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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Gardens of Rome

Cappella di Villa Doria PamphiliImage via WikipediaBy Roberta Stuart

When you imagine Rome, what iconic images spring to mind? Is it the towering Colosseum? The Pantheon? Vatican City? While you'd be correct in imagining all of these things as symbolic of Rome, many people don't notice a hidden aspect to Rome all around them. While the historical sites and buildings are impressive, and indeed might be all you can see from a window in your hotel, Rome centre is filled with parks and gardens every bit as impressive as its architecture. With a large number of landscaped gardens sculpted by the 19th century Italian aristocracy, the city actually has one of the largest areas of green space amongst European capitals. Here are a few of the biggest, best, and brightest gardens in Rome.

 Villa Borghese Gardens
Undoubtedly the most famous of the city's gardens, the Villa Borghese landscape is a garden in the naturalistic English manner, containing a number of buildings and museums. As the second largest public park in Rome, it is a popular destination for many travellers when they feel like a quiet stroll in the park instead of remaining in their hotel. Rome centre gardens are often a place to escape the city's bustle and stresses, and unwind, whether you're on a business trip or an action-packed holiday. The gardens themselves were designed for relaxation, but the Villa was intended for more cultural pursuits - it was built as a party villa on the (then) edge of Rome, and also used to house artwork.
Villa Ada
The largest gardens in Rome, the Villa Ada gardens and the woodland area within were owned by the Italian Royal House of Savoy in the latter half of the 19th century. They contain an artificial lake, and a rare metasequoia tree imported from Tibet in 1940. For those looking to escape the city for a while and get out of their hotel, Rome centre has nowhere better to offer - entrance to the park is free, and canoes, bicycles, horses can be rented to explore the large grounds.
Villa Doria Pamphili
A 17th century villa with the largest park in Rome, Doria Pamphili is in an historic location, and is well worth the journey from your hotel. Rome centre is home to many relics and ruins of ancient Rome, and the Villa Pamphili gardens are located in the Monteverde quarter, just outside the ancient walls where the famous Via Aurelia road begins. Over three centuries, up to the 18th century, the gardens were constantly being added to and refined, with fountains, gateways, and patterned planting of colourful carpet bedding. It's a wonderful place for a walk, especially after the introduction of a sweeping modern bridge built in celebration of the millennium to connect the two sections of the garden.
No matter the location of your hotel, Rome centre is absolutely full of gardens and parks just waiting to be discovered. They make a wonderful break from the bustling city when you need to relax, and come with their own unique designs and history. The few places mentioned above are just the beginning.
Roberta Stuart is the Travel Manager for World Hotels, a company offering holidays in a selection of unique four and five star hotels worldwide. If you're looking for a quality hotel, Rome centre or any other destination worldwide, World Hotels can provide you with your ideal accommodation.

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