Enjoy this walking Rome tour a short drive from Rome. Explore Italy’s rich history in the Roman countryside away from the hustle and bustle of the Eternal City of Rome.
The 3000 years old historic hill town of Tivoli, home to the fabulous Villa Adriana and Villa D’Este, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is a very popular destination for a relaxed and informative day tour from Rome.
Hadrian Emperor Villa, the largest ever built for a Roman Emperor, is just outstanding. The lavish residence was built in two stages from AD 117 to AD 133 and was designed by Hadrian himself, who had a keen interest in art and architecture.
The Villa and grounds occupy an area of approx. 120 hectares, nearly 300 acres, with buildings for the exclusive use of the Emperor and his court, basilicas, theaters, baths, gardens and swimming pools, as well as a race course and a stadium. Hadrian’s Villa represents one of the leading examples of Roman architecture. When Hadrian died the imposing site was abandoned. Neglected, it was left to the mercy of pillagers. Only after the Italy unification in 1870 that lengthy restoration work began unearthing treasures and artworks. The Canopus, a small artificial valley with a pool in the middle flanked by a colonnade adorned with statues, arches and fountains, remains one of the most amazing spots of this huge archeological complex. The museum is also well worth a visit. One of the masterpieces found here, Myron’s Discobulus, is on display at the Vatican Museums.
Villa Adriana is an amazing example of Roman architecture while Villa D’este is one the finest examples of 16th century Italian architecture. Designed by Pirro Ligorio, a hydraulic engineer, it took around 20 years to complete starting from 1550. Villa D’Este beautiful Italian gardens feature fountains fed by the water coming from the nearby Aniene river and from the Rivellese spring providing a spectacular show of endless water games much appreciated by kids. The ground beneath it is a warren of tunnels and pipes but there are no pumps, as everything works by gravity alone.
The construction of this magnificent villa was commissioned by Ippolito II D’Este, the powerful Cardinal of Ferrara, who took up residence as Tivoli’s Governor in the mid 16th Century. Among the several impressive fountains don’t miss Fontana del Bicchierone, Fontana dei Draghi and Fontana dell’Ovato, as well as the world renowned Water Organ Fountain, adorned with Apollo and Orpheus statues. In 2001 Villa D’Este was listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.
Another Tivoli’s stunning site is Villa Gregoriana, just fully renovated this park features an array of archaeological ruins from different periods, exceptional natural elements, caves and foreshortened views, that make Villa Gregoriana a great environmental, historical and artistic site to visit, including its 160 meter-high breathtaking waterfall.
Restaurant La Tenuta di Roccabruna | Just Next Hadrian’s Villa Entrance | Euro 40
Restaurant Avec 55 | via D. Giuliani 55 | Euro 45 | Dinner only
Restaurant La Sibilla | Tivoli | Euro 35
Rome Travel Tips
• Bring a bottle of water as there are no bars inside Villa Adriana
• Wear comfy shoes as there’s a lot to walk inside the Villas
• Try the local Frascati white wine from the Castelli Romani
Would you like to share your Italy travel tips with us? Please write us your comment and we will be happy to post it! Buon Viaggio!
Ciao from Rome:-)
© Copyright 2009, Nancy Aiello Tours
Since 1997 Nancy Aiello Tours, based in Rome, specializes in Tailor-Made Private Guided Vatican, Rome & Italy Tours for Leisure & Business Travelers.
New articles are published on our site weekly, sometimes daily. To keep up to date with our news, tips and current events, please sign up for ItalyTravelista free RSS feed.
If you are interested in publishing this article please contact us for consent and further info.