Prefer trees and shade to sand and sun? Forget the beach then and head for a park! The city of Rome has a big range of green spaces but they can be crowded in the summer, especially during the week-end. We would like to suggest you 3 alternative choices out of Rome, but not too far from the Eternal city.
As a matter of fact, it is difficult to find areas in Rome’s surroundings without archeological findings or art elements. Nature and civilizations have interacted for millennia here and are therefore constantly blended nearly anywhere you go. This doesn’t of course mean that the parks we are proposing you are not wild or relaxing: they’re as green as you can dream of plus they also feature very interesting archeological/artistic beauties.
Out first option is Ninfa, a 90 minute car-drive from Rome. Maybe because this park is only open a few days during the year (you can visit it during the summer on August 6, 7, 15 and on September 3 and 4) in order to better preserve it, but we think this is really a magic and exclusive place. Far from other landmarks, traffic and major centres this place is an oasis of peace in the middle of nothing with an incredible mix of archeology and nature. You can only visit the park with a 1-hour guided tour. Originally the site of an ancient Roman temple, in the Middle Age this place became a rich town thanks to its proximity to the river. Among medieval ruins, a river, a lake and Roman relics there is now an English-style romantic garden with plenty of large trees and a great variety of plants and birds. After the visit to the park you can either go to the Caetani castle or to the nice village of Sermoneta with nice shops and good restaurants.
Another place we always love to go back to is the Bomarzo Monsters Park. The name might deceive you, this is not a theme park at all! Or actually, maybe it was intended to be something like that in the 16th century, when it was created 🙂 The fascination of this Villa of Wonders comes not only from the wild forest where it is located – it is called the Holy Wood, too – but also from the monumental, mysterious statues, caves, buildings scattered all over it. These 24 gigantic items still represent an enigma for scholars but are so much fun! Kids will also love this park as it will really trigger their imagination. It takes less than an hour to reach Bomarzo Park by car as it is very near the A1 highway exit of Attigliano. After the visit to the park you should hit the nearby village of Bomarzo (typical products are cookies and ceramic) and/or Viterbo with its astonishing medieval city centre.
Our third option is very close to Rome and can be reached with public transport. It is the Veio Park. Veio used to be a very powerful Etruscan city that for centuries (from the 8th to the 4th century BC) fought with Rome. The park is huge and new and it offers many different options of visit. There is a bike path, there are horse itineraries, there is a geology track and several other possible walks in the valleys of the park. The are Etruscan ruins around Veio while you can see ancient Roman findings such as Apollo’s Temple, the Grave of the Duck, the Campana grave and the Villa Campetti in Isola Farnese (8:30-1:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, 8:30-3:30pm Thursday and Saturday, closed Monday). The Villa of Livia, emperors Augustus’ wife is in Prima Porta (Sunday 10-1pm, upon reservation only during the week). From Rome Flaminio railway station take the train for Civita Castellana/Viterbo and get off at Sacrofano, Riano, Castelnuovo di Porto or Morlupo.