While popular gardens like Villa Borghese and Villa Doria Pamphili are famed for their beauty, they’re also known for drawing crowds of fellow sun seekers. Find your own oasis in the Italian capital at one of these secret spots.
Here’s the scoop on some of Rome’s lesser-known garden paradises to help you escape the rush.
Family favourite: Villa Celimontana
Set into Celio Hill, just a ten-minute ride from our Radisson Blu es. Hotel, Rome, this former vineyard and grand 17th century villa were once owned by the Mattei family. Today, the gardens are the main attraction; dotted with marble statues, winding walkways and an impressive obelisk, they’re the perfect setting for a relaxed family stroll. The Villa also hosts a jazz festival every summer, and there’s a playground and pony rides to keep the kids entertained. Nearby Parco del Celio provides some welcome shade from the fierce Roman sun, so bring a book and join the locals when it’s time to cool off.
Roman romance: Villa Sciarra
Named after the central villa, these serene gardens were designed around a mythological theme that gives them an air of magic. It’s easy to believe the rumour that Cleopatra and Julius Caesar once enjoyed a romantic dinner on the grounds where the villa now stands. Discover the statues and ornate fountains carved with ancient Roman imagery, including the Fontana dei Fauni at the Largo Minutelli entrance, portraying a family of fauns frolicking in the water. You’ll also find botanical gardens and an aviary to explore.
Coming up roses: Roseto Comunale
Not to be missed in spring, Roseto Comunale (the municipal rose garden) on Aventine Hill is home to over a thousand varieties of the blossom. It’s a feast for the senses as roses fill the air with their fragrant scent and add lively colour to the park. Settle on one of the benches dotted around the garden and breathe it all in. The park is open from early May until late June, when the flowers are at their fullest and the weather isn’t too hot.
Top of the world: Monte Mario
The Riserva Naturale di Monte Mario offers one of the most spectacular views of Rome. It’s located to the north west, on the highest hill in the city, so you’re guaranteed some peace and quiet away from the usual tourist trails. This is also where you’ll find the Rome Observatory and the imposing Villa Mazzanti. Visit in the evening, starting with a cocktail in Lo Zodiaco bar and restaurant, right on top of the hill. What could compare to watching the sun setting over the Eternal City with a cool drink in hand?
Picnic by the ruins: Parco degli Acquedotti
Literally translated to ‘park of aqueducts’, this space takes its name from the structures running through it. Just a five-minute walk from film studio Cinecitta, Parco degli Acquedotti is one of the city’s most filmed locations. Fellini’s 1960 classic La Dolce Vita and 2014 Oscar winner (Best Foreign Film) The Great Beauty were both shot here. The ruins are a fascinating piece of Roman history, and this peaceful picnic spot is just five miles from the city centre.