Come July and August, most of us are in need of the cool of an outdoor pool to relax by. But Rome isn’t awash with them and most are part of privately-owned swimming and sports clubs or upmarket hotels. Expect to pay upwards of €30 a day per person for entry to exquisitely chic surroundings at the top end of the spectrum, and nearer €8-€10 for perfectly adequate but sometimes crowded and scruffy cheaper pools. We’ve picked ten of Rome’s best, from New York-style rooftop pools with to-die-for views over the city and a nice line in cocktails to family-friendly cheap and cheerful circoli. The € symbols represent ranking by price.
1. Aldrovandi Palace
€€€€ Small and very select city-centre oasis, La Ranocchia (meaning ‘little frog’) is shaded by overhanging palms and huge cream parasols. Arrive early as space is limited around this most grown-up pool. 10.00-19.00 daily (Mon-Sun €120). Via Ulisse Aldrovandi 15 (Parioli), tel. 063223993, www.aldrovandi.com.
€€ About 30 km outside Rome is one of Italy’s largest waterparks, with everything from wave machines to vertiginous water slides. Mon-Sun 09.00-19.30, weekends and holidays until 19.30 (Mon-Sat €16, half-day €8, Sun €20, half day €10). No charge for children up to ten years accompanied by a paying adult. Via Maremmana Inferiore (Guidonia), tel. 0774326538, www.aquapiper.it.
3. Belle Arti
€€ Only open for free swimming on weekends, but well worth a mention for its fantastic central location tucked behind a church on Via Flaminia. A quiet atmosphere makes it good for those with very young children. Every day 08.00-20.00 (€20). Via Flaminia 158 (Flaminio), tel. 063226529.
4. Cavalieri Hilton
€€€€€ This Olympic-sized outdoor pool-with-a-view is the crème de la crème of Rome’s pools if you like serious swimming. It’s large, luxurious and well worth the trip to Monte Mario. With a separate children’s pool. 08.00-20.00 daily (weekdays €45, weekends €85, sunlounger and towel included). Via Alberto Cadlolo 101 (Monte Mario), tel. 0635091, www.cavalieri-hilton.it.
5. Circolo Valentini
€ Slightly shabby but fabulously friendly, family-run pool, used by locals. The adjoining restaurant will knock you up a lunchtime salad for around e4. Daily 07.00-19.00 (weekdays €10, half-day €7, weekends €13/€9). Via della Marcigliana 597, corner Via Bufalotta (Talenti/Prati Fiscali), tel. 0687120207, www.circolovalentini.it.
6. Club Lanciani
€€ A large tennis club with an outdoor pool offering lessons, free swimming and a children’s summer school. Mon-Fri 10.00-18.55, Sat 09.00-18.30 (€12/14). Via di Pietralata 135 (Tiburtino), tel. 064181401, www.clublanciani.eu.
€€ Think miles of water slides, wave machines, pools, South-Pacific-style thatched bars, shops and a mini-club… Weekdays 09.30-18.30, weekends until 19.00 (weekdays: adults €16.50, children €11, half-day €11/€9; weekends: adults €18, children €13, half-day €13/€11). Casal Lumbroso 33 (Aurelio), tel. 0666183183, www.hydromania.it.
8. Piscina delle Rose
€€ Large pool perfect for families, swimming and canoeing lessons throughout July. Mon-Fri 10.00-22.00, weekends 09.00-19.00 (€16 per day, €14 half-day). Viale America 20 (EUR), tel. 065926717, www.piscinadellerose.it.
9. Radisson SAS Hotel
€€€€ Seriously smart and stunning heated rooftop swimming pool with sections for children and adults and poolside fine dining. 09.00-19.00 daily (adults €45 Mon-Fri, €55 Sat-Sun, children 50% off). Via Filippo Turati 171 (Esquilino), tel. 06444841, www.rome.radissonsas.com.