Rome is one of the greenest capitals in Europe. But in order to sample the best of its parks and gardens, tourists should definitely head for the excellently endowed and beautifully laid out Villa Ada Gardens (of, simply put, Villa Ada). These stand out as one of the largest parks in Rome, filling a surface of no less than 182 hectares. It comprises both private and public areas. The public areas are much wider than the private ones, and the admission is free. It is located a short walk from the Borghese Gallery.

In the mid 19th century, Villa Ada – which, back then, must have looked a whole lot different than today – used to belong to the House of Savoy, the royal family using the venue as hunting manor and as private residence. For 26 years (between 1878 and 1904), the woods and the land have been the property of a Swiss count, a certain Tellfner, who named it Ada, after his beloved wife.

At present, the public areas of the garden are ideal for outdoor sports activities, such as cycling, jogging, roller-skating, climbing and even horse riding. Renting canoes for tours on the scenic artificial lake is also an opportunity to take into account. A kids’ playground, as well a recreational area for dogs have also been laid out. Nature lovers might find it pleasant to learn the area is populated with rare species of trees, some of the specimens being bought here in the first half of the 20th century, from exotic places like Tibet. The forest is, thus, quite wild, and the long walks in the woods can be complemented by a climb to the so-called Monte Antenne, the largest natural height in the park (67 meters above the sea level), which is, in fact, an archeological site. The vestiges are now covered with vegetation, giving visitors the opportunity to lose themselves in a set where nature has apparently taken over the traces of the ancient civilization.

Villa Ada is, both for the locals and the tourists, an occasion to escape the urban hustle and explore the delightful opportunities of an ever so surprising nature set in the middle of a metropolis. On top of all that, Villa Ada is also home to the famed Roma Incontra il Mondo, a tradition maintained since 1994.

Villa Ada
Via Salaria, Rome, Italy