- ACTIVITY DURATION: 7 HOURS
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- by ™ Eternal Tours Rome
- LOCATION: EAST OF ROME
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- a subsidiary of ™ In Rome Tours
Take your time in the serene surroundings of Villa d'Este, the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy, then roam the ruins of Hadrian's Villa that will eclipse everything you have seen in Rome. Relax in the mediaeval heart of Tivoli in between your sightseeing exploits, it's a small town with a rather big history, as you will surely discover on this fascinating day trip from Rome.
Where did the citizens of ancient Rome go to slow down and get closer to nature? Since the Republican era, Romans have always visited Tivoli, it was the destination of choice for the wealthy. Nascent tourism, as it were.
Tivoli was where Emperor Hadrian set about constructing his giant residential complex, fourteen centuries before Villa d'Este became the sanctuary for Renaissance cardinals in search of solace and solitude. Villa Adriana today is the perfect foil for Villa d'Este - much older, no less impressive.
For its time, Villa d'Este was a spectacle of hydraulic engineering and landscape gardening. Commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este (appointed Governor of Tivoli by Pope Julius III) in the late 16th century, it was realized on the declivity of Villa Gaudente by architect and garden designer, Pirro Ligorio, and Alberto Galvani, architect-engineer of the Este family.
They were assisted by Tommaso Chiruchi and Claude Vernard, skilled hydraulic engineers who restored an ancient Roman tunnel to divert water from the River Aniene to the grounds of the villa.
In 1605, the cardinal began an extensive program of restoration and modifications. He introduced new flora and novel water forms to a lavish layout that showcased the decorative elements of the fountains. Additional works were undertaken by Gianlorenzo Bernini between 1660 - 1670.
The showpiece gardens of Villa d'Este are a natural paradise where five hundred fountains disperse water in every direction at every turn. It's a remarkable setting that has long since been the model for ornamental gardens in Europe and beyond.
Fountains fondly known as The Owl, The Oval, The Hundred and The Dragons will whet your appetite for more. The Fountain of the Organ moves water to play instruments such as pipes and trumpets. 450 years ago, such wonders were unheard of.
Since then, the organ has been replaced, but music is still played (conducted by water) every morning from 1030am. It's a sight worth hearing.
The palace per se dominates all. Built over an ancient Roman villa, the cardinal's private rooms, halls and galleries therein will surprise. Views therefrom will mesmerize.
Explore Villa Adriana and the capacious ruined Republican complex of the Sanctuary of Hercules Victor after visiting Villa d'Este, before concluding your day with the return train trip to Rome.
Rated 4.8 / 5 by Molly P on August 22nd, 2021 Villa d'Este is the garden palace in the town centre (almost) while Villa Adriana was a 10 minute taxi ride from the centre - both are AMAZING. Tivoli is just shy of an hour from Rome and we were very glad to have decided to escape from the city heat to such beautiful fountains and green spaces. Tivoli was nice and the train to get there a pleasure. Eternal Tours were always available for us on WhatsApp and they helped us with directions and map links to move around Tivoli to each villa. We can only recommend this trip to Tivoli!
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