Giuseppe Conte

Exploring Park Caffarella

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and ancient ruins of Park Caffarella, a hidden gem in Rome's Appia Antica.

Scenic view of Park Caffarella in Rome's Appia Antica region


Park Caffarella is one of the largest and most beautiful green areas in Rome, Italy. It is part of the Regional Park of Appia Antica, which preserves the ancient Roman road and its surroundings. In this article, you will learn about the history, nature, and attractions of Park Caffarella, as well as some practical tips for visiting it.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

Park Caffarella is not a typical tourist destination, so you may not find many signs, maps, or facilities in the area. It is also quite large and spread out, so you will need to walk a lot or rent a bike to explore it fully. Depending on the season and the weather, some parts of the park may be muddy, overgrown, or closed to the public. You should plan to spend at least half a day in the park to enjoy its beauty and diversity.

Tips for your visit of Park Caffarella

  • Bring water and snacks. There are not many places to buy food or drinks in the park, so it is advisable to bring your own supplies. You can also have a picnic in one of the many grassy areas or near the ponds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. The park has different terrains and elevations, so you will need to wear suitable footwear and clothing. You may also encounter some animals, insects, or plants that can cause irritation or allergies, so be prepared and respectful of nature.

If you want to learn more about the history and culture of the park, you can join a guided tour or download an audio guide from the official website. You can also visit some of the nearby attractions, such as the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, or the Villa of Maxentius.

Practical Information

Opening Hours: The park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

How to Get There: You can reach the park by public transportation or by car. The nearest metro station is Arco di Travertino (line A), from where you can walk or take bus 765 to the park entrance. You can also take bus 118 from Piramide (line B) or San Giovanni (line A) and get off at one of the stops along Via Appia Antica. If you drive, you can park your car near Porta San Sebastiano or along Via Appia Antica.

Price: The park is free to enter and explore. However, some of the attractions inside the park may charge a fee or require a reservation. For example, the Catacombs of St. Callixtus cost 8 euros per person and need to be booked in advance.

Crowds: The park is usually not very crowded, especially during weekdays and off-seasons. However, it may get busier on weekends and holidays, especially near the main entrances and attractions. You can avoid the crowds by exploring the less visited areas of the park or by going early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Weather Considerations: The park is open all year round, but the weather may affect your visit. In summer, it can get very hot and dry, so you should wear sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses and drink plenty of water. In winter, it can get cold and rainy, so you should wear warm clothes and waterproof shoes and bring an umbrella. In spring and autumn, it can be mild and pleasant, but also unpredictable, so you should check the forecast before you go.

Photography: The park offers many opportunities for photography lovers, as it has diverse landscapes, flora, and fauna. You can capture stunning views of the Roman countryside, ancient monuments, colorful flowers, or cute animals. However, you should respect the environment and not disturb or damage anything for the sake of a photo. You should also ask for permission before taking photos of people or private properties.

Accessibility: The park is not very accessible for people with disabilities or mobility issues, as it has uneven paths, stairs, and slopes. There are also no ramps, elevators, or wheelchair-friendly facilities in the park. However, some of the attractions, such as the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, have adapted tours and services for visitors with special needs. You can contact them in advance to arrange your visit.

Facilities: The park has few facilities for visitors, such as toilets, benches, trash cans, and water fountains. You can find them near the main entrances or attractions, but not in the remote areas of the park. You should bring your own supplies and dispose of your waste properly.

Tours: The park offers guided tours and audio guides for visitors who want to learn more about its history and nature. You can book a tour online or at the information point near Porta San Sebastiano. The tours last about two hours and cost 15 euros per person. The audio guides are available in different languages and can be downloaded from the official website or rented at the information point for 5 euros per device.

Bringing Children: The park is a great place to bring children, as they can enjoy the fresh air, the open space, and the animals. You can also visit some of the attractions that are suitable for kids, such as the playground near Porta San Sebastiano, the farm near Via Latina, or the educational center near Via Appia Pignatelli. However, you should supervise your children at all times and make sure they do not wander off or touch anything dangerous.

Bringing Pets: The park is pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friends along. However, you should keep them on a leash and clean up after them. You should also respect the other visitors and animals in the park and not let your pets bother them.

These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Park Caffarella?

    Park Caffarella is a large green area in the south of Rome, Italy. It is part of the Appian Way Regional Park and covers about 180 hectares. It is home to many historical and natural attractions, such as ancient aqueducts, tombs, catacombs, farms, and a variety of plants and animals.

  • How can I get to Park Caffarella?

    Park Caffarella is easily accessible by public transport. You can take the metro line A and get off at Arco di Travertino, Furio Camillo, Colli Albani, or Porta Furba. From there, you can walk or bike to the park entrance. You can also take the bus lines 118, 218, 660, or 765 and stop near the park.

  • What can I do in Park Caffarella?

    Park Caffarella offers many activities for visitors of all ages and interests. You can enjoy a relaxing walk or bike ride along the paths that cross the park. You can visit the historical sites, such as the Tomb of Annia Regilla, the Catacombs of St. Sebastian, the Nymphaeum of Egeria, and the Aqueducts Park. You can also admire the natural beauty of the park, such as the Caffarella Valley, the Tor Fiscale Wood, and the Fosso della Cecchina. You can also join guided tours, workshops, events, and educational activities organized by the park authorities.

Must see

  • Tomb of Annia Regilla

    The Tomb of Annia Regilla is a monumental tomb built in the 2nd century AD for Annia Regilla, a noblewoman who was married to Herodes Atticus, a wealthy and influential Greek rhetorician. The tomb is located near the entrance of the park and has a circular shape with a dome and four niches. The tomb is decorated with reliefs depicting scenes from Greek mythology, such as the abduction of Persephone by Hades, the judgment of Paris, and the labors of Hercules.

  • Catacombs of St. Sebastian

    The Catacombs of St. Sebastian are underground burial chambers dating back to the 1st-4th centuries AD. They are named after St. Sebastian, a Christian martyr who was buried there. The catacombs contain several galleries with niches for the dead, frescoes, inscriptions, and symbols of early Christianity. The catacombs also house a basilica dedicated to St. Sebastian, where you can see his relics and a marble statue.

  • Nymphaeum of Egeria

    The Nymphaeum of Egeria is a fountain built in the 2nd-3rd centuries AD in honor of Egeria, a nymph who was the lover and adviser of Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome. The fountain is located in a cave at the end of the Caffarella Valley and has a semicircular shape with three niches. The fountain is fed by a spring that flows into a basin and creates a waterfall. The fountain is surrounded by vegetation and has a peaceful atmosphere.

  • Aqueducts Park

    The Aqueducts Park is a section of the park that contains several ancient aqueducts that supplied water to Rome from the 2nd century BC to the 6th century AD. The aqueducts are impressive engineering works that span over several kilometers and cross different landscapes. The most visible aqueducts are the Aqua Claudia and the Aqua Felix, which run parallel to each other and form arches over the park. The aqueducts are also a habitat for many birds and plants.

Lesser known stories and Interesting Facts

  • The Catacombs of St. Callixtus

    One of the most fascinating attractions in Park Caffarella is the ancient underground cemetery where many early Christian martyrs and popes were buried. You can visit the crypts and admire the frescoes and inscriptions that date back to the 2nd century AD.

  • The Tomb of Annia Regilla

    Annia Regilla was a noblewoman who lived in the 2nd century AD and was married to Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Greek senator and patron of the arts. She was murdered by one of his freedmen, and her tomb was built in a scenic spot overlooking the park. The tomb is a circular structure with a dome and four niches, decorated with reliefs and statues.

  • The Nymphaeum of Egeria

    Egeria was a nymph who was the lover and adviser of King Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome. According to legend, she met him in a sacred grove near a spring, where she taught him the rites and laws of the gods. The nymphaeum is a fountain that was built in her honor, featuring a grotto with statues and mosaics.

  • The Casale della Vaccareccia

    This is a farmhouse that dates back to the 15th century and was used as a hunting lodge by the noble families of Rome. It has a distinctive tower with battlements and a courtyard with arcades. The casale is now a museum that displays archaeological finds from the park and hosts cultural events.

  • The Valley of the Aqueducts

    The park is crossed by several ancient aqueducts that supplied water to Rome for centuries. The most impressive ones are the Aqua Claudia and the Aqua Anio Novus, which were built by Emperor Claudius in the 1st century AD. You can walk along the arches and admire the engineering marvels of the Roman Empire.

Historical Background

Park Caffarella is part of the larger Appian Way Regional Park, which covers an area of about 3400 hectares and preserves the natural and historical heritage of the ancient road that connected Rome to southern Italy. The park was named after Caius Caffarellus, a Roman senator who owned a villa in the area in the 1st century BC. The park has been inhabited since prehistoric times, as evidenced by some caves and tombs that have been discovered. It was also a strategic location for military campaigns, such as the wars against Hannibal and Spartacus.

The park reached its peak of splendor during the imperial period, when many villas, temples, tombs, and aqueducts were built by the wealthy and powerful citizens of Rome. Some of the most notable examples are the Villa of Maxentius, the Temple of Divus Rediculus, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, and the Circus of Maxentius. The park also witnessed some tragic events, such as the crucifixion of thousands of slaves after the revolt led by Spartacus in 71 BC, and the execution of many Christians during the persecutions ordered by Nero and Diocletian.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the park suffered from neglect and decay, as many buildings were plundered or destroyed by invaders, earthquakes, or floods. The park became a rural area, where farmers cultivated crops and raised animals. Some of the ancient structures were reused or incorporated into medieval fortifications or churches, such as the Torre Fiscale and the Church of St. Urban. The park also hosted some religious communities, such as the Benedictine monks who settled in the Abbey of St. Sebastian in the 9th century.

In modern times, the park has been recognized as a valuable cultural and natural asset, and has been protected by various laws and initiatives. The park is open to visitors who can enjoy its beauty and history, as well as its biodiversity and ecological features. The park is home to more than 1000 plant species and 150 animal species, including some rare or endangered ones, such as the European pond turtle, the porcupine, and the peregrine falcon. The park also offers many recreational and educational opportunities, such as hiking, biking, horse riding, guided tours, workshops, and events.

Nearby Restaurants

  • Hostaria Antica Roma This is a cozy and elegant restaurant that serves traditional Roman cuisine with a touch of creativity. You can enjoy dishes such as pasta with artichokes, lamb chops with rosemary, and tiramisu. The restaurant is located in a historic building that was once part of the Aqua Marcia aqueduct.
  • Quinto Quarto This is a rustic and friendly restaurant that specializes in offal dishes, such as tripe, liver, and tongue. You can also try other delicacies, such as fried zucchini flowers, cheese and pepper pasta, and chocolate cake. The restaurant is situated in a former butcher shop that dates back to the 19th century.
  • Ristorante L'Archeologia This is a refined and romantic restaurant that offers a variety of dishes inspired by the Mediterranean and international cuisine. You can savor dishes such as seafood risotto, duck breast with orange sauce, and cheesecake with berries. The restaurant is located in a charming villa that overlooks the park and the ancient ruins.

Nearby Attractions

  • The Appian Way This is the oldest and most famous road in Rome, built in 312 BC by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus. The road stretched for about 600 km from Rome to Brindisi, and was used for military, commercial, and political purposes. You can walk or bike along the road and admire its monuments, such as the Arch of Drusus, the Tomb of Priscilla, and the Villa of the Quintilii.
  • The Baths of Caracalla These are the largest and best preserved ancient thermal baths in Rome, built by Emperor Caracalla in the 3rd century AD. The baths could accommodate up to 1600 people at a time, and offered various services, such as hot and cold pools, saunas, gyms, libraries, and gardens. You can visit the ruins and marvel at their size and decoration.
  • The Colosseum This is the most iconic symbol of Rome, built by Emperor Vespasian in the 1st century AD. The Colosseum was an amphitheater that could host up to 80000 spectators who watched gladiator fights, animal hunts, naval battles, and other spectacles. You can explore the arena and the underground tunnels where the performers and animals were kept.


Park Caffarella is a hidden gem in Rome that offers a unique combination of nature and history. You can discover its secrets and stories while enjoying its scenery and tranquility. Whether you are interested in ancient culture, art, or wildlife, you will find something to suit your taste and curiosity. Park Caffarella is a place where you can experience the past and present of Rome in a different way.