Villa Borghese & Galleria Borghese, Rome
Concierge.com's insider take:
Villa Borghese, the most central of Rome's great parks, was saved from encroaching property developers in the 1870s when it was bought by a farsighted city council. A verdant place shaded by majestic trees, it's perfect for a pasta-burning run or for renting a bike or skates from the many outfits operating on the western side of the park, near the Pincio Terrace, with its spectacular view. Inside the park, the Galleria Borghese contains a superb art collection, including some of Baroque genius Gian Lorenzo Bernini's finest works: Note how Pluto's fingers press into the goddess's thigh in his Rape of Persephone (1622) and how the fleeing nymph's fingers metamorphose into laurel branches in Apollo and Daphne (1625). Also here are works by Caravaggio, Titian, Raphael, Giorgione, Rubens, and Pinturicchio (the Borgheses sure liked their masterpieces). When it all gets too much for the kids, an unspectacular but well-intentioned zoo is a short stroll across the park.
Tickets for the Borghese gallery must be booked beforehand (though you can usually just turn up and get in on the same day, if you're prepared to wait), and visits are limited to two hours. The whole of the Villa Borghese park is a free-access Wi-Fi area.
1 Piazzale del Giardino Zoologico
Tel: 39 06 360 8211
Open daily 9:30 am to 5 pm.
5 Piazzale Scipione Borghese
Tel: 39 06 841 3979
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 9 am to 7 pm.