The Villa Doria Pamphili is the largest landscaped public park in Rome. It was acquired by the Pamphili family (which gave us Pope Innocent X) in the 17th Century and when the family line died out in the 18th century, it passed to Prince Giovanni Andrea IV Doria. The park has gardens, theatres, forests, fountains, streams and a lake. I spend hours there every day. It is fantastically wonderful. And the best thing about Villa Pamphili is the dog park.
A number of years ago, a group of concerned citizens/dog owners petitioned the City of Rome for some space in the Villa where dogs could run free (elsewhere they have to be on leashes although nobody pays much attention to that). The result was the dog park: an acre or so of hillside, conveniently located across the street from my house. At any given time, there are 10-20 dogs out there racing around, barking and generally causing mayhem while the owners calmly stand around discussing 1). their dogs 2). food 3). soccer. This is in stark contrast to non-dog owning Italians who spend their time discussing 1). food 2). soccer. Because we see each other everyday, we’ve developed into quite a little community (although oddly, we tend to address each other by our dog’s names rather than by our own, i.e. Mamma di Lula, Papa di Aldo).
When he’s not out playing, Morgan (my 9 month old Welsh Terrier) sits at the window looking at the dog park and whimpering when he sees his friends. Possibly you need to be a dog person to find this all as fun and adorable as I do. But hey, if you’re not a dog person, you’re probably on the wrong blog.