Originally Published: July 2, 2014

Wanna spend a sunny day in Rome without spending a large loot? Grab the kids, pack a picnic and head to Villa Celimontana. One of the most stunning Roman public parks, Villa Celimontana, I think, has something for tourists of any age.

Entrance to Celimontana Park

History of Villa Celimontana Park

For history buffs, this property is as full of ancient folklore and archeological evidence as almost any other well-known Roman site. Legend has it that Rome’s second king Numa Pompilius met the Nymph Egeria over 700 years before Christ on these lush grounds. There is also evidence that ancient vigiles (urban police) had their headquarters located on the grounds. In the 16th Century Villa Celimontana was used as a vineyard and in the 18th Century it was renovated by the famous French-American architect Pierre Charles l’Enfant.

Things To Do at Villa Celimontana

Today, the parks sloping hills are often covered in blankets and baskets because, well…. WHO DOESN’T LOVE A PICNIC? Together with friends, me and the fam love to chill at Celimontana.

The entranceway invites you with its gorgeous gardens, while the kids feel the call of the sweet smelling zucchero filato, or cotton candy. I usually buy my kids one on the way in to fuel them for the hours they will whirl around on their bikes. Then I bribe them with one on the way out, because they never want to leave, and we all ride home crying, sticky and high on sugar!

But this stunning park does merit tears when you have to leave! Villa Celimontana boasts fountains by Bernini, views of the Aventine Hill’s valley and sculptures from the Renaissance period. FYI: I do believe that it could also be home to the world’s most magnificent public bathrooms (have you ever stood between ancient ruins while standing in line for the potty?)!

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Visiting with Kids

While you don’t need kids to enjoy the gardens (because who needs kids to have fun?), parents will certainly be glad that there is an area designated for little ones as well. Kids can stay busy with the oodles of play equipment, a ring for biking, skating and scootering, and there are even pony rides for a couple of bucks. If none of those things suit your offspring, there is still plenty of room to kick around a soccer ball or gaze at a fountain full of carp and koi (I think) fish.

So grab your panino with prosciutto, gather up your troops and bring a bottle of chilled wine to Villa Celimontana.

How to get to Villa Celimontana in Rome:

Entrance on Via della Navicella, 12; Metro B: Colosseo

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