Rome’s Green Spaces

With many of us becoming accustomed to social distancing, post-pandemic tourism gives us an added reason to appreciate Rome’s green spaces. More than providing beautiful locales for exercise or picnics, the parks and nature spots in and around Rome are a large part of what defines the city (The Pines of Rome, anyone?) Skipping these spaces would be like seeing just half of the Eternal City.

According to the city government, over a third of Rome’s public space comprises parks and garden, making it the greenest of Italy’s major cities.

We start with the largest park nearest the apartment. Villa Borghese is a peaceful, leafy expanse with walking paths, fountains, statues, a water clock, and much more.  It is an excellent park to take children to, as you can rent bikes, multi-person peddle-carts (with a surrey on top), and boats on the lake.

Carabinieri (with sabers) on horseback at Villa Borghese

Its centerpiece is the famous art collection of Galleria Borghese, but that’s not the only museum in the park. Villa Medici, with its own lovely grounds, is at Villa Borghese,

Villa Medici

Villa Giulia, with its collection of Etruscan antiquities, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (a.k.a., GNAM), various academies, a zoo (Bioparco), and other attractions also located in Villa Borghese.

A small part of Villa Giulia’s beautiful grounds

If Villa Borghese’s 150 acres are too cramped for you, Villa Ada’s 450 acres may suit you. It’s located in the northern part of the city, where its many trees and picturesque lake provide a home to squirrels, hedgehogs, rabbits, and a variety of birds. You can also rent canoes and bikes here. In the summertime, Villa Ada hosts a major music festival. You will need to take a bus to reach the park.

Also larger than Borghese is Villa Doria Pamphili, which surrounds a 17th century palazzo and is located on the Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo).

If you’re headed to the Aventine Hill, you can visit the Orange Garden, a lovely spot with a remarkable view of the city,

The Orange Garden atop the Aventine Hill

Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, Villa Doria Pamphili and the Orange Garden are open to the public. These are some of the grandest such places. But as you discover Rome, you’ll find many smaller quiet, green refuges.

The Protestant Cemetery (donation encouraged) and the Baths of Caracalla (ticketed entrance) also provide lovely green respites from the city’s bustle.

The Protestant Cemetery
Baths of Caracalla, with a modern art installation

Aside from parks, if you’re just looking for green spaces, there are the many tree-lined streets.

A tree lined street near the Pyramid of Caius Cestius

There’s also the plethora of peaceful gardens within villas and palazzos, many of which you can visit.

A Roman residential courtyard

Just south of the city center is the Via Appia park (you can even rent a bike or scooter to get there if want). There’s also Ostia Antica, which normally charges a low entrance fee but participates in free-entrance days. It’s just a 20 minute ride from the Piramide metro station on a normal metro transit ticket.

Ostia Antica is a large and marvelous green space

These are just a handful of green spaces Rome has to offer. If you’re itching to get back out there, the Eternal City is more than just a living museum… it’s also a place where you can find space and natura.