Rome has to be one of the most interesting cities in the world and has been an international destination since the birth of international tourism. However, not everyone wants to spend a large amount of time in a major metropolitan city. So, you need a little escape away from the hustle and bustle of Rome. We found refuge in Tivoli. It’s a perfect escape from the city with a beautiful hilltop medieval city, stunning estates, good food, and a few roman ruins. Day trips to the town are easy to manage, or you can opt to stay in a number of B&Bs.
Getting to Tivoli is super easy and cheap by train with access from the Tiburtina train station, which is accessed by the metro since it is on the outer parts of the city. The average price for a round trip train ticket is 8 Euros. Arrival to the Tivoli train station is just outside of the city center. A short bridge across the river takes you into town and signage is well marked to get you to Villa D’este or anywhere else in town. You can find the train times and book tickets on the TrenItalia website. If it is your first time in the country make sure to note the rules correctly and validate your ticket.
Tivoli and Villa D’este
The old city of Tivoli is quiet and makes for a pleasant walk around. The whole city can be walked in around thirty minutes. The city used to be a retreat for ancient Romans and Aristocrats of Renaissance. Which produced the some stunning villas. We toured Villa D’este, which is more or less the crowning jewel of the town. There is also Villa Hadrian, the sprawling former estate of the famous Roman Emperor, not to be missed if time permitted.
Entrance into Villa D’este costs around €8, and in the summer should be booked in advanced since tickets are based on times to control the number of visitors at once. The interior of Villa D’este is nothing spectacular, but the terraced garden with a large fountain system is where the villa shines. The fountains flow with natural pressure from the nearby river. Just check out the photos.
The interior of the villa is filled with frescos and large corridors. We spent half and hour just wandering through the rustic villa. It was room after room with large windows facing out to the Italian countryside, and the impressive gardens.
The Villa was built by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este after his failed bid of Palpacy. So the majority of the frescos are religious in theme with a number of churches throughout the premises.
The Villa is great to spend some time wandering around and snapping photos. We had some fun with the spiral staircase.
The real reason of coming to Villa D’este lies in its gardens. The fountains are truly impressive with water shooting 10 meters up using only water pressure from the diverted river.
Villa D’este is filled with the sound of running water as you descend through the terraced garden.
Meandering through the modest garden is romantic and the details from the age of the fountains are enchanting.
Some of the fountains of Villa D’este are truly impressive and covered in centuries of plant growth, only adding to the charm.
The estate of Villa D’este looks down from its terraced hilltop onto the surrounding suburbs of Rome. The scale of the largest fountain called The Organ Fountain, for the hydraulic organ that sits atop it, is impressive.
Where to eat in Tivoli
While you’re in the town you’ll need to grab something to eat. L’Ape 50 is just on the outer parts of the medieval section of town, and the perfect place to grab lunch with excellent panini and salads. There is also the cheaper option of Da Pippo offering fantastic paninis served from behind a counter. There are also plenty of bars, to grab a quick cafe while you’re at it.
Those staying longer in town, or those who have it in their budget, should enjoy a fantastic meal at Sibilla. The restaurant’s outdoor garden offers views of the old Gregoriano bridge and the waterfalls that descend down from the town. The tables in the back of the restaurant circle around an ancient Roman temple and offer a rare chance for fine dining in ancient history. Sibilla has been in operation for almost three hundred years. The restaurant has attracted a few celebrities and politicians over the years; I will let them list a few “King Frederick William III of Prussia, Prince Jerome Napoleon, Gabriele D’Annunzioand Pietro Mascagni; Today Secretaries of State and Vice-Presidents of the USA, Hiroito the Emperor of Japan, Princess Margaret of Inghileterra, singer Yoko Ono and the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong.”
Where to Stay in Tivoli
You have two great ways to go when staying in Tivoli. You can select from any of the wonderful Bed & Breakfasts available in town or you can rent your own apartment. We were on a budget and opted for renting our own apartment, in order to cook some of our own meals.
We loved our stay and would definitely recommend staying with Pietro and Alessia, check out their listing here. If it’s your first time using AirBnb click on this link to get €18 off your first rental.
Notable Sites to see in Tivoli
- Villa Adriana
- Parco Villa Gregoriana
- Rocca Pia Castle
- Villa D’este
Transport To and Around Italy
Getting to Italy has never been cheaper with budget airlines such as RyanAir operating out of many Italian cities. If you are flying from a different continent the main hubs are Rome, Florence, and Milan.
Once in Italy, the best way to get around is via train. For long-distance routes, it’s best to book beforehand with Trenitalia and reserve a seat. If you are traveling shorter distances it’s also possible to show up at the train station a buy a ticket there. Or get around Europe with a Eurail.
We’ve rented a car numerous times in Italy and it’s a great way to get around on your own schedule. An automatic rental car can go for as low €15 a day in the low season up to €45 a day in the higher seasons and will ensure you get to all the best places in Italy. Knowing how to drive a manual car will often get you cheaper rates in Europe. If you’re traveling as a group it is worth your while to hire a car for your trip.
- RentalCars.com: Provides comparisons for car rentals in Italy.
- AutoEurope: I can often find deals here for car rentals in Europe.
- Discover Car Hire: Searches rental car prices around the globe.
What to Pack for Italy
What to wear in Italy is one of the first things to consider once you plan the basics of your first trip to the country. Packing can be simple.
Generally, Italians are stylish and we recommend dressing casually that way you’re comfortable when hanging out with locals.
We love to have a guidebook when traveling. We spend enough time attached to our phones in everyday life and planning our trips. Once we reach a destination like Italy, we put the phone away and pick up a guidebook to help with our trip.
We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen in a foreign country and it’s best to be prepared. World Nomads provides good short term coverage.
Featured Travel Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a generous signup bonus of 60,000 points that has plenty of flexibility in redemption options. Chase Rewards are some of our favorite points to earn as they’re high value and can be redeemed in a multitude of ways. We love the Chase Sapphire Preferred as it was one of the first travel rewards we received and it’s well-loved by plenty of others. The awesome sign up offer of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points which can be redeemed for $750 of free flight if booked through the Chase travel portal.
The other option is to transfer the points to a large selection of airlines such as United, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest, or Korean Airlines. This is one of the best all-around credit cards for travel! Of course, everyone needs something different so check out our post on the best travel credit cards here or you can learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred on Card Ratings!
Thanks For Reading
Travel in Italy
- 14 Best Honeymoon Destinations When You’re on a Budget
- 13 Best Road Trips in the World! (Pay Attention to #2)
- 38 Best Things To Do In Venice, Italy (+ What NOT To Do)
- The 20 Best Honeymoon Destinations in the World
- Planning the Perfect Ski Holiday in Italy with the Dolomiti Superski Pass
- How Much Does a Trip to Italy Cost? The Honest Answer
- 15 Things to Know Before Going To Italy
- 31 Best Winter Destinations in Europe (2020)
- 30 Facts About Italy That Will Blow Your Mind
- 20 Best Things to do in Naples, Italy
- 30 Italy Travel Tips to Know Before Visiting Italy
- Best Time To Visit Italy (2020) • Month By Month Breakdown
- A Two Week Italy Itinerary • Don’t Miss the Best Cities in Italy
- Renting a Car in Italy • Here are 18 MUST READ Tips!
- Is Venice Worth Visiting? Plus a Few Venice Travel Tips
- (2020) What to Wear in Italy • The Ultimate Italy Packing List