Friday, March 30, 2012


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.

Villa d'Este

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.

Villa Adriana

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.

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking around Rome was the best way to see everything but the metro, trams and buses are an easy and cheap option also.

Most buses and metros do get crowded and tickets must be bought before boarding and validated when you first get on but it is a great way to get around and see Rome if you are short on time or suffer from sore feet.

Buses #40 and #64 starts at Termini and ends near St. Peter's traveling past other places of interest, returning the same way.

Bus #75 takes you past the Colosseum

Bus #910 takes you to Villa Borghese

#64 & #40 Express Bus


Piazza Venezia

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Campo de'Fiori

St. Peter's

The Electric buses that are around Rome can travel into the older parts of the city and wind around the narrow streets. Bus #116 travels though the streets of Centro Storico.

Ticket Options

B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro,tram or bus ride for a 100 minute period.

B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

B.T.I (Turistic) is a 3 day tourist ticket and the same as B.I.G but for more days of travel.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

Newsstands, train stations, metro stations, kiosks with the ATAC logo and tabacchi shops sell tickets for trams and buses.

Large fines apply to travelers not holding ticket. Tickets once they are validated, start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.