Up on a hill behind the Colosseum lies L’Aventino, a calm, quiet, very green neighborhood. It is home to a few magnificent gardens, scenic churches such as the Basilica di Santa Sabina where many Romans get married, and many elegant houses. In May and June, on your way up, go through the Rose Garden overlooking Circus Maximus, which has an annual rose competition and boasts dozens of beautiful varieties.
The residential streets of L’Aventino, further up the hill, are in themselves a real beauty to walk through — with hardly any traffic or other tourists you feel like you’re in a rich suburb of the city, far away from all the chaos, but without having to set foot on a train or even bus. The air is rich with the fragrances of the cyprus trees and many flowering plants and bushes which spill dramatically over the bright orange stucco walls, and the brick and stone buildings.
One of the most popular sights in the area is the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta — the Knights of Malta. Underneath an elaborate crest carved in stone sits a simple wooden door, but step up and look through the small keyhole and you see directly, through the gardens inside and across the river, a perfect view of the dome of the Vatican.
The most romantic spot that you must see in the neighborhood is the Giardino degli Aranci, a garden lined with small orange trees, with not only a perspective-defying view of the Vatican dome again, but of all of old Rome and Trastevere below. As afternoon becomes evening the park (also known as Parco Savello) is popular among young couples, and when you live in Rome you’ll frequently be invited up here on the back of the Vespa of a young Roman eager to show off his city.