According to the most official looking survey I could find (welovedates.com), Rome does not make the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in the World. She’s been pipped to the post by smaller, more manageable cities like Florence and Venice, and is currently lagging somewhere behind Dublin.
Perhaps it’s because Rome is so hot and busy, and full of so many ancient artefacts that sheer visual fatigue makes it hard to look at anything at the end of the day, let alone your good-looking partner.
But, Rome can be romantic. Think of Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant navigating their way through small back streets on a vespa. Think of Anita Ekberg frolicking about in the Trevi Fountain.
To prove it, I've provided a little guide to the best views in the Eternal City:
Giardino degli Aranci
Perched on top of the Aventine Hill, ringed with small churches, fountains and some prime real estate, sits the Giardino degli Aranci, also known as Parco Sevello. It’s a small, simple garden comprising one long, large pathway lined with orange trees, flora and plenty of foliage, overlooking a spectacular view of the cityscape and the River Tiber.
Take a short stroll up Via di Sante Sabina to Rome’s (semi) secret keyhole, which offers a view of the Gardens of the Knights of Malta and an incredible framed view of Saint Peter’s Basilica.
You wont be the only couple up here (if the gardens could speak, I’m sure they’d have some stories to tell), but the view is breathtaking.
Gardens close just after sunset, and there’s no chance of sneaking about after closing hours either. The park is manned by a very wise park keeper who pops out after sunset and all but shouts ‘enough hanky-panky everybody. Off you pop’.
This is what you’d call a ‘sweeping view’. The summit of Gianicolo Hill offers a view of almost the entire city, and from here you’ll be able to make out most of Rome’s ancient landmarks and almost all of Rome’s Seven Hills. Silence pervades, but if you get to the hill for midday, listen out for a single canon shot, a tradition dating back to the mid-19th century. From around 6pm it becomes a popular patch for young, amorous lovers.
Its not quite a lovers stroll from Trastevere (more of a small hike) but it’s worth it for the views alone. En route you’ll pass the Fontana dell’Aqua Parma, an impressive sixteenth century fountain which formed the inspiration for the eponymous Trevi Fountain.
Ponte Umberto I
A perfect view at sunset. Lesser known than Ponte Sant’Angelo and Ponte Sisto, Ponte Umberto I links Piazza di Ponte Umberto I to Piazza dei Tribunali, home to the imposing Palace of Justice. From here you can see Ponte Sant’Angelo and the Castello in all its glory. The River Tiber, which by day takes on a rather unappealing green tinge, literally sparkles at sunset.
Hardly a well kept secret, the Trevi Fountain is usually the first stop on any tourist hit-list. At eighty five feet tall and over 65 feet wide, that doesn't make it any less spectacular.If you really want to make the most of it, get here in the wee hours of the morning. Without traffic, you can hear the fountain from a few streets away and all that the white stone against an early morning sky is nothing short of breathtaking. Just don't expect to do any frolicking in the water, it’s more heavily patrolled than in the days of La Dolce Vita.
Clamber up the Spanish Steps, or hike up the narrow Rampa Mignanelli from Piazza Mignanella and you’ll find yourself en route to the Villa Borghese. Aside from housing the infamous Galleria Borghese, a huge sprawling lake and acres of immaculately landscaped gardens, it also offers a spectacular view of the Eternal City. Head West of the park to Pincio, a point which overlooks Piazza del Popolo, the entire Prati district and a spectacular duomo punctuated city scape.
Its the perfect patch to pull out that whopper of a line ‘the view is beautiful from here… no, no I was talking about your face’.