Sightseeing in central Rome can be a hot, busy and chaotic affair, so when it’s time to take a break why not load up on treats in one of the city’s delicatessens, and head to one of the many parks to dine in the open air. From panoramic vistas to tranquil hideaways, these are the best picnic spots in the Eternal City.
These extensive gardens provide a peaceful green haven in the centre of the busting city, and can be easily accessed from the top of the Spanish Steps or by heading up to the Pincio Terrace from Piazza del Popolo. A popular picnic spot is by the picturesque lake, where it is possible to feed the ducks or hire a rowing boat. There are also plenty of activities throughout the park, from bicycle and segway hire to the impressive collection of art and sculpture at the Galleria Borghese.
Villa Doria Pamphili
The largest park in central Rome, Villa Doria Pamphili is situated behind Trastevere in the Monteverde area of town, and surrounds the villa of the aristocratic Pamphili family. It was built in the 17th century, and the beautiful landscaped gardens, lake and woodland area are full of surprise grottos, fountains and nature trails making it the ideal spot for a restful break away from sightseeing.
Giardino degli Aranci
Sitting atop the Aventine Hill, Rome’s lovely Orange Garden offers fantastic views across the Circus Maximus to the Palatine Hill. Combine the picnic with a visit to the nearby Santa Sabina church and take a peek through the famous keyhole at Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta to see the dome of St Peter’s perfectly framed in the distance. If visiting in spring, be sure to pass by the gorgeous Roseto Comunale rose garden on the way down the hill.
The Janiculum hill is the second highest in Rome and boasts a spectacular panorama across the city’s skyline. Take a walk to visit Bernini’s famous Tempietto at the church of San Pietro in Montorio, admire the cascading waters of the Fontana d’Acqua Paola, or simply grab a bench at the summit and enjoy the view. Listen out at 12 noon when a cannon is fired from the hill to mark the precise time, a tradition which dates back to the 1800s.
Parco degli Acquedotti
Although a little way out of the city (take the metro to the Giulio Agricola stop), the Parco degli Acquedotti offers one of the most quintessentially Roman landscapes, with the acres of parkland dotted with the distinctive umbrella pine trees and the crumbling remains of two ancient aqueducts. Despite backing onto Rome’s southeastern suburbs, the park feels like pure countryside with farmland, sheep and an air of complete tranquility.
Villa Ada was originally the royal residence of the House of Savoy in the 19th century, and its 450 acres of parkland located in the north of Rome make it the second largest park in the city. It is a great choice for those wishing to combine their picnic with some physical activity, as aside from the endless pathways it is possible to hire canoes, bikes and even go horse riding or roller skating. Pair a picnic with a trip to the fantastic Catacombs of Priscilla which are located nearby.