Something about a sunny day in Rome spent at the botanical garden feels like a fairytale, especially if it is at the Orto Botanico. Because a stroll through a lush, blooming and airy garden is one of the joys of good weather. Although there is no reason to necessarily wait for it to be spring or summer as there are many stunning sights of landscape throughout the year, it could be said that the beauty of a botanical garden is nonetheless evergreen.
The Botanical Garden of Rome which is otherwise known as Orto Botanico is one of the biggest gardens in Italy. This lush hidden gem is perfect for repeat visits because it is a beautiful 30-acre space that stretches comfortably on the slopes of the Gianicolo Hill in Trastevere (only a walking distance from the Vatican). With 2000 square meters of greenhouses and over 3000 species of plants cultivated in the garden, there is a lot to take in.
For city travellers, this is a chance to enter a leafy oasis that will bring calmness and rest in an otherwise busy sightseeing adventure around Rome. Now that the recent studies have shown that humans respond positively when in green spaces and that they have a specific psychological effect of serenity and wellbeing in people, take a slide into this zen place that will put ease after crowding tourists and honking traffic. The garden was originally opened in 1883 when at the time the Corsini family donated its private park to the Italian government. Today it is run by the Biology Department of the Sapienza University of Rome.
In front of the garden gates, there is a piazza named after the Christina the Queen of Sweden, who lived in a baroque palace within the garden, which as you pass you enter a vast collection of themed gardens that hold some of the rarest plants species. As there are no strict boundaries between the gardens you can easily circulate between one or another and explore the horticultural wonders. Step into the bamboo grove where you will find the richest collection of bamboo plants in Europe. Follow the path to the top of the slope where a charming Japanese Garden opens out with small waterfalls and a Japanese-style pavilion. The two cascading waterfalls in this garden are adorned with delicate Acer trees and together they guide your senses into an inviting serenity. On the west side of the garden, you will find a Mediterranean garden that features various types of cacti, palm trees, herbs and oak trees. You will also come across a fabulous Garden of Aroma - home to aromatic plants that are unique and distinct for they can be identified either by smelling or by touching them.
Make a stop here and soak up the aromas floating in the air, they are truly reviving.
Among many fascinating things about this mesmerizing garden is the fact that very little has changed for 250 years. Approaching the greenhouses that are nestled among the emerald green garden you will see this endurance of 250-year-old beauty, especially among the first greenhouse to be built. The oldest greenhouse is the Corsini Greenhouse, a small but refined structure that displays a collection of succulents. Close by is the Monumental Greenhouse that was built in 1877, yet the most interesting greenhouse is the Tropical Greenhouse where you will discover a fascinating world of tropical and subtropical plants.
The airy Roman Botanical Garden’s beauty is enhanced by stunning architectural delights such as the fountain “Scalineta delle Undici Fontane” created by the same architected that designed the Corsini Palace, Ferdinando Fuga. Just between the palace and the fountain is another beautiful fountain “Fontana dei Tritoni”. As you can see walking around the garden will take you to many different spots, and some hold the most beautiful views of the city, but also sometimes there might be a classical concert going on which you can enjoy in under the lush greens or have a scoop of ice cream at a nearby stand.