Not far from the main historical landmarks and the glitzy boutiques of the city centre, Rome is rich in lush gardens and green spaces to enjoy a pleasant walk or relax far from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
Our tour of Rome’s gardens mainly revolves around the parks located in the grounds of historical villas where local aristocrats used to live, hunt and chill out. During the Renaissance indeed, nobles, wealthy patrons and even popes asked architects and artist to transform the city’s abandoned landscapes into oases of peace. Rejoice, as today you don’t have to be an aristocrat to venture inside these villas, as they are all open to the public.
Start your tour from Villa Pamphilj, the biggest dwelling with an adjoined park in Rome. Spread over an overall surface of 450 acres, Villa Pamphilj, the majestic villa commissioned by the eponymous family, is loved by families wishing to spend some time in the open air and by joggers. Its park nestles a mansion and countless gardens modelled after the symmetrical designs of classical Rome. Before moving to the next green hub, make sure you enjoy a break or a picnic under the shade of its centuries-old plants.
Besides being one of the city’s landmarks, Villa Borghese is another not-to-be-missed spot for lovers of green. Perched atop the Pincian Hill, the villa is also home to the Borghese Gallery, gathering precious works by artists such as Caravaggio, Raffaello, Tiziano, Correggio, Antonello da Messina, Giovanni Bellini, as well as sculptures by Bernini and Canova. When strolling through the park, make sure you don’t miss the Giardino del Lago, the 18th-century English garden boasting exotic plants. The park also features a lake with a classical temple at its center, which can be enjoyed close-up paddling around the lake with a canoe.
Go on walking to reach Villa Ada’s garden, Rome’s second-biggest park. Featuring a small lake in its centre and dotted by local and rare plants such as stone pines, laurels, holm oaks, and even a rare metasequoia, it offers the perfect background to get lost in nature. Head then towards the Colosseum to discover the beauties of Villa Celimontana. Home to a marvellous 17th-century dwelling, the park surrounding the villa also hosts a vast array of archaeological ruins spanning from sarcophagi to sculptures and an ancient Egyptian obelisk.
If you’re a fan of panoramic views you can’t miss the beautiful Villa Sciarra, in the heart of Trastevere, Rome’s most picturesque neighborhood. The little park surrounding the villa was believed to be a sanctuary dedicated to the nymphs at the times of Ancient Rome, while today it is rich in Mediterranean and exotic flora, as well as sculptures and fountains.