5 Eclectic, Lesser Known Spots which are all FREE and aesthetically pleasing (Note: Stunning Views Included)
1 . Monte Mario
Monte Mario is in the North West of Rome ten minutes on the bus North of the Vatican, in the district where I live (Balduina). It’s a peaceful park, Nature Reserve and walking area. It’s the highest hill in Rome at 139m above sea level and it’s where I go for my jogs. There is one bit of hill (The Sentiero Natura with the old observatory, it’s very La La Land and was where the Italians set the Meridian time for maps until they switched to Greenwich mean time in the 1960s). Sentiero Natura is so steep that it is a great workout for my legs because I feel ‘the burn’. Of course, you can visit Monte Mario for a leisurely walk and there are many dog walkers on weekends enjoying the views. (I was taking a selfie with my friend on our walk and a gorgeous golden retriever photo bombed us. Best. Thing. Ever.) For peace, quiet, reflection over the city and a luscious array of trees- it’s perfect for your Autumn escapades. There are also little churches you can visit (I haven’t done that yet, as the entrance I enter from is mainly just trees) and as you stroll there is also a cafe next to the road (sorry I can’t remember the name) with exquisite views through it’s long glass windows. The area is also where the Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria resides…so by no means will you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Photographs don’t do the panoramic views justice!
Further link for Monte Mario: https://www.romehints.com/en/The-enchanting-scenery-of-the-natural-reserve-of-Monte-Mario/
2 . Coin Department Store in Prati
Now, of course, this spot isn’t entirely free if you choose to buy something at Coin. But an idyllic Sunday afternoon idea is, after your walk at Monte Mario you can hop on the 913 bus (or stay on the bus which can take you all the way into the Historical Centre, Augusto Imperatore) and head into Prati where you only have to walk one street after exiting the bus to get there. I in Coin on November 1st and yes they have brands such as Tiffany & Co., Chanel and many things out of my price range but it’s still a joy to dream, to browse. In their homeware area they had a classy Christmas display (yes, a tad early but I had no complaints) in all my favourite colours. Oh, and an extensive Yankee candle selection with vast array of Christmas baking and Powdery snow scents. The department store itself is also grand with many floors, imagine the movie Serendipity– with the characters meeting in a busy department store at Christmas time- it gave me a warm fuzzy reminder of that romcom.
Icy pinks & blues against a mocha painted wall.
Shimmery pinks and golds under drapes and dinky chandeliers.
Website & Address: https://www.coin.it/stores/roma-via-cola-di-rienzo-173
3. The Non-Catholic Graveyard in Testaccio
I went here on the morning of Halloween because I’m a bit witchy like that. The weather was balmy and the graveyard was beautiful. I even saw a black cat in there and a girl my age chilling on one of the benches smoking and reading a book. Wonderfully Gothic. Famous British writers are buried there : John Keats (my favourite poet) and Percy Bysshe Shelley. I was certainly there over an hour soaking up the history and atmosphere, admiring the names on graves and vast array of statues. Be prepared to be astonished by a towering pyramid in the graveyard and gardeners regularly watering the spongy green lawns. I was surprised to overhear two British people working in the graveyard gift shop of all places!
Website link here: http://www.cemeteryrome.it/about/about.html
Shadowy trees and stone greys.
Spot the tiny cherub.
3. Ripa Area
On Sunday 10th November another spot I discovered with some friends was Ripa, the area where you can look through a key hole and see something magical. The queue for this key hole was mighty long so I’m planning to go back on a quiet Monday morning and have a peep. In the same proximity of Piazza del Cavaleri di Malta where that is, is Viale Michele Galdieri with gothic crumbling walls and again, views of the city on a terrace looking out onto Trastevere. Lovingly called Orange Park, maybe because oranges grew there? Or it’s a great place to watch the sunset? It’s off the beaten track and a great outdoor place to unwind. The views are impressive, with a useful wall to sit on (although views not as extensive as Monte Mario.)
More information here: https://www.afar.com/places/orange-park-roma
5. Discover your Own Autumn Scenic Spot
Last but certainly not least, why not find your own spot? Your own place you’ve stumbled across in the city where the colours are just right, the sun hits your face as you’re snuggled up in your scarf.
I found one. I sat down on the bench opposite this vibrant hedgerow (on the paved path between the top of the Spanish steps leading to Villa Borghese if you’re interested) and I breathed, snapped this pic and scribbled daydreams in my journal. Maybe I won’t be able to recreate that moment, to capture the weather in the same way and my morning mood to match it. Maybe I will- it’s imprinted in my memory though.
Also, I just googled how long it takes to walk from the top of Spagna steps to Villa Borghese…Google thought I meant actual Spagna/Spain. It takes 164 hours if anyone feels like attempting that? Hehe!
Remember to live your best Autumn life, whichever city you’re in.
Ciao bellas, Georgia x
P.S) Remember to stay tuned for more posts about Rome – I’ve got two posts about day trips to the countryside out of Rome, both a comfortable 1 hour 30 min drive.