Parks and Villas in Rome: the most beautiful green lungs of the capital

During summer, which can actually last from late March to October in Rome, it could be very enjoyable to consider a pleasant stroll in one of the city's parks or gardens. In fact, the gardens and so-called “villas” of Rome often offer not only green lawns and refreshing forests, but also ancient monuments, fountains and statues that will surprise you on your walk. In this article we would like to recommend the most beautiful gardens and parks of Rome, scattered throughout the territory inside the Grande Raccordo Anulare [Rome's major ring road].

 

Parks and gardens

There is no better place to start than the magnificent Villa Borghese, the most central park in Rome, located between the Pinciano and Flaminio districts. The park has nine entrances, the most beautiful of which is certainly the monumental one which can be found in Piazzale Flaminio. Also noteworthy is the Pincio terrace, accessible from the park or from Piazza del Popolo, which offers a beautiful view of the historic centre of Rome. Inside the Villa you will also find Villa Borghese Pinciana, now home to the Borghese Gallery, one of the city's most beautiful museums, as well as the Silvano Toti Globe Theatre, a reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Other monuments to visit are the Aranciera [Orangery], home to the Carlo Bilotti Museum, Casale Cenci-Giustiniani, the Uccelliera [Aviary] and Cinema dei Piccoli, one of the smallest cinemas in the world. There are also many expanses of grass and beautiful fountains. You'll also find a small lake where you can rent boats and take a refreshing spin on the water.

Villa Borghese

Located just outside the walls of the Gianicolense district, we find Villa Dora Pamphilj,  which originates from the country estate of the noble Roman family of that name. Inside the eternal city, it is undoubtedly the most imposing villa, with large green spaces, woods with magnificent fountains and several grassy expanses for taking a rest. It is the second largest park of Rome, after that of Appia Antica. Inside you can explore the secret garden, cool off near the small lake, admire the Fountain of Cupid and the Chapel, as well as catch a glimpse of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

Villa Dora Pamphilj

Another villa that was originally owned by the Pamphilj family is Villa Torlonia, a small jewel located in the Nomentano district. Inside you will find the Casina delle Civette, a delightful monument built over time with different styles, the Casino Nobile, an example of neoclassical architecture, the Casino dei Principi, connected with the Casino Nobile through an underground tunnel, the Temple of Saturn, built in the early 19th century in imitation of ancient temples, and several obelisks and columns.

Villa Torlonia

If you like large green spaces, you should not miss Villa Ada, Rome's third largest park, located near the famous Via Salaria; in the past this was one of the most important Roman roads, especially for the salt trade. Villa Ada offers above all beautiful green expanses, but also numerous neoclassical and eclectic buildings. The central building is Villa Reale, today the seat of the Egyptian consulate, and it is surrounded by what was once the hunting estate of the Savoy royal family. Also fascinating is the bunker, which can be visited today, built by Mussolini for the Savoy family during the Second World War.

A garden loved by Romans and known for its romantic atmosphere and breathtaking view is Giardino degli Aranci [Orange Garden], also known as Parco Savello. Giardino degli Aranci is on the Aventine hill and therefore offers a wonderful view of the city centre, especially Circus Maximus and Trastevere. The name of the garden comes from the presence of numerous bitter orange trees; it is laid out in a highly symmetrical manner, around the central avenue that leads to the belvedere.

Giardino degli Aranci

Two other smaller villas, which nevertheless are not lacking in charm, are Villa Sciarra and Villa Celimontana. The first, located on the slopes of the Janiculum Hill, between Trastevere and Monteverde Vecchio, takes its name from the noble papal family of Sciarra. Inside you will find beautiful fountains, with rock and mythological motifs, and the beautiful Esedra Arborea, a hedge arranged in a semicircle with niches in which sandstone statues representing the months of the year have been placed. The villa's main building is Casino Barberini, from the tower of which you can admire the entire city.

Villa Celimontana,  on the other hand, situated not far from the Colosseum, was built in the sixteenth century and its gardens conceal fountains, statues and columns, including the ancient obelisk of Ramses II, known as the Matteiano Obelisk, which will make your walk surrounded by greenery more enjoyable.

 

Nature reserves

If the city gardens are not enough for you, you should know that Rome also has two highly respected nature reserves. With its 3200 hectares, the Appian Way Regional Park is undoubtedly Rome's largest park and extends from the San Giovanni district to the Alban Hills. It includes Via Appia Antica, the beautiful Villa dei Quintili, the Caffarella valley, the archaeological areas of the Aqueducts and tombs of Via Latina, as well as the Tor Marancia estate. Via Appia Antica, in particular, is a perfectly preserved example of an ancient Roman road. Every Sunday it is closed to traffic and is therefore perfect for lovely walks or bike rides.

Parco regionale dell'Appia Antica

Closer to the city centre, but still quite wild, is the Monte Mario Nature Reserve, located on the small hill of the same name. In addition to a more or less unspoiled natural setting, in this reserve you will find beautiful villas, such as Villa Mazzanti, Villa Madama (one of the representative offices of the Italian government) and Villa Mellini, home of the Astronomical Observatory of Rome. Finally, the reserve also offers a beautiful view over the capital.

 

And it does not end here: the surroundings of Rome are also full of magnificent green places to explore. Discover them in our dedicated article

For your strolls in the green lungs of Rome, don't forget that you can stay in one of our facilities: Roma Camping in Town, located in the western area of the city, and Fabulous Village, just outside the ring road to the south of Rome, open from April to October.

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