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Parks, Gardens and Villas in Rome
Opening hours of the Gardens usually are: 7am – sunset Please find the openings of the Botanical Garden further down on this page.
VILLA BORGHESE (Via Veneto)
The Borghese Family owned the oldest part of the Villa since 1580, but at the beginning of the seventeenth century Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, Pope Paul V's nephew, began purchasing the neighbouring lands intent on creating a "villa di delizie".
The Villa's first layout, assigned to architects Flaminio Ponzio and Giovanni Vasanzio, included, according to the classic tradition, a pars urbana and a pars rustica, divided in three "rings" . It remained thus until the 18th century.
The first ring was the most ostentatious, where the Casino Nobile, numerous statues and fountains and a "sylvan" garden are found. The present Parco dei Daini corresponds to the second ring, a garden reserved for the prince. The Giardini Segreti are found between the first and second rings. The third ring was the countryside, the broadest and vastest part, that suffered the majority of alterations over time.
At the end of the 18th century, Prince Marcantonio IV fostered a general renovation of the Villa, which involved the design of new furnishings and the transformation of the seventeenth century buildings, employing architects Antonio and Mario Asprucci and various artists. At the beginning of the 19th century the Villa was expanded with new purchases: Villa Giustiniani and other minor villas, near Porta del Popolo, and the former Villas Doria and Manfroni, near Porta Pinciana. Luigi Canina's work combined the new properties and bestowed the Villa with a new layout with numerous small eclectically and neoclassical inspired buildings. The villa entered a new phase when it was purchased by the State (1901) and later transferred to the Municipality of Rome.
The gallery houses one of the most beautiful collections in the world: included among the masterpieces, the very famous statue of Paolina Borghese by Canova, "Amor sacro e Amor profano" and "Venere che benda Amore" by Tiziano, the "Deposizione" by Raffaello, the splendid statues by Bernini, six of the best works of Caravaggio, "La caccia di Diana" by Domenichino, and the works of Perugino, Pinturicchio, Veronese, Rubens
Giardino del Lago
(Lake Garden): one of the loveliest places in the park and a rare example of an English garden in the Roman area, rich with exotic plants such as banana trees and baldcypresses; in the centre of an artificial island, a temple was built dedicated to Aesculapius.
The famous Piazza di Siena every year in May hosts horse-jumping and carriage-racing competitions.
National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia
The museum's collection, ordered by geographical area, includes some masterpieces of ancient Etruria, such as the Sarcophagus of the Cerveteri newlyweds (VI century B.C.) and the statue of Apollo of Veio (VI century B.C.) and also prestigious historical collections such as the Castellani, rich with pottery, bronzes and famous jewellery. Recent building renovations have opened a new exhibition area on the main floor where antiquity from Pyrgi are on display.
National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art
The gallery houses XIX and XX century artwork and sculptures, produced mainly by Italian artists and with a few European works including: Coubert, Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, Cezanne, Klimt. The nineteenth century is represented with works that range from the neoclassic period to purist and historical Romanticism, from the earliest Neapolitan Landscape Painting School to late Romanticism, up to Realism.
GIANICOLO (Trastevere, Monteverde)
This park, high up on Janiculum hill, is a good place to spend time with children - pony rides, bumper cars, open air puppet theatre and other games, while enjoying a great view of the city below, perhaps the best one. The square on top of the hill and the avenue (Passeggiata del Gianicolo) were realized in 1885-1887 on the territory of the ex Parco Corsini. There can be find numerous busts of the volunteers who took part in the defense of Rome; in the middle of the square in 1895 an equestrian monument was erected to G.Garibaldi. At midday, from the balcony of the Piazzale takes place the everyday shot of the cannon giving a sign of the exact time. This tradition began in December 1847, when the cannon of Castel Sant'Angelo was giving the official time of Rome and the sign to all the bell-towers to start ringing.
VILLA CELIMONTANA (S.Giovanni, Terme di Caracalla)
This lovely Villa was originally a vineyard that was bought by the Mattei family to whom the new design of the gardens is owed. On the Celio hill, it has long attracted visitors with its trees and ancient marbles in its gardens, including an obelisk from the times of Ramses II. It became the property of various foreigners until 1918 when it was confiscated by the Italian state. The last owner, Baron Riccardo Hoffmann, contributed to its expansion and added a small Neo-Gothic temple, which is now the home of the Italian Geographic Society.
VILLA ALDOBRANDINI (Via Nazionale)
This villa has been built in the 16th century for the Dukes of Urbino, then acquired by Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini it is now property of the Italian government and closed to the public. The gardens, raised about 10mt above street level, however open daily.
FARNESE GARDENS (Palatine)
Cardinal A. Farnese bought the ruins of Emperor Tiberius’s palace in the 16th century and commissioned Vignola to design the garden - this was one of the first botanical gardens in Europe. Now a beautiful spot with tree-lined avenues and rose gardens.
VILLA TORLONIA (Nomentana)
Built in the early 19th century by the architect Valadier. Later on other portions of land were purchased in order to extend the park, which was landscaped by the garden architect A.Jappelli. The villa then becam private residence of Mussolini from 1925-43; after WWII used as the headquarter of the Anglo-American command in Rome. The garden contains many exotic plants and large trees. A new museum has opened in the Casina delle Civette, remarkable for its stained glass windows.
VILLA SCIARRA (Gianicolo, Monteverde)
At the slopes of the Gianicolo – it was a nymph’s sanctuary in Roman times. Paths through the park are decorated with statues of mythological figures, such as Apollo and Daphne and many fountains. Lots of cherry trees – ideal for a spring walk.
VILLA DORIA PAMPHILJ (Monteverde)
This is Rome’s largest public park and one of the richest in terms of vegetation( tall trees and rare plants) and fauna( swans, geese…) This park was laid out on the orders of Prince Camillo Pamphilj, the nephew of Pope Innocent X, beween 1644-52 The main entrance is the one at San Pancrazio, though it has many other entrances around its 9 km perimeter.
PINCIO (Piazza del Popolo)
These gardens overlook P.zza del Popolo; designed in the early 19th century by the architect Valadier who also created the Piazza itself. A favourite location with a stunning view for romantic walks on sundown.
BOTANICAL GARDEN (Trastevere)
One of the most important Italian botanical gardens for extension and number of species – more than 7000. Special itinerary for the blind. Hours: winter 9.30 - 17.30, summer 9.30 - 18.30 Closed on Sundays, Mondays, Holidays, and in August.
VILLA ADA (Via Salaria)
Beautiful grounds just north of the city with plenty to keep youngsters amused, including a roller-skating rink, bike paths, two playgrounds, and ponds.
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