There is no question about it. Rome is hot. Especially during summer. Rome also happens to be popular, busy and crowded as visitors from around the world descend on the Eternal City. So how does one try and keep cool when the heat rises?
The best place to escape summer is in Rome’s green spaces, in particular, the Villa Borghese Gardens.
The tourist masses seem to stop once they reach Piazza Di Spagna. They pull up some concrete on the Spanish Steps and camp out there.
But once you reach the top of the Spanish Steps, turn left and walk a couple of hundred metres along the road. You will see a ramp leading up to the entrance of Villa Borghese Gardens.
Spread out over several kilometres are walking and cycling trails. The overhead trees provide you with a welcome relief from the hot sun.
There are a few cafes spread through the gardens but it is best to pack a picnic lunch. That way you can spend more time enjoying the natural green spaces.
There is a lake near the middle where you can hire a rowboat for an hour. A mini Pantheon on the shore makes for the perfect backdrop.
If you are not a fan of walking, take advantage of the bike hire facilities. Choose from two wheels or four and pedal your way around the gardens. Not only will you see some great views, but you will keep fit, too. A win-win all round.
However, if you just want to sit and relax, there are plenty of benches to enjoy the quiet park atmosphere. Listen to the birds above you in the treetops tweeting merrily. You may even make out the sound of crickets chirping nearby.
Villa Borghese is the perfect place to disappear into for a few hours. It gives you the chance to replenish your energy and prepare yourself to face the crazy busy city below again.
The gardens are one place where you will see a lot of Italians out for the weekend. It is a popular spot for jogging, walking, riding or simply just sitting to people watch.
You will feel like you have the gardens to yourself sometimes as I discovered, because not many tourist dare to venture passed the Spanish Steps.
Rome is a beautiful city and I love the busy vibe. Yet sometimes you just need a timeout for yourself.