The villas in Rome are one of its best features and I’ve written about the best villas in the city for various activities. Since we were staying up in Monteverde (a neighborhood above Trastevere going up and over the Janiculum hill), we had the Villa Doria Pamphilj in the backyard (FYI: it is also spelled “Pamphili” and occasionally “Pamfili or Pamfilj.” It’s the name of a 17th c Baroque family that included a Pope and the variations on spelling depend on how Roman you want to be, as “J” is used in Romanesco dialect but rarely in Italian). I love the Villa Pamphilj because it’s quiet and filled with people who are enjoying the outdoors. In our whirlwind visit when I wanted a bit of calm I took a book up to the villa and sat on a bench for a few hours in the shade of some Roman pines. It was lovely and perfect.
There aren’t exactly sights in the Villa Pamphilj. There are some manicured gardens and a few sculptures and fountains here and there, but it’s mostly grasses and fields and trees. It is my understanding that the Casino del Bel Respiro has tremendous decor on the inside, but is only opened under limited circumstances (a bit of poking around says: by reservation only on Saturday mornings between 9-1pm from October-June) and I’ve never been lucky enough to see the inside. But now I know one activity that’s going to be on my itinerary next time I’m in the city! Regardless the villa is the perfect place for a picnic or a walk or a moment of peace amid the chaos of Rome.