Rome’s population of 4.3 million can swell by as many as 10 million visitors each year. So where do you go for peace and quiet when visiting the Eternal City?
Giardino degli Aranci
Giardino degli Aranci (Garden of Oranges) is a large oasis of bitter orange trees at the top of Aventine Hill. Entering through Piazza Pietro d’Illiria you are greeted by the scowling face of Giacomo della Porta’s 16th-century fountain, famously transported from monument to monument before settling here.
From the terrace at the garden’s far end, you can enjoy sweeping views of Rome that include the Tevere, St. Peter’s, Gianicolo and Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
Villa Doria Pamphili
Named for the 17th-century house within its borders, Villa Doria Pamphili is Rome’s largest landscaped public park.
Ristorante Museo Canova Tadolini
Housed in the former studio of sculptor Antonio Canova, Ristorante Museo Canova Tadolini is never overrun – which is a pleasant surprise given its excellent housemade pasta served alongside neoclassical sculptures.
Open for lunch, dinner and cocktails, it’s the perfect place to refuel between visits to Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna.
Palazzo Spada – Borromini’s Perspective Gallery
The 16th-century Palazzo Spada houses a vast art collection – hardly a novelty in Rome. But wander into the secluded courtyard and you’ll find something unique and fascinating: a perspective gallery by Baroque architect Francesco Borromini.
Diminishing rows of columns, a rising floor and converging walls trick the eye into thinking the gallery is much longer than it really is.
Steps from Santa Maria Maggiore but far less crowded, Santa Prassede welcomes the rare visitor to Rome who has been tipped off to its ornate mosaics in the apse, apsidal arch and triumphal arch.
The church also houses a piece of the alleged pillar where Jesus was beaten before crucifixion and, in the bell tower, 9th-century frescoes depicting the life of its namesake. You will need about an hour to take it all in.
For more information on things to do and places to stay in Rome, visit our destination guide.