Park Life

Discover what is hidden behind ancient walls or atop one of the seven hills in Rome’s lush parks. Parks surprisingly hold everything you could want from a day in Rome. Rome has a high amount of rain annually which makes for an unusually green Italian city. This in turn makes for beautiful parks to relax in, the perfect getaway from the city’s chaos. But visiting a park in Rome is no normal park life experience. Nearly each one has an array of cultural and historical importance with cinemas, basilicas, galleries and even a zoo nestled within. The mad traffic of Rome is suddenly a distant memory.


The orange gardenThe Orange Garden or Parco Savello has a secret garden atmosphere, with its entrance not evident at first glance right by Circus Maximus. But once you enter a picturesque oasis on one of Rome’s seven hills is unveiled with historical treasures and postcard perfect views.

Nestled on top of the Aventine hill, the  quaint garden like sections dotted with orange trees spill away to reveal  some of the most breath-taking views of Rome’s cityscape.  Past the grimacing face of Giacomo Della Porta’s fountain, atop the hill is the famous keyhole view of the Vatican with a border of flowering plants within to attract the eye outward. Here the 5th century Santa Sabina Basilica and 10th century Savelli castle reside with remains of a drawbridge and towers. The castle was given to the Dominican order who then transformed it into a monastery. Saint Dominic is said to have planted the first bitter orange tree sapling brought from Spain.

The Orange Garden (Parco Savello), Via di Santa Sabina & Via Sant’alberto Magno

Free admission, open all year round.



Villa CelimontanaBasilica villa celimontanaFound on the Caelian hill, this park is in the company of greats. Neighbouring the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, Celio park has arguably the most magically beautiful  ancient basilica and a naturalistic  park with basking terrapins and pygmy pony rides.

Past the 16th century Villa Celimontana, the crunching gravel trails lead to the Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo dating from 398AD with underground ruins of Roman houses,  adjacent to a 12th c belltower. The basilica whispers of antique weddings and magic with chandeliers hanging in a row in the gloomy apses and heavy white material draped in rosettes over the chairs.

Villa Celimontana, Piazza della Navicella.

Open all year round, sunrise to sunset.



Villa BorgheseVilla Borghese is the park with everything. Along with its beautiful relaxed planning and dramatic hilltop views, it also boasts both a modern and classical gallery, a culturally informed cinema, boat rowing on an absurdly picturesque lake, cart rental, a zoo and so much more. Though right in the hectic centre above Piazza di Spagna and Piazza del Popolo  the park, in the style of a landscape English style garden is a haven and is sprawling enough for all to enjoy peacefully. The tree lined gravel avenues and green seductive corners are teamed prettily with busts of writers and artists. Spectacular views await in the ‘pincio’ area on the Piancian Hill, creating a stage for the city’s greatest monuments. The Borghese Gallery tempts the visitor with such baroque masterpieces as ‘The Rape of Proserpina’ by Bernini, and irresistible brooding works of the great Carravaggio.

History: Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V, a patron and art collector, began reworking gardens into way they are now. Informally open to the public, the commune of Rome made the park officially public in 1903.

Enter the park by Piazza del Popolo or by ascending the Spanish Steps and taking a left.


Galleria Borghese, Piazzale del Museo Borghese, 5

from Tuesday to Sunday: from 8.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m.

*Wait outside until groups allowed in at scheduled times.


National Gallery of Modern Art, Viale delle Belle Arti 131

Holds exhibitions of some of the world’s leading protagonists of modern art.

Open from Tuesday to Sunday 8.30am – 7.30pm; Temporary exhibitions 10.30am – 7.30pm  - Zoo in Villa Borghese




Leave a Reply