Situated near Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps, Rome’s version of Central Park dates back to the early 17th century, when it was the grounds of the noble Borghese family. Today the park is open to the public, offering a small zoo, plenty of green spaces for sunbathing and several tree-lined paths for running and biking. One of the city’s best museums, Galleria Borghese, is also nestled within the park, filled with Bernini statues and beautiful frescoes.
Located west of Trastevere in the city’s Monteverde area near the Vatican, the largest public park in Rome is the perfect spot to escape the crowds and enjoy an afternoon outdoors. The historical park is beloved by Romans, especially on weekends, for exercise, picnics, dog walking and passeggiatas.
This 450-acre park offers a host of recreational activities, including swimming in a large public pool, bicycling, horseback riding and canoeing. For history buffs, the archaeological site of Monte Antenne, an ancient Roman village, sits at the highest point of the park. Outdoor concerts are popular in summer, especially during the Roma Incontra il Mondo (Rome Meets the World) festival, hosted in July.
Perched on the highest hill in Rome, Monte Mario boasts some of the city’s best views. Located north of Vatican City outside of the city center, the peaceful park offers visitors a respite from the crowds and noisy city life and is home to the famous Astronomical Observatory of Rome.
To combine exercise and history, visit Parco Regionale dell’Appia Antica, a large park located near the Ancient Appian Way a short distance from the city center with several ancient ruins and paths for walking, jogging and biking. The park also organizes guided tours, offering visitors the chance to check out villas, basilicas, tombs and other historical sites.
Rome is one of Europe’s most-visited destinations (if not the top-visited destination) and at no time is this more evident than in the summer. School tour groups, retirees and backpackers descend upon the ancient city in droves, making a leisurely walk through Trastevere a distant hope. But if you find yourself in Rome and face crowds of epic proportions, here are a few ways to get away from the masses and enjoy Rome as more of a vacation destination than a tourist trap.
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The more you travel, the more you learn about what works for you in terms of packing, preparing, lodging, locations and more, so it’s inevitable you’ll develop your own cache of travel tips likely to result in the most enjoyable experience for you. But when it comes to the broader travel community, there are some tips and tricks that can apply to any traveler. Here are a few that can help you progress toward expert travel status.
For most of us, time in the car is “me time.” You can listen to that podcast you’re captivated by, blast that pop song and sing along at the top of your lungs or listen to the next chapter in that biography e-book you’re almost finished. A road trip only amplifies those opportunities. So, next time you’re traveling by road, take the wheel and take control. Opt for a rental car on your next vacation, rather than a rideshare, taxi or public transportation, and enjoy the open road on your own terms.