Rome’s Municipal Rose Garden (Roseto Comunale) is located on the Aventine Hill, in the Via di Valle Murcia and apart from (especially while the renowned competition is going on) being an interesting tourist attraction in its own right, it also offers a gorgeous view of a.o. the Palatine Hill and the Circus Maximus. It also hosts the Premio Roma, an extremely prestigious annual rose competition (see below for dates and hours in 2014).
Rose Garden Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via di Valle Murcia – 00153 Rome (tel. +39 065746810). Metro: Circo Massimo. Bus: 81, 628 (stop: Circo Massimo-Roseto Comunale). Opening hours 2018: From October 15th till 28th from 08.30 till 18.00 the Rose Garden will be open for the autumn bloom. Admission: Free. Guided tours can be arranged by phone or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Handicapped: There is a special entrance at the Clivo dei Publicii, 3.)
History and description
Already in the 3rd century BC the area where the Roseto is located was a place where flowers were grown and through the years it stayed a site of vineyards and flower gardens.
In the year 1645 it became the Garden of the Jews(Orto degli Ebrei) and it remained that way until the year 1934, when the Jewish cemetery was moved to the Verano. For years nothing was done with the land until 1950, when it became the new seat of the rose garden.
The Roseto Comunale, then in the Colle Oppio park, had become Rome’s official Rose Garden in 1932, at the initiative of (Countess) Mary Gailey Senni, who was married to an Italian nobleman. The following year the Premio Roma was organized for the first time.
When the new Roseto was opened, an obelisk was placed at its entrance, commemorating its former use as a sacred Jewish site. Moreover, the alleys dividing the various sections of the gardens were organized in the shape of the Jewish menorah.
The Roseto has around 1.100 different species of roses on display. The higher, bigger part of the garden contains the permanent collection, while the lower part shows the roses that participated in the Premio Roma.
Rome‘s Villa Celimontana, which is located on the western slope of the Celio hill and at only a short distance from the Colosseum, acquired its present name in the year 1925. The park was founded in the year 1580 by the Mattei family.
Villa Celimontana Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via della Navicella, 12 – Rome. Opening hours: 07.00 till 19.00. Admission: Free.
History Villa Celimontana Rome
Already in ancient times the Celio hill was famous for its lush vegetation and abundant spring water. It used to be called Mons Querquetulanus (“Mount of Oaks”). Later it became a vineyard, which Duke Ciriaco Mattei in the 16th century transformed into a park.
The works lasted from 1581 till 1586. The architect was Giacomo del Duca, who in the past had worked with Michelangelo. In 1597 Giovanni and Domenico Fontana added a number of fountains, sculptures and other decorations.
In the 19th century the park was transformed into an English garden. There were three secret gardens and even an obelisk that in 1582 was taken from the Ara Coeli and donated to Ciriaco Mattei by the city. The obelisk originally came from Heliopolis. Ramses II had dedicated it to the sun god Ra.
Ciriaco‘s son Gian Battista changed the building into a private residence and bought more land in order to enlarge the gardens. He also had a labyrinth of hedges inserted.
Later the villa’s collections disappeared and the villa itself changed ownership. In 1813 the Spanish minister Manuel Godoy had the gardens transformed into a park.
In 1915 it was bought by the state and 10 years later it was aquired by the city and made into a public park.
The present entrance to the Villa is found on the Via Celimontana, near the Piazza della Navicella and the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Domnica. Its original entrance was on the northern side, at the Piazza SS. Giovanni e Paolo.
Entering the park at the main entrance you immediately see the main building. This is called Palazzetto Mattei and houses the Italian Geographic Society.
If you follow the Viale Cardinale Francesco Spellman from here, you will come to some archeological ruins, followed by a neo-Gothic temple. The archeological ruins stem from the times of Trajan and Flavius. A great part of what was found during excavations is on display in the Vatican Museums.
There is a Belvedere, which overlooks the Semenzaio di San Sisto. On your left the obelisk of Ramses II is visible. There are a number of 17th century fountains and other decorations. Unfortunately many of the fountains Gian Lorenzo Bernini had made to embellish the villa have disappeared.
Villa Celimontana, which makes a far more natural impression than the more famous Villa Borghese, is full of statues and columns. There is also an obelisk, which was given to Ciriaco Mattei after having spent the first part of its Roman existence (until the middle of the 19th century) at the foot of the steps of the Ara Coeli, was brought to the Eternal City from Heliopolis and dedicated by Ramses II to the God of the Sun, Ra.
There is a small children’s playground in the Villa Celimontana and every summer the park hosts a jazz festival. You can rent ponies near the playground.
The Villa Celimontana is bordered by the San Gregorio al Celio Park.
Rome’s best known parks are the villas that were built by the aristocrats in the Renaissance period. Unfortunately, many of these parks and gardens were destroyed at the end of the 19th century. After Rome became the capital of the new state of Italy, many new inhabitants arrived. Of course these people needed to live somewhere, so new houses needed to be constructed. For this, space was needed and thus many parks were demolished.
The Villa Celimontana is one of the least landscaped and most unspoilt parks in Rome. This central park is also known for the annual jazz festival that is held in the month of June. Although very centrally located (no more than a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum), it is hardly visited by tourists.
Roseto Comunale (Rose Garden)
The Rose Garden (Roseto Comunale) is located on the Aventine hill. Every year a major international rose competition is held here. In addition to the garden itself, the view is also a major attraction. On the other side of the Circus Maximus you can see the beautiful skyline of the Palatine.
Orange Garden (Giardino degli Aranci)
The Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden) is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic places in Rome. The official name of this beautiful garden is Parco Savello, but the Romans hardly ever call it that. The main attraction of the garden, apart from the orange trees, is the beautiful view over the city.
Colle Oppio Park
The Colle Oppio Park is located across the road from the Colosseum. It contains number of ruins, including the Domus Aurea and the Terme di Traiano). The main attraction, however, is the view: On the south side of this hill one looks down on the Colosseum itself.
The Villa Ada is the largest park in the city, and contains some ancient ruins and the Catacombs of Priscilla. In the summer the Villa Ada forms the background of the famous World Music Festival “Roma Incontra il Mondo”.
Parco degli Acquedotti
The Park of the Aqueducts didn’t get its name for nothing. In some places in this park, which is especially popular on Sunday afternoons, you can walk for miles along an old Roman aqueduct. In the shadow of the monuments, Romans are picnicking.
The Villa Sciarra is a not too large park on the foothills of the Gianicolo hill in Trastevere. It is full of sculpture groups and was donated to Mussolini in 1930 by the American owner, on the condition that he would turn it into a public park.
Although the Villa Borghese is Rome’s most famous park, both the Villa Ada and the Villa Pamphilj are bigger. The Villa Ada is located in the north-eastern part of the city and is best known for its annual World Music Festival Roma Incontra il Mondo. It is also called the Villa Ada Savoia.
Villa Ada Rome
Opening hours and admission
Opening hours: Sunrise until sunset. Closed: Never. Admission: Free.
History and description
In the 17th century the Irish College had its seat here. Most of the area was then used for agricultural purposes. Towards the end of the 18th century the wealthy Pallavicini family acquired the land and turned it into a villa.
The Villa Ada was later owned by the House of Savoy, Italy’s former royal family. The Savoy had their residence here from 1872 until 1878, the year the park was acquired by the Swiss count Tellfner. The count named the villa after his wife. The royal family repurchased the land in 1904, but decided to keep the name Villa Ada.
After World War II the royal family was deposed and Italy became a republic. They also lost most of their possessions, including the Villa Ada.
Part of the Villa Ada is still privately owned. The Egyptian Embassy has its seat here, but most of it has been turned into a public park. There is artificial lake and a huge variety of trees, including a rare metasequoia, which was brought to Rome (from Tibet) in 1940.
There is a swimming pool and one can rent bicycles and canoes and go horse riding.
During the summer months the Vill aAda hosts “Rome Meets the World“, an anti-racist world music festival.
Th highest point of the Villa Ada is called Monte Antenna. Antemnae (“before the river”) was an old Roman village of which some archeological remains are left.
Admission is free. The Villa Borghese is officially opened from sunrise till sunset. In reality you can more or less enter the park whenever you want. However, it is definitely not recommended to enter the park at night, especially for women.
Villa Borghese Rome
Until 1605 what is now the Villa Borghese area had been used as a vineyard and in antiquity was known as the Gardens of Lucullus.
The Villa Borghese was constructed in the early 17th century. It was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who was a nephew of the then Pope Paul V. His former residence is now the seat of the Galleria Borghese, one of the city’s most popular museums. The architect of this palace was Flaminio Ponzio, who had based his design on sketches by the cardinal himself.
The gardens were divided into a wooded section, a wilder, more natural-looking section and a more landscaped part with lots of statues, sculptures and fountains.
Architects who participated in the project were Jerome Rainaldi and Vasanzio, who was Dutch and was really called Jan van Staten.
In the 19th century the Villa Borghese was remodeled after English examples.
In 1903 the city of Rome bought the Villa Borghese and made it into a public park, which it in reality it had already been for a long time.
Highlights Villa Borghese
The southern part of the park, between the Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps is taken up by the Pincio Hill. Especially from the part nearest the Spanish Steps you can enjoy a gorgeous view over the rooftops and church domes of the historical center. The Casina Valadier and the Villa Medici are two beautiful palaces along the way. The latter is the seat of the French Academy in Rome and sometimes hosts exhibitions.
The Piazza di Siena is not really a square, but a sandy area used for equestrian dressage and jumping. Concerts are held here as well. It was created towards the end of the 18th century, by Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese. The square was supposed to be similar to the Piazza del Campo in Siena, city of origin of the Borghese family. Construction was not completed until after the prince’s death. From that moment it became a spot for popular festivals and other events. Nowadays it hosts the famous Concorso Ippico Internazionale “Piazza di Siena”.
It is almost next to a small and rather badly maintained play area for children, which includes a library/bookstore.
The above-mentioned Galleria Borghese is the most famous one of the museums in this park. It is found in the north-eastern section of the park and houses an important sculpture and painting collection.
The entrance to the Zoo (Bioparco) is not far from the Galleria Borghese.
The Villa Giulia is the seat of the Etruscan Museum. Even if you are not interested in the museum itself, the courtyard of this palace is extremely picturesque and can be entered for free. The villa is named after Pope Julius II, who had his residency here.
The white marble building next to the Etruscan Museum is the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. This palace was, quite unusual for Rome, specifically built to house the city’s modern art collection. The best chance you will ever have to get an overview of the major Italian art movements of the 20th century.
The Fortezzuola is a Gothic garden, with a number of sculptures by Pietro Canonica.
The so-called English Pavilion houses the British School in Rome and is designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
There is an artificial lake in the middle of the park. You can rent canoes and rowboats or you can walk around this lake and look at all the statues surrounding it. The small temple on an island near the western bank of the lake is dedicated to Aesculapius. The Temple of Aesculapius was built in the 18th century and consists of a portico with a triangular pediment supported by four Ionic capitals. There are several Greek statues on its roof. Behind the portico there is a statue of Aesculapius himself. The small bridge leading to the island cannot be used by the public.
The Villla Borghese is a great environment to take your children to, as there are many things to see and do in the park. Apart from the above-mentioned zoo, there are several playgrounds, a special library for children and a huge inflatable slide. Skaters show off their skills, bicycles and segways can be hired and there is a little train going through the park as well.
Address and public transport
The Villa Borghese has several entrances. The easiest ones to reach from the center are found at the Piazzale Flaminio (metro Flaminio), the Spanish Steps (metro Spagna) and the Via Veneto (metro Barberini). The Villa Borghese lies partly in the rione Campo Marzio, partly in the quartiere Pinciano.
The Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome is surrounded by a small park, which is called Parco di Mole Adriana. The castle was initially built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian and his family, and this is reflected by the name of the park.
Castel Sant’Angelo Gardens Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza Adriana – Rome. The Castel Sant’Angelo Gardens are opened from April until September from 07.00 till 21.00 and the rest of the year from o7.00 till 19.00 hours. Admission is free.
History and description
The grounds around the Castel Sant’Angelo have been used as a park since 1911. However, it was not until the 1930’s that they were given their present design by Attilio Spaccarelli. They were created for the Esposizione Universale di Roma. The war interfered however and the exposition never took place in the end.
The gardens consist of three parts on different levels, which are connected by impressive stairs. The part with the pine trees is one of the few green areas in an otherwise nature-free neighborhood. The lowest part is what used to be the moat of the castle. The walkway on the walls around the castle is sometimes used for exhibitions and other events.
The last restoration of the gardens took place in 1999.
The former moat contains a fairly dilapidated children’s playground.
The Vatican Gardens are formed by a number of gardens, parks and even a small wood and take up more than half (23 hectares) of the grounds of the Vatican City in Rome. The Giardini Vaticani are adorned with numerous statues and fountains that are placed all over the gardens. There are also several buildings, including the one from which Radio Vaticano transmits their broadcasts, plus small fortresses and other medieval monuments.
Vatican Gardens Rome
Opening hours and admission
Visiting the gardens is only possible by making a reservation for a guided tour through the website of the Vatican itself. This tour takes approximately two hours, the first 30 minutes of which will be by bus. The price of a ticket is 32 Euros, but children between 6 and 18 years of age and students younger than 26 pay only 24 Euros. A visit to the Vatican Museums (without guide) is included in this ticket. Opening hours: Every day, except Wednesday and Sunday. When making the reservation online, one can choose the date, time and language of the tour. The Roma Pass cannot be used. The Omnia Vatican & Rome Card can.
History and Description
In the early middle ages the area was already used for orchards and vineyards, but it was during the ages of Renaissance and Baroque that the Vatican Gardens came into being. In 1279, when Pope Nicholas III returned to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace, he had walls put around the grounds and an orchard, a field and a garden created within these walls.
In the early 16th century, under Pope Julius II, the gardens were redesigned. Bramante‘s original concept was divided into 3 parts: the Cortile del Belvedere, de Cortile della Biblioteca and the Cortile della Pigna. He also had a labyrinth (traditionally a popular part of Renaissance gardens) created.
Bramante also replaced the earlier walls with a rectilinear and very wide one.
According to legend the grounds of the Volgens de overlevering is op de grond van de Vatican Gardens were covered with earth brought from Golgotha by Saint Helena, in order to symbolically unite the blood of Christ with that of the thousands of early Christians that had been prosecuted by Nero.
Vatican Gardens Highlights
An artificial grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.
An olive tree, which was a gift of the Israeli government.
The Villa Pia, a summer house built in 1560 by Pirro Ligorio for Pope Pius IV.
The Aqueduct Park (Parco degli Acquedotti) is a huge park in the Appio Claudio district of Rome. As the name indicates, the main attraction of this park is the presence of some extremely well-preserved aqueducts.
Parco degli Acquedotti Rome
There are no less than seven different aqueducts that travel through the park. These are the AnioVetus, the AnioNovus, the AquaMarcia, the Tepula, the Iulia, the AquaClaudia and the AcquedottoFelice.
The Felice Aqueduct, still working, is the most recently constructed of all Roman aqueducts. It was built in 1585, by Sixtus V, using the already existing arches of the Acquedotto Marcio.
The Via del Quadraro can boast the tallest arches (almost 28 meters) of the Claudio Aqueduct, as well as a number of other finds, including a number of sepulchral monuments, a temple (or mausoleum), a small colombario, an inn with thermal baths and what is left of the basolato (a type of large tile made of volcanic rock, used to pave the streets in ancient Roman times) of the Via Latina. (At the moment these have not been dug up yet, and can therefore not be visited.)
The Casale di Roma Vecchia takes its name from the nearby Villa dei Sette Bassi. Since the area in which the ruins were found was quite extensive, in the 18th century it was thought that these were part to another ancient city similar to Rome. The Casale is a house with a tower in a strategic position on the Via Latina, between the Aqua Claudia and Aqua Marcia aqueducts, and is thought to be an 8th century stazione di posta (a precursor of a modern post office).
Along the Casale runs the Fosso dell’Acqua Mariana, a ditch that was built in 1120 by Calixtus II in order to transport the water of the aqueducts Acqua Tepula and Acqua Iulia into the city itself.
Next to the ditch a medieval (13th century) tower can be seen, which was built on top of a Roman cistern.
The tomba dei cento scaliniÂ or “tomb of the 100 steps” is located between the Claudio Aqueduct and the railway line that runs to Cassino. In order to get to the sepulchral chamber one needs to go down 100 steps, hence the name. In some of the niches there are marble sarcophagi with sloping lids. Tunnels have been dug at a later date, probably to be used as catacombs.
The Colle Oppio Park is located on a hill north of the Colosseum in Rome. It is underneath this park that the ruins of Nero’s Domus Aurea can be found. Other monuments in the park are the Baths of Trajan and the Baths of Titus. From the hill you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Colosseum itself.
Colle Oppio Park Rome
The most important ruins in the Colle Oppio Park are those of the Domus Aurea (Nero’s “Golden House”). After having been closed for a long time it is possible again to visit the monument, but only in the weekend and only as part of a guided tour. Booking is obligatory.
Other ruins are those of the Terme di Traiano and of the Terme di Tito. An impressive exedra belonging to the former can be found on the south side of the park, near the children’s playground. The baths were constructed in the year 110, by the famous architect Apollodoro.
The complex across the parking lot at the southern entrance to the park got the name Cisterna delle Sette Sale in the 18th century, when only 7 of its 9 halls had been discovered. It should really have been rebaptized Cisterna delle Nove Sale at that point but the original name stuck.
The Colle Oppio park houses both a children’s playground and a small outdoor cafe/kiosk.
The Villa Sciarra is a huge villa situated on the slopes of the Janiculum hill in the Trastevere district in Rome. The buildings of the former villa are now used by the Institute for German Studies, whereas its grounds have been turned into a public park. Apart from several fountains and statues, the park contains the ruins of an ancient Syrian shrine.
Villa Sciarra Rome
Addres, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazzale Wurts – Rome. There is a second entrance in the Largo Minutelli. Opening hours: Sunrise till sunset. Admission: Free.
It is in what is now the Villa Sciarra that Gaio Gracco was murdered by his slave Filocrate in 121 BC. It is also here that Cleopatra, during her visit to Rome, enjoyed Julius Caesar‘s hospitality in his gardens, the Horti Caesari. After Caesar‘s death, the emperor willed the gardens to the people of Rome.
The history of the Villa Sciarra itself begins in the 15th century. The first building was constructed in a vineyard belonging to the Chiesa di Santa Maria ad Martyres (better known as the Pantheon).
From 1575 until 1653, when Antonio Barberini acquired it, the villa changed ownership several times. Barberini had both the building itself and the surrounding gardens restored. By then the villa’s value and prestige had increased a lot, since it now belonged to the inner city, thanks to the construction of the Mura Gianicolense.
After the Barberini the Ottoboni took over ownership, but later Cornelia Costanza Barberini returned it to her family. She was married to Giulio Cesare Colonna di Sciarra, so it is at this point that the villa got its present name. By th early 19th century the villa occupied almost the entire Janiculum Hill, plus what is now the Monteverde district.
The villa was severely damaged during the battle between Garibaldi and the French troops.
After this war Prince Maffeo II Sciarra made some bad investments and lost most of the villa, escept for the top part of the Gianicolo. Subsequently several people owned it before it was finally acquired by George Wurts and Henriette Tower.
They had exotic plants and trees and lots of statues put in the gardens. They also held peacocks, which briefly led to the nickname “White Peacock Villa”.
After her husband’s death, Henriette Tower donated the park to the city. The only condition was that they were to turn it into a public park. The building itself became the seat of the Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici.
In 1906 by accident a 1st century shrine for the Syrian Gods was found in the park. This shrine had later been reconstructed by the Syrian tradesman Marcus Antonius Gaionas.
The present version of the monument was built even later, after the original had been destroyed in a fire.
The shrine held a.o. a partially gilded Bacchus statue.
There was also an altar with a hollow part containing some eggs and a bronze sculpture of a man being strangled by a snake.
To the left of the entrance, there is a building containing sculptures of the three most important Syrian Gods, Hadad, Atargatis and Simios.
Although reconstructed, the original floor plan of the building is intact. It has a terrace with a small tower and sculptures personifying the continents and the parts of the day.
The big square in front of the institute is decorated with two fountains. The Fountain of Human Passions (or the Fountain of the Vices) is the one with the sphinxes. The first one (personifying anger) has its feet on a skull, the second one (luxury) lies on a carpet of flowers, the third one (avarice) has horn leaking coins and the last one (gluttony) a horn full of fruit. The Fountain of the Cherubs is also known as Fontana del Biscione, the biscione being a snake eating a man. Two of the cherubs are holding a shield with a picture of a snake. The biscione was the coat-of-arms of the Visconti family.
There is also an exedra with 12 niches with sculptures personifying the months of the year.
The Villa is bordered by the Mura Gianicolense, the Via Calandrelli and the Via Dandolo. The fountain near the main entrance on the Piazzal Wurts is the Fontana dei Faunetti. This “Fountain of the Little Fauns” depicts two fauns and a goat playing. The bigger Fontana dei Fauni stands near the Largo Minutelli entrance. The fauns in this fountain have no time for frolicking, since they are carrying a large shell on their backs.