Parco Savello, the Garden of Oranges

On the Aventine Hill there sits a lovely little park, famous for its beauty and breathtaking view. It’s the Parco Savello, named for the Savelli family fortress that once stood here. This little park is also known as the Giardino degli Aranci, the Garden of Oranges, named for the many bitter orange trees that grow here.

Before entering the garden, you pass a marvelous fountain, a combination of an ancient Roman bathtub and a giant grotesque marble “mask.” This is the Fontana del Mascherone di Santa Sabina, which is not to be confused with a similarly sounding “Fountain on the Mask” on Via Giulia.

The Fountain of the Mask, at the entrance to the Parco Savello

 

The Mask, which happily drools into the tub below

The giant marble mask was originally carved for a fountain built in 1593 by Giacomo della Porta.  The fountain ended up moving several times before it came to its current spot on the Aventino.

When you arrive at the garden, you see the surrounding walls that are a relic of the ancient fortress. Looking around this serene space, you walk along the pebble walkways, producing a satisfying crunch under your feet. You spot people strolling, children playing, and couples walking hand-in-hand. There are benches in the shade of the many trees, where people sit, reading, or just relaxing.

The park backs onto the venerable old Church of Santa Sabina: the apse side of this ancient church lies on one side of the park.

The rounded apse of Santa Sabina, seen from the Parco Savello

You’ll stroll through the orange trees and under the comforting umbrella pines.

The orange trees, under the umbrella pines

 

The back of the park is a belvedere, promising an amazing view of the Eternal City.

The view from the Orange Garden

 

More of the sweeping view from the Orange Garden belvedere

 

This is a peaceful haven — a respite from the wonderful, bustling chaos of the Eternal City.