Located some 18 miles east of ‘Rome’ & popular for two magnificent ancient villas, the medieval town of ‘Tivoli’ stands as a silent spectator of a grand history that dates back to the early days of the ‘Romans’! ‘Tivoli’, known as Tibur in its early days, sits on the edge of the Sabine Hills, at the falls of the ‘Aniene River’, in the Italian province of Lazio. The town offers a panoramic view of the Roman Campagna & served in the past as the most loved retreat of the Roman monarchy!
‘Tivoli’ is vastly famous for two iconic villas & a bountiful of ancient Roman temples & other structures. ‘Hadrian’s villa’, built by the ‘Roman Emperor Hadrian’ & ‘Villa d’Este’ that served as a residence of a cardinal in exile are the most famous attractions of ‘Tivoli’, which magnetizes hordes of tourists from all over the world. Both the villas are now part of the UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage Site’.
GETTING TO TIVOLI:
A visit to ‘Tivoli’ can make up a day long pleasing trip from ‘Rome’. The town is very well connected to ‘Rome’ by road & railway. ‘Villa d’Este’ is located right in the heart of ‘Tivoli’ whereas, ‘Hadrian’s Villa’ resides about 2.5 miles away from the town. However, both the sites are very well connected via local bus services which run on a frequent basis.
For Tivoli & Villa d’Est: ‘Tivoli’ can be approached either by boarding in the ‘Roma-Pescara Line’ train from Rome’s ‘Triburtina station’ to ‘Tivoli’ or by taking a Metro/Bus combination. Take Rome’s ‘Metro Line B’ up to Ponte Mammolo & then board in the local blue ‘Cotral’ bus to ‘Tivoli’.
For Hadrian’s Villa: A direct ‘Orange City Bus’ service for ‘Hadrian’s Villa’ is available from ‘Tivoli’. ‘Blue Cotral’ bus service is available from ‘Ponte Mammolo’ metro station till ‘Tivoli’ at every 15 minutes.
As mentioned earlier, the two villas are the most important tourist destinations in Tivoli.
Founded by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este between 1550 & 1572, the ‘Villa d’Est’ is perhaps an epitome of ‘Mannerist’ residences in Europe. The villa is famous for its terraced gardens & nearly 500 fountains that draw water from brilliantly channelized water conduits originating from the ‘Aniene river’ & are powered by the gravitational force while taking advantage of the natural slope of the terrain on which gardens are grown. All the waters from the conduits, later on sum up to form a notable torrent at the bottom of the garden.
During the 18th & the 19th century, the villa was left deserted & after the WWI, it was taken over by the Italian government who did the stupendous work to restore most of the glory of the villa & the gardens. The magnificent fountains are now back to their businesses & are still operating on the same mechanism of natural pressure, although two giants of the fountains are now controlled by the electric-powered jets.
Beautiful frescos on the ceilings & the lavish architecture of the villa are also worth mentioning. The villa was declared as the World Heritage Site by the ‘UNESCO’ in 2001, after considering its aesthetic wealth & an exceptional demonstration of Renaissance plumbing technique.
To visit, Roma Passes are accepted & the villa remains closed on Mondays.
Built by the great Roman Emperor Hadrian as a country retreat, the massive villa was the largest villa in the entire Roman Empire. The villa was meticulously decorated by the Emperor who himself was an excellent architect. ‘Hadrian’ spent last 10 years of his life in the villa during which, he adorned the place with the miniature copies of his favorite buildings around the world.
The grandeur building, however, was mutilated by the barbarians who plundered the marble used in the construction. The statues & other artworks, which were the pride of this awe-inspiring structure, were also pillaged by various dynasties those attacked Rome.
As far as sightseeing is considered, the circular palace named Teatro Marittimo, the Egyptian Canopus & a sanctuary of the god ‘Serapis’ are worth visiting. In 1999, the place was inscribed as the World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
Other noteworthy attractions of ‘Tivoli’ include various temples such as ‘Temple of Vesta’, ‘Temple of Tiburtine Sibyl’, which now serves as a church of St. George & a Roman temple of the ‘Tosse’, which is now turned into the Virgin Mary’s Church.
The town also has a ruined sanctuary of ‘Hercues the Winner’ that dates back 2nd century BC, a 15th century built fortress named Rocca Pia & a recently revamped park containing the remnants of a historic Roman temple & villa, known as Villa Gregoriana. Besides all the ancient structures, the phenomenal waterfall near the ‘Villa d’Este’ is also worth visiting.