Enjoy the Tranquility of Rome's Parks
Rome is noted for its abundance of public parks and nature reserves, many of which were created by Italian aristocracy, such as the Villa Ada, Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Borghese, which are among the most popular to visit. Nature lovers may want to add one or more of Rome's spectacular public parks to their itinerary when exploring this ancient European city's wealth of cultural and historical attractions.
Villa Doria Pamphili is Rome’s largest landscaped public park and features a 17th century villa built for the Pamphili family, who were prominent in the Roman Catholic Church and politics in the 16th and 17th century. The family line died out in the 18th century and the estate passed on to Prince Giovanni Andrea IV Doria, hence the current name of the Villa. Visitors will find a carefully tended landscaped garden surrounding the majestic four-story building. A parterre garden with low clipped hedges, referred to as the giardino segreto (secret garden), is one of the highlights of the garden, with another being the rusticated grotto with its skillfully sculptured figures. Fountains, gateways and pathways add to the allure of the gardens and umbrella-shaped Italian stone pine trees fill the air with their crisp, invigorating scent.
The landscaped garden of Villa Borghese features a number of museums and other attractions, including Galleria Borghese – home to an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings and antiquities which was started by the nephew of Pope Paul V, Cardinal Scipione Borghese. Among the collection are a number of works by Italian artists Titian and Caravaggio, as well as works by Federico Barocci and Peter Paul Rubens. The park incorporates the Bioparca zoological garden which is home to more than 1,100 animals representing 222 species.
Rome's second largest park is Villa Ada, located in the northeastern region of the city. The park features a large lake that visitors can take a canoe out on, while pathways can be explored on foot or by bicycle. Large numbers of stone pine trees, laurels and holm oaks and a variety of bird species add to the tranquil atmosphere of the park – perfect for taking some time out from the hustle and bustle of the city of Rome.