Saturday February 20th
Our trip to Tivoli was a pretty last minute decision, but it ended up working out really well since it’s only about an hour or less train ride just north east of Rome. The two main things to see in Tivoli are Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este both of which were very cool.
Hadrian’s Villa is an expansive villa located near Tivoli which was built in the second and third
decades of the 2nd century. It is mostly ruins now but it’s amazing to imagine the buildings being covered and elegantly decorated. The two other mind blowing things are how far away it is from Rome, at least during the 2nd century, and how large the whole complex is (300 acres). It is about 18 miles from Rome and after 128 AD was the permanent residence of the emperor Hadrian meaning that all communication needed to run the city of Rome had to travel 18 miles probably by horseback. We ended up spending over three hours there which was longer than we originally expected to, but it was well worth it.
The other place we visited in Tivoli was Villa d’Este which was a large villa with a huge stepped Italian Renaissance garden which descends down the side of a hill. The garden, which contains 500 different water jets or fountains, was laid out on a central axis and is immaculately manicured to maintain the formal garden look. The villa itself had some cool frescoes in it most of which the artists were playing with perspective. One ceiling in particular looks about twice as high as it really is just because of the use
of perspective! One final thing at the Villa d’Este was that you could see the dome of St. Peters basilica in Rome in the distance on the horizon.