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7 lesser known parks in Rome

Villa Sciarra

Rome is a green city. Each district has one or more gardens and there are many non-urbanized areas, some of which are real natural reserves. The largest and most famous parks are a destination for Romans and tourists for walks and picnics: Villa Borghese, in the heart of the city, as well as the equally famous Villa Ada, Villa Torlonia and Villa Doria Pamphili, with their lakes, their green meadows and their small museums, are mentioned in all Rome guides.

However, there are hundreds of local parks and some are really noteworthy, despite being less known. Today I'll tell you about a few, well aware of leaving out many!

Villa Sciarra
Located below the Janiculum hill, between the districts of Monteverde and Trastevere, Villa Sciarra stands on what were once the Horti Caesaris (the Gardens of Ceasar). Today it is a small, but not too much, green oasis with large lawns, archaeological remains, statues and eighteenth-century fountains. Do not miss the Exedra with the statues of the twelve months, the Fountain of Vices and the Fountain of Fauns. 

Parco Centrale del Lago
Known as the Parco del Lago dell’EUR, it is a green space surrounding an artificial lake where it is possible to attend training and rowing competitions and other water sports. It is the perfect place for a little relax and for families with children: there are several playgrounds, many easy-to-walk paths, and the lake is navigable and inhabited by many pretty ducks. During hot springs or Roman summers it is not unusual to see people sunbathing and picnicking on the lawns. Do not miss the Giardino delle Cascate, an extremely suggestive place. 

Parco di Colle Oppio
A few steps away from the Colosseum and the Imperial Forums, the Colle Oppio Park offers the opportunity to walk among the ruins of the Baths of Titus, the Neronian Domus Aurea and the Baths of Trajan. There are a series of paths between green meadows and tree-lined avenues, enriched not only by archaeological finds, but also by elegant fountains and plants of various kinds. 

Giardino degli Aranci
The "Orange Garden", located on the Aventine, a few steps from the famous "keyhole" which you can see the dome of St. Peter from, is one of the most romantic viewpoints in Rome: a terrace at the end of a small park with a wide central avenue that divides the green area symmetrically in two, accompanying the visitor to the terrace which you can admire the Tiber from, St. Peter's basilica, the Janiculum, the Tiber Island and much more. The official name of the place is Parco Savello but it is known as Giardino degli Aranci due to the presence of an orange tree, still visible in the nearby cloister, albeit protected by a fence, considered magical because it was born on the remains of an orange tree, according to the legend, planted by San Domenico di Guzman, founder of the Dominican order. 

Villa Glori
Born as a hunting area and plantation of vines, on the border between the Flaminio and Parioli districts, Villa Glori is an irregularly shaped green area, with dirt paths, wide meadows and small woods, today dedicated to the fallen of the Great War and called consequently Parco delle Rimembranze (while maintaining its original name). Inside there is a horse riding stable, where a hippodrome was built in the 1950s, later replaced with the more modern Capannelle, a hypogeum and a late 17th century farmhouse.

Villa Paganini
Located a short distance from the most famous Villa Torlonia, with only Via Nomentana separating them, Villa Paganini is a small urban park that is absolutely worth a visit, especially for the presence of a lake with an artificial small island and a wonderful Grotto-Nymphaeum in the center. 

Villa Balestra
On top of Monte Parioli, with an enviable view of Rome and the Vatican City, Villa Balestra is a small elliptical garden with wide avenues, large flowerbeds and timber trees with a playground for the kids and a refreshment point for adults and children. 

Mondovagando wrote for us

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