodak and Sala Gian Maria Volontà), two exhibition spaces, a cafe (the Cinecaffé) and a restaurant (Casina delle Rose) in the building.

The two exhibition spaces have been named after the directors Sergio Amidei and Cesare Zavattini, representing Italian cinema “from A to Z”.

During the summer there are open air theater performances.

Largo Marcello Mastroianni, 1 – Rome

Galleria Borghese Rome

The Galleria Borghese is one of a number of interesting museums in the Villa Borghese, which also has the Etruscan Museum and the Modern Art Museum within its grounds. The museum is especially famous for its permanent collection, but every so often also organizes prestigious temporary exhibitions. Continue reading “Galleria Borghese Rome”

Villa Strohl-Fern Rome

The Villa Strohl Fern in Rome is located within the larger area of the Villa Borghese park, in the vicinity of the Etruscan Museum.

Villa Strohl-Fern Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Viale Madama Letizia – Rome. Opening hours and admission: The Villa is only open for special occasions. Wheelchair-accessible: No.

History and description

Villa Strohl-Fern Rome
Villa Strohl-Fern

It was commissioned by Alfred Wilhelm Strohl (1847-1927), an Alsatian nobleman and patron of the arts, who had taken refuge in Rome when the political situation in the Alsace, as a result of disputes between France and German, caused him to seek exile elsewhere.

It is thought that Strohl himself added”Fern” (far, in German) to his name to allude to the distance from his birth-place.

When Strohl died the French state inherited his villa, which, although the exact year of its construction is not known, was built in a neo-Gothic and Romantic style.

Strohl built several studios in his villa and these were, at an extremely low rent, used by artists as famous as the writers Rainer Maria Rilke and Carlo Levi and the painter Francesco Trombadori.

At the moment part of the complex is used by the elementary school of the French Lycée Chateaubriand

Viale Madama Letizia – Rome

Fountain of the Winged Victories Rome

The Fontana delle Vittorie Alate, or “Fountain of the Winged Victories” can be found on the Viale Goethe in the Villa Borghese park in Rome.

Fountain of the Winged Victories Rome

It consists of an ancient Roman sarcophagus with carvings depicting garlands of fruit and the winged victories the fountain is named after. On top of the sarcophagus there is a sculpture of a mask with a dolphin on each side.

The mask was made by the sculptor Della Porta and spits water into the basin below.

The fountain of the Winged Victories was placed in the park towards the end of the 19th century after having been taken away from the Piazza della Rotonda. There were another three fountains in the Piazza della Rotonda, but their present whereabouts is unknown, although thought to be in one of the city’s warehouses.

Viale Goethe – Rome