New Year’s Day in Villa Borghese

The ideal place in Rome to spend New Year's Day.

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New Year’s Day is a national holiday in Italy, which means that nearly everything — from shops to museums — are closed.

Many Romans see this pause as an opportunity to get outdoors to one of the city’s parks, such as the Villa Borghese. On warm weekends, the villa teems with runners, bike riders, and families out for a stroll. And it’s hardly different on the chilly first day of January.

Despite the size of the park (80 hectares/148 acres), it can feel crowded in some areas, particularly where there are bike and buggy rentals.

Alternatively, there’s the Piazza di Siena. This dusty, charmingly decrepit, and frequently sun-kissed 18th-century horse track in the center of Villa Borghese offers headspace-clearing views of cypresses and umbrella pines — perfect for contemplating new resolutions.

Melanie Renzulli

Melanie Renzulli

Melanie Renzulli has been writing about travel to Italy for more than 20 years.

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