Why You Should Add These Pretty Parks in Rome to Your List

One of Rome's prettiest parks

It’s finally spring in Rome, and you know what that means — sunshine (well, usually), long days, increasingly warm nights… and time to take advantage of some of the best parks in Rome. Here are three of my favorite parks in Rome:

Monte Mario: Located on the highest hill in Rome, just to the northwest of the city center, Monte Mario park — not surprisingly — comes with some of the city’s best views. (Check out the shots above and below if you don’t believe me). Since it’s outside of the city center, north of Vatican City, it’s also one of Rome’s most peaceful parks. And it’s got a perk for astronomy geeks: This is where the Rome Observatory is, as well as the Museo Astronomico Copernicano — and this was the location used as the prime meridian, instead of Greenwich, for maps of Italy until the 1960s. Click here for the location of Monte Mario Park and its nature reserve. Monte Mario park, one of my favorite parks in Rome

Villa Borghese: Rome’s answer to Central Park, Villa Borghese dates back to the early 17th century, when it was the playground for the noble (and pope-producing) Borghese family. Today, locals and tourists alike take advantage of its tree-lined paths and green spaces, jogging, picnicking, even pedaling those funny 4- or 5-person contraptions (and threatening to take out anyone else in their way!). Here’s where to come to people-watch, admire the view of Piazza del Popolo from the Pincian hill, or to pop into one of the park’s several top-notch museums — the Galleria Borghese among them. (Below, part of the gardens at the Galleria Borghese). Click here for the location of the Borghese gardens. Flowers in the Villa Borghese, one of my favorite parks in Rome

Villa Pamphili: Rome’s biggest park, Villa Pamphili, located just west of Trastevere, is also one of its richest with both flora and fauna. Here’s where to come to go for a long jog, admire the fountains, or sit and admire swans swimming across the pond. (And as you can see from the photo, below, it’s pretty in the autumn, too!). Click here for the location of Villa Pamphili.

Villa Doria Pamphili, one of my favorite parks in Rome

Also: two facts about ancient Rome you probably didn’t know, why you should visit Rome’s only pyramid and why you might want to visit Naples.

If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.

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The Janiculum, the 8th Hill of Rome

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If you asked the
average traveler how many hills there are around Rome, you'd get one answer: "Seven."

But there are more. And the second-tallest of all of them, the Janiculum — not included in the seven because it's across the River Tiber from the ancient quarter — boasts Bramante's lovely Tempietto and Pope Paul V's 17th-century Fontana dell'Acqua Paola. But more crucially, it also serves up some of the city's best views. (Just see above).

To get up there without your own car, you can hike (for a long time) or take the 970 or 115 buses. Rome's transportation website can map your route for you; just remember that in Italian it's "Gianicolo," not "Janiculum." ("Passeggiata del Gianicolo" is the best to put in).

A caveat: Some people go up to the Janiculum at noon, when a cannon is fired to mark the time. That I don't recommend, unless you have lots of time to kill in Rome. There's just too much else to do during the day, and even if you're an avid photographer, the midday light will be flat. But if you can get there and back in the evening, just as the sun is setting, you might find it's a good way to see the city the only way it's peaceful: from far away. Just ignore the teenagers making out in their cars.

Click here for a map.

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