Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este, Tivoli Day Excursion

Our walking tour of Hadrian’s Villa begins in the morning with a private car from Rome to the archaeological site. After a morning on the site we continue by car to the nearby hilltop town of Tivoli for lunch on the terraces of the Villa d’Este followed by a walking tour of the gardens and fountains of this famous Renaissance villa designed by the Renaissance architect Pirro Ligorio for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, and inspired by the ancient site of Hadrian’s Villa. Tour is 7 hours.

Hadrian’s Villa, the country estate of the ancient Roman emperor Hadrian
(c.116/118-136/138 A.D.) is believed to be one of the largest archaeological sites in Europe covering more than 120 hectare, and since 1999 has been declared a World Heritage site.

A visit to the archaeological site of the Emperor’s country estate is a window into the life of Hadrian and his remarkable accomplishments, as well as an in-depth experience of the life of Imperial Rome in the early 2nd century A.D.

This magnificent estate located near Tivoli in the Tibertine hills represents a concept of ‘a way of living’ for an ideal city with well over 100 buildings and structures terraced into the gentle undulating topography and joined together through gardens and intricate systems of waterways. The buildings include a winter and summer palace, Greek and Latin libraries, Piazza d’Oro designed to awe and inspire, large and small thermae, palestra, temples, theatres, exedras, the private island retreat of the Emperor, and the Canopus, an elongated canal influenced by his trip along the Nile river.

The complex system of underground ‘cryptaporticus’ (passageways) reveals to us the extensive infrastructure of the world of the slaves and services that contributed to the daily life of the estate.

The architectural elements used by Hadrian in his design of the buildings and structures as well as the landscape design have continued to influence architects and designers for close to 2000 years including through the Renaissance (Brunelleschi, Michelangelo) and the Baroque (Borromini, Bernini), and have continued to be a major influence in the 20th and 21st centuries.

There is the option of taking a regional train to Tivoli instead of a private car.

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© Cultural Heritage Walking Tours, Italy 2013