I have been living in Rome for – ahem!- over two decades. Yet it is only recently that I crossed the city to visit Rome’s Botanical Gardens (L’Orto botanico di Roma).
Am I glad I did!
I can’t believe it took me so long to get there, especially since it’s an easy location to reach, tucked away in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood.
And on my recent visit, I definitely did not factor in enough time, not realizing it was a full 12 hectares to explore – so I’ll definitely be back.
Like most thinks in Rome, the Botanical Garden has a long history. It dates back to 1660 when it was founded by Popo Alexander VII, bringing to it the interesting Vatican’s Giardini dei Semplici (medicinal plants) that dates back to the 1200s.
In 1883, the Botanical Garden was part of the adjoining Villa Corsini, the palace in which Queen Cristina of Sweden lived in the late 1600s.
The gardens today are overseen by the University of Rome’s La Sapienza. It is open daily and admission is 4 euro.
It’s worth going for a longer time then the time I allotted because there is a lot to see. There are also strategically positioned benches, so next time I’ll be packing a book and whiling away some time in this picturesque spot.
There are great views over Rome as you hike up the garden trails that ascend the Gianicolo hill.
There are so many points of interest to see – the medicinal garden I mentioned earlier, with explanations of the plants and the ailments for which they were/are utilized. Some I knew, but most I did not.
I loved the tiny Japanese garden and having been to Japan and knowing teh Japanese penchant for choosing plants that change with the changing seasons, so I’m curious to compare it in other seasons.
There are more than forty species of palm trees in the garden, and they were a popular gathering space for the birds whose chirping accompanied my visit.
The bamboo collection is said to be among Europe’s most abundant.
There are also a series of greenhouses, from the original Corsini greenhouses to more modern structures, such as the one that houses tropical plants.
This was a great discovery for me. It certainly took me long enough to get here, but I’ll certainly make up for lost time and come back to explore more.
See you on the trails at Rome’s Botanical Garden!