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By Claudia Quesito 

Whether you feel like going for a run, strolling, having a picnic, playing, or just people-watching, parks are a great place to spend some time. Italy has several national parks with gorgeous nature, scenic views, and great hiking opportunities, but let’s focus on urban parks. 

If you travel to Italy, chances are, you will end up in Roma, where among zillions of places to go, Villa Borghese is a not-to-be-missed item on bucket list. This large (200-acre), art-filled public garden hosts the Galleria Borghese and other notable museums, villas, architectural gems, a zoological garden, and of course … lots of green! Villa Ada and Villa Doria Pamphilj, also located in Rome, offer other escapes from the city buzz and are filled with art, architecture, and ancient ruins—you literally cannot miss this trio in Roma.

Let’s leave the capital and travel a little north, to Bomarzo, in the Viterbo province. The area hosts a lot of Etruscan ruins, plus the unique Parco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters), which is filled with grotesque statues. Among the “normal” lions and elephants, you’ll find an Orcus, sirens, a dragon, and much more, all immersed in a delightfully green area. 

Let’s continue our trip towards North and reach Monza, a little town close to Milano that, together with a nice historical center and a spectacular cathedral, hosts the Parco di Monza, one of the biggest walled parks in Europe. Completed in 1808, it’s a lovely oasis of lawns and woods and, if you happen to be there in September, you might consider enjoying the long-lasting Formula Uno Gran Prix. 

Let’s jump now to the South of Italy, where there are at least two urban parks in the not-to-miss category: the Parco del Palazzo Reale, in Caserta, a gorgeous example of baroque style, also inspired by the park of Versailles; and the spectacular Parco Comunale in Taormina, next to the Teatro Greco, with a breathtaking view of the blue Mediterranean Sea and the Etna volcano.

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