A casual Saturday in Rome
I hope you enjoyed my previous post, I really love Domus Aurea so much, felt like we scored a hidden gem, then took a nice lunch to fuel us up and continue our next adventure… Galleria Borghese, a private museum in the Borghese Gardens.
First of all, I have to admit I was unsettled about this attraction, we love museum so much, but to get the ticket in advance seemed atypical and unfriendly to begin with. I did try the Roma Pass approach, as the Roma Pass website claims to book the tickets of Galleria Borghese, you can write an email to their support, and I did… I wrote 5 times, but none of them got replied. It seems a laughable service, though I still like Roma Pass very much, this one is not as good as the other features. Furthermore, the official website of Galleria Borghese is only in Italian and they provide a way to get tickets online but as a foreigner the only option is to send them via physical mail(!). So, here are some heads up, first, the museum is actually more popular than you think, even though we visit at low season (at the end of March), it’s was all booked… the time we ask the ticket counter, the billboard has shown the available tickets have to wait in a month! second, since they have a really strict security rule, every time log is only allowed 300 people, so there are so many visitors in front of us who had also been turned down.
Because it’s famous for their masters’ artworks, Caravaggio, Titian, Rubens, Bernini I still will recommend trying Galleria Borghese, but just really need early booking in case of missing it.
So we spent the afternoon at Borghese Garden, there are actually have some other museums and tourist attractions, Roman’s garden, I’ve seen many local with their family enjoy the sunbath and green. It is nice to be rest on the grass, we also took a small tourist train (actually is car) which will take you to the tourist attractions in the area. the ride cost 2 EU, the day our driver seems only speaks Italian, therefore we did ask to a certain spot to get off, we use Google map to guide us and spontaneous to get off around. Here are what we experienced the day:
1. Terrazza del Pincio– it’s a 19th-century terrace with fountains & prime views of the Colosseum & Vatican. the view is pretty nice, you can see the other lovely plaza- Piazza del Popolo, in the middle is Rome’s oldest obelisk & the site of the city’s northern gate.
2. Renting a boat at Laghetto Di Villa Borghese– it’s a small lake in the park, the landmark of the lake is Temple of Asclepius built in the 18th century. I do like the time we row a boat in the lake, it’s lovely to get close to the temple, also feel like in an Impressionism painting. it cost 6 dollars per person for 20 mins.
3. The big cat of Rome– we found this Lion on the top of the wall of Museo Pietro Canonica. It’s a personal favorite! I love this kind of humor, and I am a cat person as well. I can’t stop collecting all the cat’s art in the world, and to me, this is one of the best in Rome. If you would like to see it by yourself, you can search for Viale Pietro Canonica, this lion is indeed making this park worthwhile, even though we haven’t visited the museum hehe.
If you ask me whether I recommend Borghese Gardens, I will say yes and no, it really depends on the preparation and your taste. Galleria Borghese is said to be a nice museum, but the ticket price is not cheap, the booking process is not friendly enough. The other museums in the park are smaller but all closed pretty early, so you will have to make sure to fine tune your schedule. Other than that, if you are not a museum person, it will be a nice place for a picnic, a budget-friendly place for families to see Zoo or puppet shows (my husband said the Borghese gardens were his least favorite part of the trip, so you can take that for what is worth).
After all, we got gelato and continued our afternoon toward Piazza del Popolo you can certainly keep walking to the gate, it may take about 15 mins walking, but we choose to get on the bus since the sun is not little, we want to save some walk for tonight.
Piazza del Popolo, another great opening shot in Peter Greenaway’s movie The belly of an architect. One of the iconic twin sister church Santa Maria del Popolo (Basilica Parrocchiale Santa Maria del Popolo) is really interesting to look at. my impression is they looked like the mini version of St. Peter Basilica, the round tops are very welcoming, also pretty unique for a twin churches architecture idea, isn’t it?
The legend said the basilica is built on top of Nero’s tomb, his evil spirit haunted the area, therefore the Pope built the basilica to repress the evil force. Although it is not true since Nero’s tomb is not actually underneath the church, I still enjoyed the story of Santa Maria del Popolo.
It is well-known some famous Caravaggio’s artworks are in there, so we did try to visit the church, but somehow we didn’t make it on Saturday afternoon, not so sure if they were hosting a ceremony so the door was closed. oops, seems our plan didn’t work out well. Therefore we only strolled on the Plaza to get the weekend energy of the city, walking around and window shopping to the neighborhood- Spanish Step, it’s about 10 mins walk from the plaza.
C’est la vie, maybe it’s another excuse for us next time to visit Rome again. alright, hope you liked the sharing, will be talking about modern museum Maxxi in the next chapter. Ciao!
Tips for visiting Galleria Borghese:
1. Be sure to book the ticket on their official website as early as possible, better a month beforehand.
2. Roma Pass does not help on this case as the Q&A claims visitor can write to the support to book tickets. you can still try it, but don’t get the hopes up.
3. Be on time if you got the ticket, you will need to put your bags in the bag storage before entering.
To see other attractions of Rome stories and tips, click below to see individual posts: