The Green Side of Rome

Giardino degli Aranci

There are countless beautiful parks in Rome. From the aristocratic splendour of Villa Borghese in the city center to the atmospheric Roman ruins of the Parco degli Acquedotti (Aqueduct Park) in the southern part of Rome. In-between Colosseum tours and sightseeing in the streets of the historic centre, make sure you take a break in one of these Roman parks. Is there anything better then recharging under the shade of the umbrella pines?

The best parks in Rome

These are some of the best – and biggest – Roman parks:

Villa Borghese – One of the most famous parks in Rome, just a short walk from the Spanish Steps. Originally a private garden, Villa Borghese still retains an air of aristocracy, with its shady, sculpture-lined avenues and boating lake. The Borghese Gallery is located in the middle of the park, and has one of the best collections of art in Rome. This collection includes paintings by Titian and Caravaggio, and some of Bernini’s greatest masterpieces.

Villa Doria Pamphili – The biggest landscaped park in Rome, located near the suburban neighbourhoods of Monteverde and Gianicolense. This is the perfect place for a picnic, and to get away from the crowds. The massive size of the park means that you can always find a secluded spot.

Villa Doria Pamphili
Villa Doria Pamphili (source: General Cucombre via Wikimedia Commons)

Further in the Southern part of Rome

Appia Antica/Parco della Caffarella – This sprawling green space is hard to define. It’s without a doubt one of the best (and biggest) green spaces in the city. The Via Appia Antica (the Appian Way) is an ancient road surrounded by gorgeous fields and parks, as well as some amazing Roman ruins. Even though you’re just a few kilometres away from the city centre, it feels like you’re in the countryside. Take the 118 bus or hire a bike to get to Appia Antica, or hop on the metro (line A to Colli Albani) for the Caffarella entrance.

Parco degli Acquedotti – As the name suggests, this park is noteworthy for the magnificent remains of Roman aqueducts. Although there are more central Roman parks, few are quite as impressive as this one, or as cinematic. The Aqueduct Park makes an appearance in La Dolce Vita and La Grande Bellezza for example. If you’re staying in Rome for more than a few days, it’s well worth the metro journey (line A to Giulio Agricola).

Parco degli Acquedotti
Parco degli Acquedotti (source: Wikimedia Commons)

Roman parks, gardens and green spaces

There are so many beautiful Roman parks and green spaces that deserve a mention. Here are some of the highlights, all located in the centre:

Circus Maximus – Once a stadium for chariot-racing, the Circus Maximus is now an open public space with a variety of functions. It’s an archaeological site, a venue (for concerts and the occasional opera), and is also one of the most central parks in Rome. Come here to soak up in the sun in the winter, or for a twilight picnic in the summer.

Circus Maximus
Circus Maximus (source Wikimedia Commons)

Giardino degli Aranci – Also known as Parco Savello, the Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden) is one of the most picturesque and romantic Roman parks. It’s located on the top of the Aventine Hill, and is famous for its terrace. Here you can enjoy a stunning view of the city centre, with the dome of St Peter’s Basilica right in the middle. Understandably, it’s a favorite spot for loved-up couples, wedding photos, and tourists taking selfies. The Orange Garden is most peaceful early in the morning, but there’s also something special about sunset and l’ora blu – the blue hour.

Orto Botanico/Botanic Gardens – Tucked away down a side street near Piazza Trilussa is the entrance to Rome’s Botanic Gardens – a green haven in the city centre. Explore the tropical greenhouse and Japanese garden before heading back to Trastevere for some Roman street life.

Also worth a mention is the secret garden above one of Rome’s busiest shopping streets, Via Nazionale – Villa Aldobrandini. It’s located on top of some ancient ruins, and feels truly hidden away. It’s a great place to rest in the shade, for a break in-between shopping or sightseeing.

The Palatine Hill: one of the most beautiful green spaces in Rome

Finally, don’t miss a trip to the Palatine Hill as part of your Colosseum and Roman Forum tour. Although it’s not usually mentioned as one of the main parks in Rome, it’s certainly one of the loveliest green spaces in the historic centre. In ancient times, Roman emperors and aristocracy chose to live in palatial villas on the breezy, shady Palatine (the origin of the word “palace”), in order to escape the heat and noise of the city. It still feels like something of an oasis today. Also, it’s the perfect place to admire views of the Forum and the Circus Maximus.

The Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill (source: Jean-Pol Grandmont via Wikimedia Commons)

Join a Palatine tour with Roads to Rome Private Tours for the best of both worlds. We will combine sightseeing and a walk in the park in one tour, how amazing is that?

Read more: The 12 best parks in Rome (Lonely Planet)

Written by Alexandra Turney

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