You thought you knew Rome? maybe not towards the garden

Famous for its archaeological remains, its churches and its palaces, the Eternal City is also home to wonderful gardens, often less known, that promise immersion in greenery. Here is our selection.

Rome It is a lush and green city, with canopy pine trees and beautiful silhouettes with rounded tops. Its tree cover, which represents almost a quarter of its urban area according to a 2022 study by the European Environment Agency, makes it one of the greenest cities in Europe. Its legacy is attributed to the great papal families, who built villas surrounded by hunting estates, such as Villa Doria Pamphili, Villa Ada and Villa Borghese, the largest in Rome. But as well as these vast green expanses, there are also more intimate gardens, public or private, perfect for a leisurely break.

Farnese Garden (Horti Farneseani)

Farnese Garden (Horti Farneseani).
Dimitrios Pikros / Dimitrios – Stock.adobe.com

Located on the Palatine Hill, above the Domus Tiberiana, Rome’s first imperial palace, reopened last September after 50 years of work, these topiary gardens were created by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese at the end of the 16th century. Equipped with aviaries, statues, plant sculptures and fragrant orange trees, the Farnese garden, only a small part of which has survived, expresses all the interest of Renaissance scholars in antiquity. Peaceful and shady, they offer one of the most beautiful views of the Forum.
Ticket sales on website Colosseum Archaeological Park€16 entry.

L’Arto Botanico

Orto Botanico.
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Hidden from view in the heart of the Trastevere district, these 12 hectares of gardens are part of Villa Corsini, the prestigious residence of the Roman aristocracy. Along the silent paths, we find magnificent monumental trees, centuries-old cedars and cork oaks, a magnificent collection of bamboos, but also Mediterranean plants without forgetting orchids and greenhouses of succulent plants. Guided tours are strongly recommended for park lovers.

Orto Botanico, Open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. From €5 entry.

Villa Sciara

Villa Sciara.
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Still in the Trastevere district, but high on the slopes of the Janiculum, this delightful public garden (sometimes a little abandoned) has a long history, as evidenced by its fourth-century Syriac temple. Its main building, the Casino Barberini, houses the Italian Institute of German Studies. Decorated with exotic plants including Ginkgo Bilobas, the gardens feature beautiful fountains, stunning sculptures and a turtle lake.

Villa Selimontana

Villa Salimontana.
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On the Celio hill, between the Colosseum and the Baths of Caracalla, this public garden belongs to an aristocratic villa built in the 16th century on the site of ancient vineyards and groves. Home to the Italian Geographical Society, Villa Salimontana is a timeless place where ancient remains, Renaissance fountains, an Egyptian obelisk and a beautiful neo-Gothic temple coexist.

Colonna Garden

Colonna Garden.
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Adjacent to the grand palace of one of the most powerful Roman families, this garden, where Michelangelo lived, was built on the remains of a temple dedicated to Hercules and Dionysus. Ancient statues and Roman sarcophagi punctuate its paths lined with laurels and magnolias. At the top of the fountain, whose water cascades down the Quirinal hill, there is a view across the domes of Rome to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Colonna PalaceFrom €15 entry.

Aransi Garden

Giardino degli Arancii.
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Also called Savello Park, this terraced public garden offers a unique view over the Dome of St. Peter’s, overlooking the Tiber from the Aventine hill. Located behind the Santa Sabina Basilica, adjacent to the remains of a medieval fortress, the “Giardino degli Arancii” takes its name from its many orange trees grown in homage to Saint Dominic, who is said to have originated here. The first orange tree was brought back. The land of a 13th-century saint, a miraculous tree which he may have planted in this garden (actually in the cloister of the basilica).

Giardino Pencille Aldobrandini

Giardino Pencille Aldobrandini.
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This is definitely one of Rome’s best-secret public gardens. Surrounded by thick walls, it is located at the corner of Via Panisperna, at the beginning of Via Nazionale, invisible from the street. Accessible by a flight of steep stairs, this garden is a micro-oasis in the center of Roman chaos, decorated with cedars, cypresses, a giant plane tree, a fountain and statues. From the Giardino Pencille Aldobrandini, we admire the Militia Tower, a relic of medieval Rome.

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