Villa Borghese in Rome — Photo courtesy of dalberaThe nice thing about the change of the seasons in Rome, apart from people's moods, is the amount of lovely things one can do outside all'aperto.This holds especially true when the weather gets warmer. If you have a few days to spend in Rome during the spring and summer months, exploring Rome's parks is a nice way to see the laid-back side of this often chaotic city.
When temperatures rise, Romans flock in droves to the city's parks. Since Rome has so few green spaces around town, the locals definitely take advantage of its parks whether it be for a picnic, an afternoon stroll or even a morning boot camp class.
The gardens of Villa Borghese — Photo courtesy of Son of GrouchoVilla Borghese is the most famous park in Rome and is typically the one that most tourists go to thanks to its centrally located position just between the Via Veneto and Piazzale Flaminio/Piazza del Popolo. For locals, Villa Borghese is like the Central Park of Rome. It boasts a lovely green space where locals and tourists often go running or even rent bikes on the weekends.
Spend an afternoon here by finding a green spot and treating yourself to a picnic. Otherwise, if you feel like eating a proper sit-down meal, the Casa del Cinema located at one of the main entrances to Villa Borghese has a lovely cafè where you can grab a quick bite to eat. Speaking of Casa del Cinema, this is also a great place to come and watch foreign and Italian films. There are several screening rooms and theaters. Every afternoon and evening, they screen a few films in its original language and often organize meet-and-greets with the movie directors. From May to September, the Casa del Cinema also organizes a teatro all'aperto (open air theater) outside typically featuring Shakespearean plays.
If you're not in the mood for catching a flick, head on over to Galleria Borghese where you can admire a rich collection of Baroque and Renaissance art painted by masterminds Raphael, Caravaggio and Correggio. After you've finished at Galleria Borghese, make sure to make your way down to Pincio; it's sort of like a terrace that's perched above the glorious Piazza del Popolo. The panoramic vistas from Pincio are spectacular.
Exploring Villa Ada — Photo courtesy of annurcaLocated on the other side of Rome, Villa Ada is the second largest park of Rome after Villa Pamphili. Villa Ada is a lovely park located in the Salario-Trieste suburban district of the city. The park is currently comprised of two separate sections: one side belongs to the city and is open to the public, the other side belongs to the Egyptian Embassy and is patrolled by guards.
The public portion of the park is comprised of an artificial lake, where families often bring their kids to sail boats, and great running paths to visit during the warm spring and summer months. Also along the lake, there is a carousel with rides for the kids, and families can even rent bikes by the hour or for a full day.
On the weekends, Romans love to come to Villa Ada to exercise whether they're training for the marathon in Rome or partaking in an outdoor fitness class. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, one can take a boot camp class here for about ten euros. There's even a lunch truck parked right outside the lake-side entrance where one can grab some drinks or snacks. Alternatively, there's a lovely outdoor cafè located at the Via Salaria entrance of the park where you can have your morning coffee or, in the evening, sip a glass of wine and watch the sun go down.
Villa Ada is also very famous for its outdoor concert series, Roma Incontro il Mondo (Rome Meets the World), during the summer months. The outdoor music festival lasts for months and showcases a different band from around the world each night.