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Rome Garden Tour

Discover the Eternal City’s greenest—and most beautiful—corners.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days
Family Friendly

Overview:  Secreted away in the heart of the city or sprawled across hilltops outside of town, Rome’s gardens are fragrant oases with ancient... more »

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Points of Interest

When planning a visit to the winding streets of the Trastevere neighborhood, earmark time to meander these ancient gardens. Locally known as Orto Botanico, this land was first cultivated by Pope Nicholas III in the late 13th century, and is now owned by the Sapienza University of Rome. With more than 7,000 species of flowers from around the world,... More

2. Garden of Orange Trees

The Garden of Orange Trees (Giardino degli Aranci) by the Santa Sabina church pays homage to the namesake Spanish tree. The first orange tree planted in Italy, by Saint Domenic in the 13th century, continues to grow in a separate courtyard (tour the church to see the original tree through a porthole in the nave). This small space is enclosed by... More

3. Gardens at Villa Aurelia

Since 1909, Villa Aurelia has been the property of the American Academy in Rome. In 2002, the property reopened with much fanfare. Positioned on the crest of Janiculum Hill (the highest place in all of Rome), the villa’s heralded gardens afford magnificent views of Rome, as well as outdoor spaces for private events. Visitors can wander down a... More

4. Gardens of Ninfa

Here, tucked under the arid Lepini Hills, the ruins of a medieval town (razed by civil war in 1382) were gradually transformed over the course of the 20th century by the aristocratic, now died-out Caetani family into what some consider the most beautiful garden on earth. There was never a formal plan. Three generations of Caetani wives helped... More

5. Janiculum Park

It’s been said that Janiculum Hill served as the center of the cult of the god Janus. Because of the hill’s advantageous position, the cult’s priests would use it as a lookout point for signs from the gods. After a famous battle in 1849 between Giuseppe Garibaldi and the French, the hill was transformed into a park. Locals frequently visit for an ... More

More than 1,000 roses bloom late each spring at Rome’s Municipal Rose Garden on the eastern side of the Aventine Hill. The sloping garden is divided into two sections separated by Via di Valle Murcia. The upper area is home to the garden’s permanent roses, while the lower section contains roses participating in the annual, international Premio... More

7. Sacro Bosco

More sculpture park than garden, Bomarzo’s Sacro Bosco occupies a lush area on the grounds of the Villa Orsini. A web of looping trails leads though open glades, past rocky outcrops, and down steep ravines inhabited by giant, often grotesque statues of gods, mythical beasts, and other marvels. At every turn there’s an encounter with some... More

This 17th century villa stakes claim in the largest landscaped public park in Rome. Situated just outside Porta San Pancrazio, it was known as Bel Respiro, or “beautiful breath,” for its panoramic views of the city. The villa contained a casino, which housed a collection of Roman sculptures and antiquities such as vases, sarcophagi, and... More

9. Villa Farnese

The only way to see what gardening authority Penelope Hobhouse called “one of the great masterpieces of Italian garden art” is by first taking the official tour of the Villa Farnese, a formidable pentagonal fortress that sits above the town looking out toward Rome. Troop through one magnificent empty salon after another (including a... More

At the Villa Lante, built for Cardinal Gambara in the 1560’s on a hillside above the medieval town of Bagnaia and considered by many to be the finest Renaissance garden in Italy, the twin pavilions, or palazzine, play such a minor part in architect Giacomo Vignola’s overall design they might as well be garden ornaments. Villa Lante is all about... More

Take a “time out” from the hustle and bustle of Rome and wander the gravel paths of public park Villa Sciarra, named after the adjacent 17th-century Barberini family villa. Built on the site of Caesar Gardens, between the Trastevere and Gianicolo neighborhoods, this botanical gem offers topiaries, statues of Roman mythological creatures, fountains... More