Villa Borghese

With our first hotel nearby and the second practically in the grounds, we found ourselves repeatedly drawn to the green spaces of the Villa Borghese. What we had first imagined would just be a pleasant walking route to sights such as the Spanish steps or Piazza del Popolo turned out to be a worthwhile destination in its own right.

Whilst there are extensive grounds – apparently landscaped in the English style – to explore, there are various attractions and activities too, from museums to a zoo via a replica of the Globe Theatre. A particular highlight was trying our hand on the boating lake. Hiring a boat is transacted entirely in Italian, but all you need to know is that they’ll call your ticket number when it’s your turn to head out, but the boat number when you’re due to return. So with a guidebook or smartphone to hand to check those you’ll be fine – well, as far as getting a boat, of course. Controlling them turned out to be rather harder for me…

Just on the outskirts is the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, which I would have skipped were it not for my partner’s interest, but really enjoyed. Their cafe is good for light refreshments too – although as mentioned in an earlier post, our favoured spot for food on the go was the aptly named Pic Nic located further into the park.

Despite it being November, all of this was enjoyed in warm (clearing 20C) weather, albeit with an earlier sunset. On days where I was mostly busy with the conference, or we simply wanted a respite from the tourist bustle of central Rome, it was wonderful to have this park on our doorstep to relax in for a while. I had somehow overlooked it on my previous visit, but am glad to have discovered it now!