Serenity Found in a Bustling City: Villa Pamphili, Rome

Julie Bourne is a student at University of Denver and an ISA Featured Blogger. Julie is currently studying abroad in Rome on a Fall 1 program.

Rome is a very busy city full of leisurely people. Despite the fact that walking at a .001 MPH pace is the norm here, the city center is constantly buzzing with both tourists and locals- sometimes to a point where you just really need to pause and breathe in some fresh air that isn’t being closely shared with thousands of other people. This is when a place like Villa Pamphili becomes a much-needed retreat.

Villa Doria Pamphili is Rome’s largest park, and was once a private estate laid out in 1650 for Prince Camillo Pamphilj who was the nephew of Pope Innocent X. Today, it serves as a massive park, lush with greenery and relaxed Italians spending their time jogging, playing volleyball, picnicking, or just strolling. The park itself is diverse, combining both historical monuments with more modern walking trails and playgrounds, which makes for a scenic stroll (or in my usual case, jog) through the park.

Of course, I love Villa Pamphili because of its’ scenery and history. But the reason I keep coming back is because of its’ innately comforting atmosphere. Not many tourists know about the park, as it is humbly tucked away in the residential Monteverde neighborhood. For this reason, it is a place where you truly get to see Italians enjoy the “dolce fa niente”: the sweetness of doing nothing (that quote is a cliché for a reason… it is because it is true!).

Out in the busier parts of Rome, I find myself occasionally getting flustered with language barriers and cultural differences. However, in a place like Villa Pamphili, everything seems universal. There is a delightful common understanding that everyone there is out appreciating the vast nature, enjoying the company of family and friends, fitting in a quick workout, or simply breathing in the fresh air.

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