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Villa Borghese ★★, in the heart of Rome, is not actually a villa but one of Europe’s most elegant parks, 6km (3 3/4 miles) in circumference. It provides access to several outstanding museums within. Cardinal Scipione Borghese created the park in the 1600s. Umberto I, king of Italy, acquired it in 1902 and presented it to the city of Rome. With landscaped vistas and manicured gardens, this heart-shaped greenbelt is crisscrossed by roads, but you can escape from the traffic and seek a shaded area under a tree to enjoy a picnic or relax. On a sunny weekend, it’s a pleasure to stroll here and see Romans at play, riding bikes, lounging under umbrella pines, or inline skating. There are a few casual cafes and more upscale eateries. In the northeast of the park is a small zoo.

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