Tips and advice

Secret Parks in Rome

Rome is a-flurry with people, sounds and visual delights so it’s not surprising that a visit can leave your senses a bit assaulted. Although Rome’s historically famous for its ancient Empire whose ruins you can’t escape, dotted all around the city, from the impressive Coliseum to the looming dome of St Peter’s Basilica, the city also has some hidden areas to explore – and some only the locals know. So alongside these must-see monuments, take some time-out to enjoy a bit of rest and relaxation in some of Rome’s greenest of oases. In no particular order, our favourite verdant spaces are as follows... Villa Borghese There’s no escaping this little pocket of greenery which sits in the middle of the city, coincidentally in the shape of a heart. Villa Borghese is one of the most popular spots for love-struck teenagers and elderly veterans alike and is a handy resource for a quiet break. With 148 acres to explore, its green meadows and manicured lawns are there to host picnics and Frisbee games, as well as sooth sore feet and unclutter busy minds. In the park are elegant temples and classic buildings, inspired by English architecture, which provide a stunning backdrop and perfect photo opportunity. Within walking distance from most major attractions, you can find it at the top of the Piazza del Poplo – where the Pincio will offer you a great viewpoint over the city, too – and is a safe option for those travelling with a family as there are plenty of toy-selling kiosks and ice cream vendors at hand! Villa Aldobrandini For something a bit more romantic and private, and dare we say it, more adult (sorry kids), Villa Aldobrandini is a tiny stamp sized garden nestled between the Trevi Fountain and Coliseum, up a hill to the East of the Vittorio Emmaneuel monument. Tree lined paths and handy benches make it the perfect stop-off if you’ve been exploring the Roman Forum and are working your way back into the city. If you walk to the very edge, you can overlook the Wedding Cake, the Roman's name for the big white Vittorio Emmanuele, and watch the world go by underneath your feet. Giardino delle Arance If secrecy and seclusion are your thing then the Giardino delle Arance, or Orange Garden to you and me, is just the one. A gorgeous private garden for you and your loved one to explore, or for your kids to pick an orange or two off the trees (there are plenty to go round), it’s an urban oasis and promises spectacular views over the city. Along the banks of the Tiber, to the left of Circus Maximus and the Aventine Hill, you can see the dome of St Peter’s Basilica and the terracotta topped buildings that stretch across the Eternal City. If you’re after a view to remember, go at dusk when you can see the city illuminate under nightfall and you’re guaranteed a bit of calm as the park is at its quietest. Just across the river is Trastevere, the perfect place to find a delicious local meal to finish off your evening in true Roman style. Villa Ada Villa Ada is great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city as it lies slightly out of the centre to the northeast. Best reached by local buses, it’s a huge expanse of green with windy paths through its impressive 450 acres and peaks at a historical summit, Monte Antenne. With a picturesque lake, you’d never think you were in Rome as Villa Ada transports you into a rural, exotic setting with squawking parrots in the trees, bright flowers in bloom and thick grassy fields. A great park if you’re in Rome for a few days and have time to spare out of your busy sightseeing itinerary, and great if you have kids – let them run wild and free and expend all their energy while you sit back and relax with a book. Villa Doria Pamphilj As Rome’s largest landscaped park, Villa Doria Pamphilj is actually the name of the monumental seventeenth century villa (or palace) whose landscaped meadows stretch for over 1.8km2. Up on the Janiculum, it was nicknamed the Bel Respiro, or beautiful breath, thanks to the spectacular views from its post up high on the hill. Much like Villa Borghese this park drew heavily on the classical English influences and is reminiscent of 18th century gardens in Stowe and Stourhead. So if you’re an Anglophile and know your classic architecture, this park has your name on it, not to mention for the Sound of Music qualities. That is of course substituting the Alps for a Mediterranean vista and ancient ruins. With the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card you can save both time and money and make your trip to Rome that extra bit easier. With Fast Track Entry and free admission into Rome's most popular sights, as well as a 3 day travelcard included, it's your all-inclusive ticket to a stress-free vacation. Find out more, here...

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