Formerly the private grounds of Palazzo Corsini, Rome’s 12-hectare botanical gardens are a little-known, slightly neglected gem and a great place to unwind in a tree-shaded expanse covering the steep slopes of the Gianicolo. Plants have been cultivated here since the 13th century and the current gardens were established in 1883, when the grounds of Palazzo Corsini were given to the University of Rome. They now contain up to 8000 species, including some of Europe’s rarest plants.
There are also various architectural delights, including the Scalineta delle Undici Fontane (Staircase of 11 Fountains) designed by Ferdinando Fuga, the architect behind Palazzo Corsini and the loggia at Santa Maria in Maggiore. The garden entrance is at the end of Via Corsini. Note that there is no entrance or exit at the top of the gardens on the Gianicolo.