The enchanting scenery of the natural reserve of Monte Mario
The Riserva Naturale di Monte Mario is one of the most spectacular parks in Rome, with its 238 hectares and an altitude of 139 meters. Situated on the famous Monte Mario hill, this natural reserve introduces a charming frame of green, made of history and culture, from centuries and centuries, as even for the ancient Roman people, it was a good place for observing the sea, and from the XV century, it hosts the Osservatorio Astronomico.
It is the relief of greater majesty of the Colli della Farnesina, it is a true geologic mosaic for the soil characteristics, and its peculiar flora and fauna. All the area is characterized by the presence of typical Mediterranean vegetation at the sea level like holms, corks and cistus trees, and so on. There is also vegetation belonging to the sub-mountain areas, of medium height with hornbeam, maple, tilia, ornus, lustrous, kernel and cornily trees. Because of the processes of man-made environment, the original fauna has strongly diminished. As far as the current fauna, today there are present rodents as the Mus musculus, the wild rat, the Muscardinus, but also several species of peculiar birds such as the Chloris Chloris, the robin, the goldfinch, the blackbird, the Aegithalos caudatus, the Coloeus monedula and the Sturnus.
Since the Roman age, the hill has hosted numerous residential villas of poets, nobles and rich land owners. Monte Mario often was crossed by the armies returning from the wars. The place where they took place was Via Trionfale, also walked by the pilgrims coming to Rome to visit St. Peter's. In the beautiful area of the Riserva Naturale di Monte Mario, there still are historical villas, such as Villa Mazzanti and Villa Mellini - which became in the early 20th century, home to the famous Osservatorio Astronomico. There are also some churches such as San Lazzaro dei Lebbrosi and the church of Santa Maria del Rosario. It is also possible to walk along several paths making the Riserva Naturale di Monte Mario place one-of-a-kind, rich in citizens and tourists.
The Sentiero Natura: the hill of the observatory
The distance is approximately 1 kilometer and it lasts 40 minutes. You can enter by Viale del Parco Mellini or Piazzale Maresciallo Giardino. The path is available all over the year, but it introduces many gaps and when it’s rainy, it becomes slippery, so you always have to pay attention. This path is one of the most beautiful and interesting of the Riserva, and it is characterized by many cliffs that allow studying the geologic origins of the place. On the way, there are many benches to sit and refresh themselves, once on the top you can admire the most stunning views of the city.
The Sentiero Natura: the Collina della Farnesina
It consists in a circular route where there is also a bike path. The entrances are situated in Via dei Casali di Santo Spirito and in Via dei Colli della Farnesina, the walk lasts approximately 1 hour, for 2 kilometres. The total distance is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. The gap is 30 metres long along the ring road and 70 metres along the descent, that leads in Via dei Colli della Farnesina. This path is available all over the year and it is in the shade. It offers a splendid panorama on the Monte Mario hill towards the Stadio Olimpico. It is a place to picnic and spend a day in the nature. There are some fountains to drink along the way.
The Sentiero Natura: the hill of Villa Madama and the Stadio Olimpico
The path is 2 km long, for 1 hour of walking. The entrances are situated in Via Parco della Vittoria and and Via E. De Amicis, there is a fountain to drink at the entrance of Via Parco della Vittoria. You can walk along this path all over the year and admire a pure nature in Rome. The gap of the climb is 80 metres long, but the path is easy except fot the area of the Querce path.
The Monte Mario churches
Together with the charming natural scene, the Riserva di Monte Mario offers also some of the most ancient country houses and villas of Italy, and three churches very ancient featured by a great symbolic value that is worth visiting. These churches were a passage of the pilgrims going to Saint Peter's, in the past.
The Church of S. Croce ai Casali Mellini, named also chapel of Santo Crocifisso, is situated in Via Trionfale and it dates back to the XIV century. It was one of the first points crossed by the pilgrims, towards Saint Peter's. The church was a destination of pilgrimages, during the plague of Rome, in the 17th century, but it was destroyed in the 19th century, for the construction of a strong military. Today, you can just see the sacristy and the entrance, a detailed map lets you understand the original structure of the church.
The origin of the Church of Santa Maria del Rosario is from the XVII century, by a Roman humanist, G.V. Rossi, secretary of the Cardinal Andrea Peretti. Rossi ordered the built of the church in order to assist people affected by malaria. The church has complex story and the dome is the symbol of Monte Mario.
The Church of San Lazzaro dei Lebbrosi was the last step of the pilgrims to Saint Peter's. It is situated inside of Borgo San Lazzaro and has a very ancient story. Originally dedicated to Santa Maria Maddalena, then differently named for because of its transformation into a place where sick people were treated in the XV century. The aspect of the church is simple and very maintained, it is possible to visit it because it has been recently restored.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend The Inn At The Roman Forum, a luxury residence in the center of Rome with a modern design.