Pincio Gardens, Rome A great place from which to enjoy Rome’s picturesque sunsets, visiting the Pincio Gardens is a pleasant way to spend part of your day in the Eternal City. History of the Gardens The Pincio Gardens (a.k.a. Pincian Gardens) actually date back to ancient Rome, but what you’ll see when you visit them today is a more modern 19th century version, separated from the nearby Villa Borghese gardens by ancient walls. With orders from Napoleon, landscape architect Giuseppe Valadier laid out the gardens in French style; a style more formal than the traditional terraced gardens of Rome. Exploring Pincio Gardens While the plants and flowers of the gardens are quite lovely and vary with the seasons, what most visitors enjoy about Pincio Gardens is the vast number of busts of famous Italians (and other Europeans) that line the pathways. There are 228 in all, and they are – sadly – in various states of disrepair. Nonetheless, they can still be enjoyed on a stroll through the garden and their broken noses and sometimes graffitied pedestals are easily ignored by most visitors, though park maintenance people do their best to keep up with the damage. An obelisk, which is situated in the center of the gardens, is believed to be an early Roman copy, commissioned in the 2nd century AD by the Emperor Hadrian as a tribute to his dead favorite slave Antinoüs. Pope Pius VII placed the obelisk here in the gardens in 1822.turkeyarena.com Visitors can also view a unique water clock (orologio ad acqua), built in 1867 by a dominican, father Giovanni Embriaco. The water clock was one of the attractions at the Paris Universal Expo held that same year. In 1872 another model of Embracio's water clock was installed in the Pincio Gardens at the Viale dell'Orologio. Probably the greatest thing about visiting Pincio Gardens, however, is the panoramic view of the city it provides from the balustraded Pincio Terrace as it stretches out over the Piazza del Popolo. Try to arrive around sunset, when the view is by far the most stunning.