Visit The Ancient Town of Tivoli


If you want to leave your Rome accommodation for a few days and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Tivoli is only 30km away from the Eternal City and whether you can drive or have to catch the train, your journey should take 30minutes or less. In order to get a really full days sightseeing at Tivoli, after leaving your Rome apartment or Rome hotel early in the morning, travel to the ancient Italian town in Lazio, and you will see that it is set at the falls of the Aniene, where it flows from the Sabine hills. There are also spectacular views out over the Roman Campagna.

During the Renaissance, Popes and Cardinals showed their material wealth by constructing fantastic buildings in Tivoli as well as Rome. In 1461 Pope Pius II built the massive Rocca Pia to control the always riotous population, and as a symbol of the permanence of papal temporal power here. In 1835 Pope Gregory XVI added the Villa Gregoriana, a villa complex pivoting around the Aniene’s falls. These were created through a tunnel in the Monte Catillo, to give an outlet to the waters of the Aniene sufficient to preserve the city from floods like the devastating one of 1826.

Tivoli has a lot to offer in the way of sightseeing. Some of the definite must sees during your time in Rome are; the amazing “Villa d’Este” which was begun in 1549 by Pirro Ligorio for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este and richly decorated with an ambitious program of frescoes by famous painters of the late Roman Mannerism, such Livio Agresti (a member of the “Forlì painting school”) or the Zuccari brothers. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, it has an impressive arrangement of fountains, grottos and terraces and is can be accessed by train, taking the Roma-Pescara Line, Stazione Tivoli.

Other sites of particular interest in Tivoli are: The Temple of Hercules, which was built in the second half of the 11th Century BC. The cult of Hercules is said to have originated in Tivoli and this impressive monument to him can be viewed slightly out of the town walls over the ancient Tiburtina Road. Villa Adriana (a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999), is also worth a visit, as it used to be a retreat for Emperor Hadrian in the early 2nd century. Hadrian was said to dislike the palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome, leading to the construction of the retreat. During the later years of his reign, he actually governed the empire from the villa. The villa was the greatest Roman example of an Alexandrian garden, recreating a sacred landscape. The complex included palaces, several thermae, theatre, temples, libraries, state rooms and quarters for courtiers and slaves. It is also worth visiting the Villa Gregoriana, Rocca Pia, Temple of Tiburtine Sibyl and Cathedral of St.Lawrence.

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