We wanted to spend the first part of our fourth day in Tivoli exploring Villa Adriana, or Hadrian’s Villa. Of all of the attractions in Tivoli, this one is the largest, and also the most tricky to get to, as it is located a bit outside of the town, closer to the area known as Tivoli Terme. If you don’t have your own car, then the best way to arrive is by bus. There are a few buses that will take you to the site. One lets you off in front of the ticket office, and the other, on the main road leading towards Rome, Via Nazionale Tiburtina. We ended up taking the one that left us off on the road to Rome, but from there, the villa is only about a twenty-minute walk through a lovely residential area.
About halfway through the walk to the park, you will pass the Church of San Silvestro Papa.
Before long, the buildings begin to thin out, and before you know it, you are walking along the countryside.
Once you have arrived at the villa, proceed to the ticket booth to purchase your admission ticket. The cost per person is €11.00, but it is well worth it, as the site is quite large, and there is plenty to explore, if you want to. Plan on spending at least two hours inside the park. Also, TAKE WATER! If you are visiting on a warm day, you will want at least one bottle of water with you, as you walk along the ruins. While there are one or two drinking fountains on the property, the only café is at the entrance, by the ticket office, so once inside, your ability to purchase refreshments disappears! Plan accordingly!
Make sure that you check out the small circular building along the path leading to the villa. This contains a map with a model of the villa, as it would have looked back when it was first built.
Once inside, you are free to explore the site in any order that you wish.
Built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, between the years 125 and 134 AD, the villa consists of approximately thirty buildings, on 120 hectares of land.
Don’t be put off by any tourist buses you may see in the parking lot. Once inside, since the space is so large, you will feel as if you are one of the few people visiting the park.
The recently restored Teatro Marittimo is a MUST-SEE, when visiting the villa. Basically a circular pool with an island in the middle, this was the space that the Emperor retreated to when he wanted to be alone, or to meditate on life.
Today, we cannot access the island in the middle of the pool, but it is easy to imagine how relaxing it must have been, back in Hadrian’s time.
The Hospitalia was the villa’s guest house. This is where visitors stayed. What I found most interesting, about this area, were the mosaics that still decorated the floor of some of the rooms.
Certainly, the most popular area of the villa is the Canopo. It is the one part of the property where you are bound to run into groups of other people. It is simply that beautiful, and most people spend more time here, than at any other part of the park.
Next up: More from Villa Adriana, and we explore Medieval Tivoli!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Tivoli, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!