Gardens and Villas in Rome
Since its remote past Rome has been characterized by the presence of vast green areas. After the penetration of the Greek culture, during the II century b. C., rich people and nobles from Rome traditionally linked their names to some beautiful gardens, once called Horti.
By the fall of the Roman Empire those gardens declined too. Only during the Renaissance, one thousand years later, they turned out to be one of the most concrete symbol of the return to Classicism. Between the XVI and XVIII century nobles, cardinals and popes were engaged in a duel to have the richest and most beautiful villa of Rome.
Unfortunately during the nineteenth century most of them have been destroyed or altered to leave place to Rome capital. Nevertheless the city can still offer huge gardens where you can enjoy a beautiful walk immersed in the nature and the history.
The choice of the place was due to its closeness to the Vatican, to the freshness of the air and to the presence of the water. In the square of the villa you can admire the wonderful Fontana del Moro.
Leaving the villa from the side of Porta San Pancrazio, scenery, in 1849, of the wars between French troops and Garibaldi in defence of the Roman Republic, you get to Piazzale Aurelio. Here, on your left, it begins the Passeggiata del Gianicolo. This walk was realized in 1880 in honour of Garibaldi.
In honour of the Italian hero is dedicated also the equestrian monument that rises in the homonymous square. In the nearby you can recognize the statue of Anita, his partner. From piazzale Garibaldi you can enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic of the city.
From piazzale Aurelio, walking along Via delle Mura Gianicolensi, characterized by the huge circle of the 17th century, till you meet Via Calandrelli, you will meet, at number 26, Villa Sciarra.
Crossing the river Tevere and going on along Lungotevere Aventino, you will meet, on your right, the Clivo di Rocca Savelli, a picturesque staircase that leads directly to the place where, in the Middle Age, it rose Savelli's castle. This garden is better known as Giardino degli Aranci (Garden of Oranges).
The orange trees were planted in honour of the first orange tree carried from San Domenico, in Spain, in 1220. You can find this tree still planted and alive in the garden of the monastery of Santa Sabina. At the end of Via di Santa Sabina, going down towards the Circo Massimo, you will find the communal rosary, one of the most beautiful rose-garden of the world.
From 1645 to 1934 this place was destined to be the cemetery of the Hebrew Community of Rome. Than, in 1934 it has been converted to public garden. At the entrance of the rosary there are, in honour of the Hebrew community, two stems reproduce the Moses Tables.
Going down through Via del Circo Massimo you will meet Porta Capena. Once passed this gate you'll go up to the hill Celio where, in Via della Navicella there is the entrance Villa Celimontana , built in the XVI century for the family Mattei.
Beyond its beauty, in the past this villa was famous because its owner used to offer a banquet to the believers who took part to the pilgrimage to the seven churches. The principal building of the villa is decorated with frescos of the 17th century and with precious Roman mosaics. On the left of the building there is a little obelisk that dates back to the epoch of Pharaon Ramses II (XIII-XII century b. C.), once the most important attraction of the villa. You can end the itinerary though the most beautiful villas of Rome you can visit Villa Borghese, reachable with the metro.
This is one of the most famous villas of Rome, built for Cardinal Scipione Borghese at the beginning of the 17th century.
During this festivity people used to eat, drink and dance. The most romantic place of the villa is the lake with the little isle dominated by the temple of Esculapio, Greek god of the Medicine, erected in ionic style at the end of the 18th century and embellished by an old statue of the god. A modern overbridge links the villa to the Pincio, the first public garden planned in Rome by will of Napoleon to celebrate his enterprises.
After suggestion of Mazzini, in the garden have been placed 224 busts of famous persons. On the path of the villa there is a little obelisk that, contrarily to the majority of the obelisks in Rome, was not carried from Egypt but directly erected in Rome for Emperor Adrian for his beloved Antinoo. From the terrace of the Pincio, dedicated to Napoleon, you can enjoy a suggestive view of the city.
Taking the flight of stairs of the Pincio you go down to Piazza del Popolo where you can enjoy a drink in one of the famous cafès of the capital.