Six of the Most Romantic Gardens in Rome
12 September 2016
With its crumbling ruins, historic bridges, pretty parks, and dimly lit trattorias, Rome is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most romantic cities. And when the sun is shining, how better to soak up the city’s amorous atmosphere than with a leisurely walk through one of its many beautiful gardens? From havens of tranquillity in the centre of the city to sprawling green spaces, here are six of the most beautiful gardens in Rome to explore on your next romantic break.
The Orange Garden
The Orange Garden (Giardino degli Aranci) may be petite, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in scenery. The pocket-sized park overlooks the river Tiber and offers impressive panoramic views of the city and St Peter’s Basilica. And as the name suggests, the Orange Garden is so called because of the groves of orange trees that offer shade from the summer sun. On arrival, pay special attention to the fountain at the entrance, which is thought to be the face of river god Oceanus. After exploring the park, stop by the adjacent Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, a small square that’s famous for its keyhole lookout point over St Peter’s Basilica.
The grounds of Villa Borghese offer one of the largest gardens in Rome, and have plenty to entertain visitors on a summer’s day, including a large lake overlooked by the Temple of Aesculapius, which is ideal for a romantic boat trip. There are also beautiful landscaped gardens and a host of fascinating attractions, from the sculptures of the Museo Pietro Canonica and attractions like the National Gallery of Modern Art and Museo Carlo Bilotti, to a theatre pavilion modelled on Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. There’s also the grand Villa Borghese itself, which was built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese and hosts Galleria Borghese.
Orto Botanico, Rome’s botanical gardens, is one of the city’s most beautiful hidden spaces. The lesser-known garden consists of 30 acres of quiet lawns, tree-shaded expanses and over 8,000 species of rare and tropical plant life that have been cultivated over decades by the Sapienza University of Rome. For a small entrance fee, green-fingered visitors can explore the striking grounds, which were once the private gardens of Palazzo Corsini, home of the princely Corsini family.
As romance and roses go hand in hand, The Rose Garden (Giardino delle Rose) is an obvious choice for couples. A magical escape in the heart of the city, the public garden is filled with over 1,000 different rose varieties from all over the world, each flower having its own distinctive colour and scent. One of the most popular gardens in Rome, the Rose Garden is open during the spring, when the roses are in bloom.
Villa d'Este in Tivoli is so special that it’s been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace and its magnificent gardens are remarkable illustrations of Renaissance culture and architecture at its best. The 16th century Italian-style garden is a particularly popular spot, with a picturesque pond, fountains and landscaped lawns decorated with ornamental basins. Take a stroll through the grounds to walk in the footsteps of the Roman noblemen who once called the villa home.
On the outskirts of Rome is a huge area of protected land, the Appia Antica Regional Park (Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica). The whole site covers over 8,000 acres, which includes both public and private land, residences and gardens. Visitors can enjoy a tour, take a self-guided walk, or cycle around the beautifully landscaped grounds and around its fascinating archaeological areas. It’s easy to spend a whole afternoon getting lost at Appia Antica Regional Park, especially on a summer’s day.
When staying at Hotel de Russie, discover our secret courtyard garden, a green oasis in the heart of the city.
Image credits: Fountains In Villa D'Este Garden© iStock/Massimo Merlini, Villa Borghese © iStock/marinzolich, Rose garden © iStock/MarisaPerez, Parco degli Acquedotti © iStock/Paolo Cipriani