Written by: Artur Jakucewicz Rome Holiday Planning Expert
The Savello Park, or the Garden of Oranges (Giardino degli Aranci), is one of the most romantic places in Rome, a great tourist attraction you can visit without booking expensive tickets.
Picturesque alleys adorn Aventine Hill, from the top of which you can enjoy the magnificent views of the Italian capital. Both guests of the city and locals adore this place for comfort and coolness as well as for the opportunity to look at two states at the same time: the Vatican and Italy.
And just 500 meters away, there is another mini-state – The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Itaian: Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta) with a unique door looking through the keyhole of which you will see 3 countries at once.
Tip: we recommend visiting the Garden of Oranges during a tour around Rome at sunrise.
The park occupies an area of about 7800 square meters (83958.5 sq ft), which served to protect Rome in the 13th century. In 1287, the building of the defensive castle Savello belonging to the Savelli family on the Aventine Hill was completed. Since the castle had been actively used during civil wars it became unusable by the 18th century. In 1932, the architect Raffaele De Vico, under the municipality order, started constructing a city park.
The remains of the castle were abolished for this purpose and the community of Dominican monks gave part of their land for public use. Thus, a new viewing platform offering an incredible look at panorama and similar to those ones that adorn the hills of Gianicolo and Pincio appeared on the top of the Aventine.
The Gianicolo viewing platform is named after Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi – Piazza Garibaldi. And Pincio is known for its Villa Borghese and Borghese Gallery – the famous city park and the Museum of Rome.
Small terraces surrounded the Aventine so that travelers could enjoy the views of the Tiber and the architecture of Rome.
Orange trees, which provide shade even in high summer, are garden’s adornment. But you won’t be able to eat the oranges since these small fruits are not intended for eating. It is remarkable that the orange trees were planted in honor of Saint Dominic (Latin Sanctus Dominicus) who founded the Basilica of Saint Sabina (Italian: Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino).
From an architectural perspective, the garden has a clear symmetrical structure. The park’s center is an alley named after Nino Manfredi, Italian actor and writer. There are two parts of the square on both sides of the alley. Fountain by Giacomo della Porta had adorned one part of them, and in 1973 it was moved to Piazza San Simeone. The square is named after Fiorenzo Fiorentini, an actor who has been an art director of the summer theater in the open air on the garden territory for many years.
Entrance to the Savello Park is decorated with an antique fountain similar to the Mouth of Truth located at the foot of the hill. Originally, the fountain was a simple Roman thermal bath faced with travertine. In the 16th century, it was decorated with carved stone mask with dramatically frowned lush eyebrows.
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Today the Garden of Oranges has three entrances: from Piazza Pietro d’Illiria, from Via di Santa Sabina Street, and from the alley Clivo di Rocca Savella.
Read also about the Vatican Gardens.
Andrea Gandini, born in 1997, is a remarkable artist who has been immersed in public art since the young age of 17. His journey began in the city of Rome, where he started carving the remnants of felled trees. As time passed, his artistic language evolved, seeking both natural and urban landscapes to showcase his work.
The idea to begin carving on tree trunks originated when Gandini found himself unexpectedly out of materials for his creations. Until that moment, he had been observing the cut trunks populating the sidewalks of Rome, and it was on one such day he decided to create his first public piece on a Roman street.
Much like Michelangelo, who once said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free,” Gandini sees hidden shapes and curves within tree stumps, wishing to free them so the world can appreciate their unseen beauty. His work explores the relationship between life and death visible in nature, specifically within trees.
Creating his sculptures within trees no longer alive, Gandini seeks to erect a monument to what was once a living being. He perceives trees as individual beings that can be male or female, feed, hibernate, and reproduce. Sadly, they often live for hundreds of years and are often treated as waste once they die.
Gandini’s work, including those in Rome’s Orange Garden, is a testament to his commitment to honoring nature, life, and beauty in an incredibly unique way.
This Artwork is located on the right side of the central path leading to the observation deck. Do not miss it!
Surely, a delightful bonus of visiting Rome’s Orange Garden is its viewpoint. It’s one of the best spots for savoring Rome’s sunset panoramas.
Locals often gather here. But an early morning visit has its charm, too – fewer tourists.
From the platform, you glimpse the Tiber River’s embankment and Trastevere district. Far off, St. Peter’s Cathedral rises – Rome’s highest point. Just to the left, Janiculum Hill stands proud with its famed Garibaldi monument and Acqua Paola fountain.
Looking right, you’ll see the Altar of the Fatherland and a multitude of pines. A sight that will take your breath away.
Tip: If you’re a photography enthusiast or a professional, I recommend bringing a 200-300mm telephoto lens. You won’t regret it.
The park is located close to the Basilica of Saint Sabina. Many weddings usually occur here. In winter, lovers like to be photographed in the background of the trees solemnly decorated with orange blossoms.
The white petals of orange are a long-time symbol of the bride’s purity. It is the best decoration for wedding photos you can ever find!
If going to the south-west along Via de Santa Sabina, you will come across Piazza of the Knights of Malta (Italian: Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta) designed by Giovanni Battista Piranesi in 1765. By the way, any person can legally peep through the keyhole at the entrance to Villa del Priorato di Malta (Italian: La villa del Priorato di Malta). You can see the dome of Basilica di San Pietro in all its glory through the “forbidden” attraction!
If having left the Garden of Oranges, turn left along Via di Santa Sabina, you can quickly reach the magnificent rosary Roseto di Roma Capitale. More than a thousand varieties of roses are beautifully planted out, occupying a territory of 10 thousand square meters (107639 sq ft).
To get to the Orange Garden in Rome, you can use public transportation, such as buses or the metro. If you opt for the metro, take Line B to the Circo Massimo station, and then walk for about 15 minutes up the Aventine Hill. Alternatively, you can take buses 23, 280, or 716, alighting at the “Santa Sabina” stop, which is a short walk away from the garden entrance. The Orange Garden, also known as Parco Savello, is located on Via di Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill, offering a peaceful retreat and spectacular views of the city.
Author: Artur Jakucewicz Rome Holiday Planning Expert
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