Hadrian’s Villa

Architecture, Urban History, Landscape Architecture

We specialize in private, small group walking tours, seminars, and field trips of Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este, Tivoli.

Our day tour of Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este begins in the morning with a private car service from the centre of Rome to the archeological site of the Roman Emperor’s country estate; an ancient marvel. After a morning on the site we have lunch in a garden setting adjacent to Hadrian’s Villa and then continue by private car to the nearby hilltop town of Tivoli where we visit the famous Renaissance gardens and fountains of the Villa d’Este designed in the 16th century by the architect Pirro Ligorio for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este.

Hadrian’s Villa (circa 116/118-136/138 A.D.) is believed to be one of the largest archaeological sites in Europe covering more than 120 hectares, and since 1999 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. This magnificent estate located near Tivoli in the Tibertine hills represents a concept of ‘a way of living’ for an ideal city with over 100 buildings and structures terraced into the undulating topography and joined together through gardens and intricate systems of waterways. The buildings include a winter and summer palace, Greek and Latin libraries, large and small thermae (baths), palestra, temples, theatres, exedras, Piazza d’Oro (which was designed to inspire and awe), the private island retreat of the Emperor, and the Canopus, an elongated canal influenced by one of Hadrian’s trips along the Nile river.

The architectural elements implemented by Hadrian in his design of the buildings and structures as well as the landscape design continued to influence architects and designers through the Renaissance and the Baroque, and have continued to be a major influence in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Villa d’Este, Tivoli

Landscape Architecture, Renaissance Villas and Gardens

We specialize in private, small group walking tours, seminars, and field trips of Villa d’Este, Tivoli with an emphasis on the Renaissance Villa and Gardens. Optional: visit to Hadrian’s Villa, the UNESCO archaeological site of the ancient Roman Emperor’s country estate.

Our private walking tour of the Villa d’Este, Tivoli is with a private car service from Rome. This tour may be given independently or as part of our day trip to Hadrian’s Villa, located 4 km from Tivoli.

The gardens and fountains of the Renaissance Villa d’Este were inspired by the ancient country estate of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, 2nd century A.D. Villa d’Este was a retreat away from Rome for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este after a series of unsuccessful attempts to be Pope. Cardinal Ippolito engaged the Renaissance architect Pirro Ligorio to study the ancient site of the Emperor Hadrian near Tivoli, especially, the system of terraced gardens with the connecting pools and fountains. The beautifully designed Villa d’Este and gardens became representative of Renaissance Humanist philosophy, places of retreat, intellectual exchanges, and time for reflection on nature.

Today, the villa and gardens remain the prototype for Renaissance gardens, influencing future garden designs in France and the U.K.