Spring has arrived and it is the best time of year to visit the many beautiful parks and gardens in and around Rome. The city has always been characterised by vast green areas. In the second century BC it became fashionable among noble, rich and illustrious Romans to link their names to sumptuous gardens called horti. These fell into decline with the crisis of the Roman Empire and only returned to popularity a thousand years later, during the Renaissance. Today, the city has numerous public parks and gardens, usually linked to its old noble families such as the Borghese and the Doria Pamphilj. Many of the gardens planted in the second half of the 20th century are also the result of the expertise, hard work and patronage of Rome