If you fly over Rome, you will see a sea of green; but on the ground, the parks, with the exception of Villa Borghese, seem a bit difficult to find. The reason for this is that many have walls around them, as they were once the private hunting grounds and gardens of the nobles. In fact, many park names carry the word “villa” in the sense of residence and they do indeed have some fabulous buildings in them, many of which house museums and attractions.Certain parks are guided tour attractions in their own right, especially the Appian Way, where you can visit the catacombs. Parks are a great place to go with children, for a bike ride, or just to get away from it all. In summer, many host music and theatre that are part of the Estate Romana programme.
Add: Via Appia Antica
If you live on the Via Appia you are extremely wealthy. The park is like being in the countryside, including herdsman, whilst being only 15 minutes from the Colosseum. Most people come down here to see the catacombs but you should allow time for a walk or cycle along original tracts of a road that is 2500 years old.
Add: Piazza della Navicella, 12
Villa Celimontana is the home of open-air summer jazz in Rome. It is found at the top of the Caelian Hill and is best known for its Italian gardens. Within the many pathways, where the second king of Rome was said to have fallen in love with a water nymph, there is even a real Egyptian obelisk.
Add: Via Aurelia Antica
Villa Pamphili is a big open space in the NW of the city with some beautiful gardens. It is a favourite destination for dog owners and anyone wanting a kick about. There are pony rides for children and the park is also home to one of the capital’s oldest rugby clubs.
Add: Largo Cristina di Svezia 24
The Orto Botanico di Roma, is operated by the Sapienza University of Rome and covers 12 hectares on the slopes of the Janiculum. Entrance is free but it is closed on Mondays and in August. The Greenhouses contain bonsai, carnivorous plants, euphorbia and orchids. Outside are a Japanese garden and a garden of medicinal plants.
Add: Via San Gregorio
The Caelian Park, sited on one of the seven hills, is a favourite among newlyweds for photographs. In fact, the views from aloft take in the Colosseum. It is a great place to watch the sun go down or come up. In summers there is a swimming pool and an open-air club