The Untold Secret Villas of Rome, Italy
Everyone goes to Rome. Of course! I lived there for 6 months so I know there’s always a million things to see and do and eat. If you’re on a time crunch, a quick google of “Things to do and see in Rome” will give you more than enough ideas. However, if you have the time, I truly recommend seeing a different side of Rome. To see the Empire beyond the ruins, into the lavish life of the emperors…and for that you will need to go to Tivoli.
Tivoli is a small town about 45 minutes outside of Rome. You can drive or take the train from Termini in Rome. Tivoli has 2 villas that previously belonged to emperors who did not want to live in the robust city on the Palestine Hill and instead opt to constrict villas of their own in the quiet outskirts. Villa Adriana and Villa D’Este are two of the villas and are both UNESCO Heritage Sites.
Also known as Hadrian’s Villa, Villa Adriana was once home to the Roman Emperor Adrian during the second and third decades in the 200 AD century. Drawing from Spanish influence from his parents past and his wife’s, the villa is consists of over 30 buildings, pools and fountains, the vast area land is an ode to Greek architecture mixed in with gardens and farmlands.
A beautiful day to explore and take photos! But don’t spend too long because it gets better on our next stop to Villa D’Este.
In Between the Poppy Fields
Make sure to take note of the fields of flowers around the outskirts of the city as you walk around. We stumbled upon this field while walking from one villa to another
A little more modern, Villa d”Este is a 16th Century villa famous for their incredible Renaissance gardens and fountains. In comparison to Villa Adriana, Villa D’Este has converted the once lavish home, to a museum. You can literally walk the halls of the the Cardinal D’Este and the Duke of Ferrara who later came into ownership of the villa. Here are somethings to look for:
Tips and Tricks
- Getting there is easiest by car. However, you can also take the train from Termini to Tiburtina in Tivoli. Once in town, you can take the local bus or walk into the city centre to Villa Adriana. Note: the bus does not run on Sundays! We were waiting for a while before we realized this and a very nice woman stopped to offer us a ride. Otherwise it’s a 15-20 min walk into the city which is not bad, but depending on the day can be quite hot.
- The second method of getting there is a bus directly from Rome. If you have the time (and are comfortable with long buses) this is really ideal. You can take the Cortel bus that goes along the A5 and will take you directly to Villa d’Este. Then you can take the local bus number 4 between the two villas.
- Watch your time, it’s easy to want to read/take a photo of everything but both villas are quite massive. Stop for lunch in between but unless you’re staying in Tivoli, it’s best to catch the sunset train back to Rome at the latest.
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