If you are visiting Rome then be sure to include some of the world’s must see gardens on your itinerary.
Whether you are there for a few days or a few weeks, take time out from the hustle and bustle of this ancient, yet cosmopolitan, fast-paced city to seek out some quiet and peace in one or more of these famous gardens in Rome.
The history and evolution of the Italianate gardens, as we recognise them today is evident in the estates and parks that can be found throughout Rome and the surrounding areas.
Rome boasts some of the most stunning gardens in the world from beautiful Roman villas to the glorious renaissance estates.
From quiet, smaller gardens to the vast acres of the Rome botanical gardens and famous Villas, there is something here to pique your interest.
So, pack a picnic, chill a bottle of Prosecco and when in Rome do as the Romans do, escape the city heat to visit these stunning gardens.
We all recognise Rome as the city of incredible architecture, an abundance of history and great food but when you need a rest from all this, soak up the ambience and atmosphere found only in these fabulous green spaces and in most cases follow in the footsteps of Roman Emperors, world leaders and Popes. By visiting these lovely gardens you will be sure to see some of the best places in Rome.
Famous Gardens in Rome
The following gardens are my top 5 gardens to visit when in Rome. They include the famous Villa Borghese, where you could be wandering and enjoying the gardens for best part of a day, as well as the more intimate Rose Garden.
All have a sense of history, like the rest of Rome does, but most importantly they offer a cool, green, peaceful place to relax. Fountains and lakes cool the air. Birds are singing and in some of the gardens the views out over the city of Rome are quite breathtaking.
Villa Borghese Gardens
These beautiful landscaped gardens are designed in the naturalistic English style.
They contain a number of buildings, museums and other attractions. At almost 200 acres they are the third largest public park in Rome. The gardens were developed for the Borghese villa on the Pincian Hill in 1606 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who wanted to turn this former vineyard into the most extensive gardens built in Rome.
Today they are the most famous gardens in Rome
The gardens as they are now were remade in the early nineteenth century.
Open every day and entry is free.
As well as water clock and the Temple of Asclepius there are numerous points of interest such as museums, historical buildings, cafes and restaurants.
Rome Rose Garden
Rome Rose Gardeni is a public garden situated opposite the Circus Maximus on the Aventino Hill.
Established in 1931 The Rome Rose Garden covers 10,000 sq metres, there are over 1100 varieties of roses grown here.
Many of them are gifts from around the world.
The park also has an trial section where new varieties of roses are tested for their suitability for public and private gardens.
The site was originally the Rome Jewish cemetery. In 1934 the Jewish community of Rome obtained a section of the cemetery of ampo Verano In honour of the past of the garden, the footpaths are designed as a reproduction of the Menorah. The original design for the park was drawn up in 1931, with 300 roses.
The goals of the garden are to show different groups of roses, the products of early breeding of roses and modern roses such as Hybrid roses, miniature roses, rose shrubs, and modern climbers.
And also to demonstrate various gardening styles and uses of roses:
Blossoming swathes of colour, roses climbing over pergolas and pillars, “sculpted” rose shrubs, rambling roses, standards roses, roses with decorative autumn hips and rose hedges.
The Rome Rose Garden is free to visit and is open during the flowering season.
Gardens of Vatican City
A most serene, green space, which Popes have used as a peaceful spot for prayer since the Middle Ages.
Stroll around some of the 57 acres (23 hectares) of these private gardens that abound with cooling fountains, grottoes and flowers.
Learn about the history of the gardens, they were started as fruit orchards and vineyards in the 13th century and have evolved into the lavish, peaceful space that they are today.
During your guided walk, you’ll stop to see features like Our Lady of Lourdes grotto, a favorite prayer spot of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
Today’s Vatican Gardens contain a variety of medieval structures, buildings and monuments from the 9th century to the present day, all set amongst vibrant flower beds and topiary, lawns and a small forest.
The gardens are open for a small number of pre-booked guided tours.
The Orange Garden
Situated on the Aventine Hill, is a former bitter orange grove and one of Rome’s best kept secrets of Rome. The Orange Garden, secluded behind the ancient Basilica of Santa Sabina. Find the keyhole viewing point through hedges of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
These gardens are a Mecca and escape for carefree Romans and locals picnicking on the pristine dark green lawns, dotted with fallen oranges.
The garden is a romantic getaway with the most incredible views of the City of Rome, River Tiber and the many domes of Rome.
Created by architect Raffaele de Vico, creator of many of Rome’s best known green spaces, the Orange Garden is a fantastic place to get away from it all for a few hours.
At the centre of the Orange Garden is a wide avenue lined by two planted squares. In one of them stands a beautiful fountain, that has seen a rather chequered history.
Comprised of two parts, a mask and a bathtub, the mask was used to decorate a fountain designed in 1593, it was moved from the old cattle market in the Roman Forum in 1827 to adorn a fountain along the Tiber. The marble mask was moved again and stored in a municipal warehouse before being installed inthe Orange Garden, where it remains in full working order.
The parks avenues and history make this garden a popular spot to visit.
Entry is free.
Rome Botanical Gardens
Rome’s botanical gardens in Trastevere are one of the few gardens that charge an entrance fee. The 30 acres of green space are a haven from the bustling city racing beyond the garden walls.
Here, more than 3000 species of plants have a home.
The garden is located behind the Corsini Palace since 1883.
The uniqueness of this serene garden is that it is an archeological site as well as a botanical garden. There are many architectural discoveries of considerable historical and artistic interest within its grounds.
There are four greenhouses on the grounds, the Corsini Greenhouse, the Monumental Greenhouse, the French Greenhouse and the Tropical Greenhouse. Each one contains various plants that are not native to the Italy, like cacti from America and Africa and lush trees and flowering plants from the Amazon Rainforest. These miniature ecosystems offer a fascinating insight to plants from around the world.
The garden’s arboretum is a home to 60 different types of coniferous trees, including sequoias and pines, as well as 35 different types of palm trees.
Housed together are trees from all over the world, tall California sequoias, an Afghan palm tree that grows horizontally and Wollemia pine from Australia. Enjoy a journey through these cool, peaceful forests.
Other highlights include
Villa d’Este Tivoli
One can’t discuss Rome’s gardens without including the world famous 16th century Villa d’Este
Villa d’Este, is quite simply a masterpiece of an Italian Garden, and, rightly so is listed as an UNESCO world heritage site
This terraced, hillside garden with its Monumental fountains, nymphs, grottoes, water organ, and music, is a feat of Roman engineering.
The gardens boast no less than 51 fountains and nymphaea, 255 waterfalls and 60 pools. They truly are a wondrous vision. They also serve to cool the air and make you feel refreshed even on the hottest days.
These gardens are magical and have wowed visitors from all over the world. The baroque and mannerist designs have influenced many European gardens.
The imposing constructions and series of terraces over more terrace, invoke images of the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
For further reading on the Villa d’Este visit the World Heritage page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1025
I hope I have found some gardens here to entice you out of the usual city tourist spots of Rome, to encourage you to find a more natural and green setting to enjoy for a few hours.
Rome is a fascinating and enthralling city but do make time to spend some quiet moments with nature too.
I love to hear about your visits to gardens so please do add your comments and views to the comments box below and please share with your friends and family.