Villa d'Este & Hadrian's Villa
Tivoli is about 40 km from Rome and was a resort town for the ancient Romans and a popular place for the rich during the Renaissance.
To get there take Metro Linea B from Stazione Termini to Ponte Mammolo. Buses leave from outside here stopping at Villa d'Este and Hadrian's Villa.
We found one day was enough time to see both villas depending on the time spent in each. We visited one in the morning and one in the afternoon after a long Italian lunch.
Built in the 16th century for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este the son of Lucrezia Borgia (daughter of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI) and Alfonso d'Este.
The Villa is famous for the 100s of fountains, water features, cascades, grottoes and gardens designed by Pirro Ligorio. The villa is also one of the first in Rome to use hydraulics to move water around to the water features.
The Fountain of the Dragons is my favourite and was erected for the visit of Pope Gregory XIII in 1572.
Livio Agresti created the frescoes inside the villa. Gianlorenzo Bernini worked on Villa d'Este between 1660 and 1670. The Fontana del Bicchierone (The Fountain of the Great Cup) is attributed to him.
In the 18th century the villa fell into disrepair and again restoration work was began in the 19th century. It is now listed as a World Heritage Site.
Built for the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century b.c. it was designed to be his summer villa but because of his dislike of Rome he moved his large court and governed from here.
The ruins of Hadrian's Villa are vast and cover about 1 km square. It contains the ruins of palaces, a theatre, temples, libraries, baths and the homes of courtiers and slaves. Still much of the ruins have not been excavated but mosaics and statues can still be found here and in the on-site museum. Most of the art work and statues were taken for Villa d'Este or are either in the Capitoline or Vatican museums in Rome.