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RomeVilla Borghese. Accessible from: Piazzale Flaminio, Porta Pinciana, Via Pinciana, Via Mercadente, Via Aldrovandi, Viale Delle Belle Arti. Metro: Flaminio Station/Line B. Buses: 95, 490, 495, 52, 910, 926, 19, 19b, 30b.

The captivating oasis of vegetation known as Villa Borghese is also the setting for one of the most interesting art galleries in the city - the Galleria Borghese (see the Rome cultural life link). Numerous fountains and an interesting collection of statues and monuments are set within this historical/nature complex, which amongst others consists of the Giardini Segreti (Secret Gardens), the Giardino Del Lago (Garden of the Lake) and the Valle Dei Platani (Valley of the Plane trees).

Bioparco. Accessible from: Piazalle Giardino Zoologico 1 (Villa Borghese). Buses: 3, 4, 52, 53, 490, 495, 910, 926, 19, 19b, 30b. Open: 9.30am - 6.00pm (entry permitted until 5.00 pm).

Situated in the heart of Villa Borghese with around 200 animal species, including mammals, birds and reptiles, the Bioparco offers both young and old the possibility to come close to the nature world and have fun learning the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation. Inside the Bioparco, visitors can also find the Wildlife Rescue Center of LIPU (Italian Society for the Protection of Birds), a small hospital where can be seen, for example, tawny owls, barn owls, blackbirds being treated, etc.

Villa Doria Pamphilj. Accessible from: Porta S. Pancrazio, Via S. Pancrazio, Via Della Nocetta, Via Aurelia Antica. Buses: 982, 144, 31, 791. Open: 7.00am to sunset.

The surrounding area of Villa Doria Pamphilj is a relaxing and serene place to visit, especially if you have been spending a lot of time in the city center; large, open spaces of pastures and strips of natural vegetation alternate with gardens and plantations. The park is situated behind the Janiculum Hill (from here, you will have one of the most beautiful panoramas of Rome). The park was created between 1644 and 1652 for Prince Camillo Pamphilj and is the largest park in Rome (circa 1,809,000 square metres) with seemingly continuous terrain, fields, picturesque paths, pine forests, fountains, some small lakes and gardens.

Villa Ada Savoia. Accessible from: Via Salaria, Via Ponte Salario, Largo Bangladesh. Buses: 168, 53. Open: 7.00am to sunset.

Villa Ada Savoia was the former residence and hunting estate of the royal family before Italy became a republic. Apart from beautiful oaks, grassland and pine trees, the villa and its surrounding area offer an itinerary of beautiful landscapes and constitutes an important historical legacy. Visitors can enjoy a stroll on the natural pathways with special routes for joggers or athletes, or just sit by the side of the lake. During the summer, concert are often held here and currently, only part of the villa is open to the public (340,000 square metres).

Other parks of interest include the following:

Appia Antica Park. Accessible from: Via Di Porta S. Sebastiano. Tel: 06 51 30 682. Buses: 218, 660, 765.

The Nature Reserve of Monte Mario. Accessible from: Via Della Camilluccia, Via De Amicis, Via Del Parco Mellini (Trionfale). Tel: 06 35 40 34 36. Buses: 907, 913, 991, 999, 90, 90b

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