I once read that all the world’s problems can be solved in a garden. So after a long week, since I don’t yet have a garden of my own, I go to the next best thing, Villa Ada. On a sunny Sunday morning Romans are faced with the following decision, they can either get in the cars and go to the beach or just doss about in one of Rome’s parks. Even though Rome has very many parks, the most famous being villa Borghese I suppose, Villa Ada has a certain something that makes it a cut above the rest. I don’t know whether it’s the hilly landscape, the lake with the ridiculously big fish, the marvelous old buildings, the bar on the top of the hill, the fact that it’s really dog friendly, or just that everyone seem to really enjoy themselves there (especially the dogs!).
I just like to lay here with everyone else who couldn’t be bothered to get stuck in the infamous roman traffic and even though I have my book, what goes on around is almost too distracting, a musician on his drums, street artists trying to balance on a rope, kids playing war, couples that desperately need to get a room, a yoga lesson and tourists that reflect the sun with their whiteness, so I just put my book down and sit and observe what goes on as if I were an anthropologist on assignment.
Apart from just laying about, having a picnic, playing ball or just doing the good old fashioned roly-poly, you can also rent a bike, a canoe or even a horse, there is also an outdoor gym and free gym lessons on Sundays around the lake, and finally ever so often during the summer months there are concerts in the evenings as part of the music festival ‘Rome meets the world’ against racism, war and the death penalty.
When the city just becomes too much, it’s nice to know that you can get away from it for a while, charge your batteries and return new and improved.
And now for some facts:
Villa Ada is the second largest after Villa Doria Pamphili and was owned by the Italian royal House of Savoy in the latter half of the nineteenth century and contained the royal residence. In 1878 the area came under the control of Count Tellfner of Switzerland, who named it in honor of his wife Ada. The royal family regained control of the land in 1904 but did not change the name. They retained control of the area until 1946. As of 2009 the area contains both public and private areas. The public area is controlled by the Council of Rome; the private area is controlled by the Egyptian Embassy, although the Town Council has made a formal claim to take control of the whole area. The private portion is under constant patrol by police or army personnel. On its highest prominence are the ruins of the ancient town of Antenne that yielded to the great power of Rome.