Rome’s best free parks and gardens

Posted in: Rome Sights

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Villa Borghese
Take a stroll through Villa Borghese, Rome's most famous park. Photo: canucksfan604

One of the best things about Rome is that even though it’s a bustling city of almost 3 million people, there are still plenty of green spaces and tranquil areas.

Next time you need a break from the crowds, head to one of the city’s parks for a picnic or afternoon of reading and lying in the sun. Not only are they peaceful, but they’re some of the prettiest parks and gardens in the world. Best of all? They’re free!

Villa Borghese

Location: On Viale del Muro Torto and Via Pinciana
Getting there: Take the metro to Spagna or Barberini. Or take the FC3 tram to Flaminio.

Villa Borghese is Rome’s version of Central Park. Originally the grounds of the Borghese family’s villa in the 17th century, today the park is open to the public and has an area for everyone. There’s a merry go round for kids, a small zoo, a dog park, and plenty of tree lined paths for jogging, elaborate fountains for cooling off, and large hills and sunny spots for reading and naps. The park is big, but it’s worth walking to the Pincian hill for the view of Rome over Piazza del Popolo. If you’re not in relaxation mode, visit one of the villas for a look into the lives of nobility, or stop at the Galleria Borghese, one of the city’s most impressive museums full of incredible frescoes and Bernini statues.

Related: Cheap hotels near Villa Borghese in Rome

Villa Pamphili

At the heart of Villa Pamphili is a beautiful estate with well-manicured gardens. Photo: geomangio

Villa Pamphili

Location: Via Aurelia Antica
Getting there: Take the 881 bus, the N20, or the N5. The closest metro is Baldi Degli Ubaldi, and from there it’s about a 10 minute walk.

This is one of the prettiest parks in Rome mainly because of the Villa Doria Pamphili, a large mansion with a sunny yellow tint, and it’s surrounding gardens. You could probably spend hours just gazing at the villa itself, but the nearby pond full of swans is also worth a look. Villa Pamphili is located in the Monteverde area of Rome, just west of Trastevere, and is also the largest park in the city, so you’re sure to find a free patch of grass. It’s the perfect park for a picnic with friends.

Villa Ada

Hop on a bike and get some fresh air in the sprawling Villa Ada. Photo: georgiap

Villa Ada

Location: Via dei Ponte Salario
Getting there: Take the FC3 tram to Campi Sportivi.

Villa Ada is great if you’re looking for some outdoor activity in the midst of all that pasta and wine. You can rent canoes or bicycles and also go horseback riding. Pack your bathing suit for a dip in the large public swimming pool, or spend hours strolling through the lush green paths. To combine exercise and history, visit Monte Antenne, an old Roman village that is now an archeological site at the highest point of the park, or head to the Catacombs of Priscilla. With a park this large, (450 acres!), you won’t be bored.

Related: Beating the heat in Rome: 4 beaches easily accessible by train for €10 or less

Giardino degli Aranci

The Orange Garden is small but incredibly charming with glimpses of St. Peter’s as a backdrop. Photo: geomangio

The Orange Garden

Location: Via di Santa Sabina
Getting there: Take the metro to Circo Massimo, and it’s about a 10 minute walk up the hill.

A small garden on the Aventine hill bursting with orange trees, this garden is small, but one of the most charming. Head up the hill to the Giardino degli Aranci with a group of friends and a bottle of white wine to soak in the panoramas of the city from the top. The view of St. Peter’s is fantastic, and the scent of oranges and shade from the trees is a splendid respite from the city. The famous keyhole view of St. Peter’s is just a few steps away in the Piazza dei Cavalieri.

Gianicolo

It doesn’t get more romantic than this spectacular view from The Gianicolo. Photo: geomangio

The Gianicolo

Location: Via del Gianicolo
Getting there: Take the 34, 46, 46B, 64, 98 or 881 buses.

The Gianicolo hill is full of lovers, and it’s easy to see why. The view from the top is like an aphrodisiac. Go at the golden hour to see the sun bathe the terracotta rooftops in a warm glow and glisten on the domes of the Pantheon and St. Peter’s, while the Vittorio Emanule II monument sparkles against the backdrop of the Appenine Mountains. The entire city takes on a pinkish hue from up here, and you can’t help but gaze in awe and succumb to its spell.

Related : The 5 most romantic spots in Rome

About the author

Rebecca Holland

Rebecca Holland has worked as a journalist for print, radio and television, and currently freelances for a number of travel and development publications. Bit by the travel bug after college, she's backpacked through Asia, lived in the Middle East, and now lives and works in Italy, but explores the rest of Europe whenever she can. Read more about her travel adventures at curiosityandacarryon.com, or follow her on twitter at @globalmusings, and Instagram @curiosityandacarryon.

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