Tivoli and Villa D’este
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.
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 town:
- Villa Adriana
- Parco Villa Gregoriana
- Rocca Pia Castle
- Villa D’este
Plan Your Trip to Italy
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Any questions? Or know of another great escape to get away from the crowds in Rome?