Just beyond the bustling city centre of Rome, just up beyond the Spanish Steps, is Rome’s largest public park, the Villa Borghese.
Take a walk through on the weekend and you’re likely to be mingling amongst locals out enjoying their home town.
This is where the Romans are. From kids (of all ages) scooting past on skates or in go-carts to elderly couples resting on park benches, and everyone in between, this is the real Rome.
Originally a vineyard, it was turned into a 80 hectare/148 acre park in 1605 by Cardinal Scipione Borghese (no doubt aided in his project by his Uncle Camillo, known to most as Pope Paul V).
The Villa Borghese features lovely tree-lined paths, statues, fountains, an amphitheatre, a botanical garden and open piazzas with breathtaking views over the city of Rome. Its centrepiece is a lovely lake in which sits a little Ionic temple dedicated to the Ancient Greek god of medicine and healing, Aesculapius.
At the beginning of the 1900s, the Borghese family donated the Villa Borghese to the city of Rome, who in turn opened it up to the public.
If you’re into seeing other kinds of landscapes, the Borghese Museum and Gallery is also located in the park, as is the National Gallery of Modern Art. The National Etruscan Museum stands nearby in the Villa Giulia which houses Etruscan artefacts dug up around Rome.