Explore Villas and Parks in Rome to Find the Best Green Spaces in the Eternal City
Rome is a city that can be explored for a lifetime and you still won’t be able to see everything. This is not meant to intimidate, it’s just the truth. Of course, at Roman Vacations we would always recommend booking a tour to get the most history, excitement, and fun out of your time in Rome. But at the same time, we also encourage exploring the city on your own.
Being on vacation is a healthy balance of planned activities and free time to explore and soak it all in. While European travel tends to involve a lot of monuments and historical sites, we believe in getting back to nature, even when you’re in an urban city.
Public parks in Rome are plentiful and wherever you are in the Eternal City. Chances are you are less than 20-minutes away from sprawling green spaces and beautiful little corners of the city. Grab a picnic blanket or your walking shoes, get your camera or smartphone ready and get ready to explore some green spaces in Rome.
1. Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese is probably the most famous of the public parks in Rome. This park is famously shaped like a heart and holds a myriad of delights inside. Perfect to visit with the whole family. You can rent bikes, visit the playgrounds or hire a small boat at the turtle-filled lake. Enjoy the beautiful architecture and art that appear around every corner. You can visit the Casa del Cinema or even take in an Italian performance of Shakespeare at the recreated Globe Theatre. The Pincio Terrace is one of the most beautiful sunset spots in the city and is located in the park, right above Piazza del Popolo. If you are in Villa Borghese, also consider visiting the Galleria Borghese to see the stunning collection of art.
2. Villa Doria Pamphili
The large and sprawling Villa Pamphili is worth the hike up the hill above Trastevere. On your way up, you will be rewarded with stunning views over Rome as you approach entry at Porta San Pancrazio. Once inside the park, imagine the sprawling grounds as your own private estate. Join the locals as they participate in exercise classes, run, eat picnics, and generally enjoy time in nature.
The stunning Casino del Bel Respiro was built in the 17th century and has gorgeous gardens. Unfortunately, visitors must observe them from above rather than walking around the perfectly manicured plants. The park has an impressive collection of umbrella pines, a few lakes and is a fantastic place to people-watch on a sunny day. We recommend the park for exercise and relaxation. It’s a perfect place to catch up with your fellow travelers and reminisce on the tours and experiences you have had in Rome.
3. Villa Torlonia
This small but fascinating park was the residence of Mussolini, the former Italian dictator, from 1925-1943. A little off-the-beaten-path, this is another fantastic example of unique landscape architecture and a former private estate turned public. The small park is frequented mainly by locals to the area. Watch a riveting game of bocci ball, grab a coffee or quick lunch with some locals or even visit Mussolini’s former bunker (open to the public by reservation). The park also has lovely art-deco architecture and a small looping collection of walking paths.
4. Giardino Degli Aranci (The Orange Garden)
Come for the view of Rome and St. Peter’s Basilica and stay for the people-watching and the sunset. This small park is located on the Aventine hill, just up the street from the Circus Maximus. The park features an array of orange trees which smell heavenly in the spring as they blossom. Walk to the back of the park for the most perfect view over Rome and enjoy a cold beverage from the ledge that overlooks the city. Just down the hill from the orange garden is Rome’s municipal rose gardens. A small but impressive collection of rose varietals that opens to the public in the spring as the roses begin to bloom. This park is small and mostly gravel but the views and the flora make it a must-visit
5. Villa Celiomontana
Tucked away just around the corner from the Colosseum, this park is just secluded enough that it provides a respite from the crowded square of the Colosseum and around the Palatine Hill. The sprawling grounds have ample trees and shady spots perfect for taking a break in nature. In the summer they hold jazz concerts and other live events in the evenings. We recommend grabbing a small picnic from a supermarket or a sandwich shop and enjoying a midday stroll here after your Colosseum Tour. The park also features a small obelisk compiled of various obelisks that has hieroglyphs of Ramesses the Great.