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Tivoli Villa Tours



Tivoli is the site of the Villa Gregoriana, a wilder park peppered with hillside temple ruins as well as gorges, caves, and designer waterfalls a very fine Cathedral, the renowned Rocca Pia, a fortress-residence built by Pius II in the middle of the 15th century, and, above all, the Villa d'Este, with an Italian garden famous for its magical atmosphere.

No visit is complete without a stop at the Grotto of Diana, rich in mythological sights. Passing the Rometta Fountain, that reproduces in miniature some of classical Rome's most famous monuments, the Organ Fountain, where hidden water-powered organ pipes used to play music, the Bird Fountain, which once produced bird song, etc, a path leads up to the romantic Rotonda dei Cipressi surrounded by some if Italy's most venerable and mighty cypress trees, three of which were already in place in the 17th century. This location is considered one of the most enchanting elements in both the gardens and the villa.

Villa d'Estee

Villa d’Este, masterpiece of the Italian Garden, is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.

The garden is generally considered within the larger –and altogether extraordinary-- context of Tivoli itself: its landscape, art and history which includes the important ruins of ancient villas such as the Villa Adriana, as well as a zone rich in caves and waterfalls displaying the unending battle between water and stone. The imposing constructions and the series of terraces above terraces bring to mind the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. The addition of water-- including an aqueduct tunneling beneath the city -- evokes the engineering skill of the Romans themselves.

Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, after the disappointment of a failed bid for the papacy, brought back to life here the splendor of the courts of Ferrara, Rome and Fontainebleau and revived the magnificence of Villa Adriana. Governor of Tivoli from 1550, he immediately nurtured the idea of realizing a garden in the hanging cliffs of the “Valle gaudente”, but it was only after 1560 that his architectural and iconographic program became clear—brainchild of the painter Ligorio and realized by court architect Alberto Galvani.

The work was almost complete at the time of the Cardinal’s death (1572).

From 1605 Cardinal Alessandro d'Este gave the go-ahead to a new program of interventions not only to restore and repair the vegetation and the waterworks, but also to create a new series of innovations to the layout of the garden and the decorations of the fountains.

Other works were carried out from 1660 – 70; these involved no less a figure than Gianlorenzo Bernini.

In the XVIIIth century the lack of maintenance led to the decay of the complex, which was aggravated by the property’passage to the House of Hapsburg. The garden was slowly abandoned, the water works-- no longer used--fell into ruin, and then collection of ancient statues— enlarged under Cardinal Ippolito, was disassembled and scattered.

This state of decay continued without interruption until the middle of the XIXth century, when Gustav von Hohelohe, who obtained in enfiteusi the villa from the Dukes of Modena in 1851, launched a series of works to pull the complex back from its state of ruin.

Between 1867 and 1882 the Villa once again became a cultural point of reference, with the Cardinal frequently hosting the musician Franz Liszt (1811 - 1886), who composed Giochi d'acqua a Villa d'Este for piano while a guest here, and who in 1879 gave one of his final concerts.

The Italian gardens are geometric, having five hundred fountains, aged and rarity of trees is certainly one of the finest gardens to be found both in and outside Italy.

Hadrian's Villa

Hadrian's Villa

The villa is comprised of an intricate complex of buildings which extend for at least 120 hectares and was constructed during the first half of the 2nd century B.C.  by order of the Emperor Hadrian, lover of Greek travel and culture, and possessed of a passion for architecture—so much so in fact that he personally participated in the planning of the complex.  Here arose numerous groups of buildings, arranged in a manner apparently casual and separated by wide and luxuriant gardens.   The architectonic and sculptural decoration of the villa was exceptional; some of this is still visible (despite the many ransacking conducted from the ancient era onwards).  The architectonic result is very interesting, with many original and innovative buildings.  



Villa Gregoriana

Villa Gregoriana
Gardens of the Grand Tour

A public park commissioned by Pope Gregory XVI, Villa Gregoriana was founded in 1835 following the reclamation of the old bed of the River Aniene after the disastrous floods in 1826. The Monte Catillo tunnel protected the town of Tivoli against flooding by channeling the water through a new artificial duct that in turn created further down the valley the majestic and bubbling spectacle of the The Great Waterfall, more than 100 meters high. The old bed of the river became popular as a sturdy walk along the valley, with steep paths, woods and tunnels as far as the belvedere by the Great Waterfall and the Grottos of Neptune and the Mermaids which wind along what had once been the bed of the famous waterfalls. Throughout the 1800s, Villa Gregoriana was popular with travelers, poets, artists, kings and emperors enchanted by the "man-made" beauty of the park.


Visit Tivoli

Located twenty miles east of Rome. Although the city of Rome was supposedly developed subsequent to Tivoli, it was apparently established four centuries after Rome. In the past, it was the most favourite holiday resort for the Romans, because of it’s mild climate and magnificent panoramas of the city and the Latium plain, as well as a worshiping place for local religions.


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Villa d'Este

Scheduled Tours

Escorted Group Tours

Villa d'Este is a masterpiece of the Italian Garden, and included in the UNESCO world heritage list. It has an impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.

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Tivoli Half Day Tour

Duration: 4hrs

Cost: $75.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guided tour or for larger groups use the above Inquiry Form

Explore Italy's rich history at Emperor Hadrian's Villa and the remarkable Villa d'Este gardens on a half-day tour from Rome. You'll take a relaxing four-hour excursion to Tivoli and travel through the beautiful countryside surrounding the busy capital.

Your first stop is the evocative ruins of the famous villa built by Emperor Hadrian (Villa Adriana in Italian). The villa was built in the 2nd century A.D. by Hadrian to remind him of the monuments he’d admired during his travels in Greece and Egypt. The villa is now in ruins, and can only hint at its original grandeur and beauty, but the landscaped pools and grottoes have influenced subsequent garden design over the centuries.

Your journey into the past continues to the magnificent Villa d'Este at Tivoli, one of the most beautiful residences of the late Renaissance. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a masterpiece of Italian architecture and especially garden design, inspired by Hadrian’s Villa. You'll discover how Villa d'Este’s countless fountains create a graceful symphony of carved stone, shade, sunlight and water as you take a walk around the villa’s magnificent formal gardens.



Private Tour

The tour begins with a brief stop on the via Tiburtina at the quarry were the travertine marble for the construction of the Colosseum has been taken.

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Private Driver plus Guide

Hadrian's Villa and Town

We leave Rome at 3:00pm and reach Hadrian’s villa, where natural beauty, architectural creativity, art and history blend together in a magic place which has no equal in Europe. The villa, composed of such an unbelievable variety of different kinds of buildings, many of which were inspired from famous Greek but also Egyptian monuments, that the emperor had visited during his numerous journeys through the empire, was sometimes thought to be an entire city. Constructed in the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. on an area twice the size of Pompeii and larger than Nero’s famous Domus Aurea. It represents a perfect view of the sensitivity of Hadrian and the artists of the period and has influenced many artists from the Renaissance onwards.

Over five hundred examples of statuary were unearthed through the centuries in the various portions of the villa. Starting in the the Middle Ages, many marble pieces were taken from the Villa and are now in major museums and collections all over Europe, hold relics.

Strolling from the huge arcades of the entrance through the Throne Room, the Greater Baths, the Vestibule, the Academy, the Palestra, the Greek Theatre, the Private Library, the Maritime Theatre and the famous Canopy - a valley with a canal surrounded by arcades and statues - you will learn about Hadrian, an intelligent sovereign and a lovers of arts, about his lover Antoninous, and their tragic love story, about the evolution of the multi ethnic empire that he had received from his predecessor Trajan, about the lifestyle of the the emperor and of the roman society at its highest point.

We will take a drive up the mountain to the town of Tivoli, dating back to the 4th century BC, before heading back to Rome

Villa d'Este and Villa Gregoriana

Villa d’Este is one of the most beautiful palaces and gardens of Italy. The story of the villa begins in 1550 with a man named Ercole d’Este. His father was the duke of Ferrara but it was his mother who is really interesting, Lucrezia Borgia.She came from one of the most infamous families in the history of the Papacy and you will not miss any of the intriguing stories of their lives.

This villa is a perfect compliment to Hadrian’s villa because the architect Pirro Ligorio tried to emulate it when he designed Villa d’Este. In fact while walking through the ruins of Hadrian’s villa we have to imagine the water running all over through the infinite series of fountains and pools, here, in a certain way, we can see it recreated with gardens and over 500 fountains. Water was in fact a major theme for the entire villa. An amazing show of wealth that belonged not to a king, pope, or duke but a cardinal, who had obviously high aspirations to become a pope. After a refreshing walk through the gardens and fountains of the villa you will walk through the town to Villa Gregoriana, an extraordinary garden unique in the world as one of the remaining gardens that were immortalized by Artists who took the Grand Tour in the 18th century who tried to recapture the splendor of of the Ancient past depicting ruins amongst fantastical hanging gardens.


Full Day Tour: Villa Hadrian, Villa d'Este, Villa Gregoriana + Lunch 7hrs

As above plus lunch in an ancient Roman Therme

The Sibille is infarct attached to a former acropolis of ancient Tivoli, and on the terrace, there are two ancient temples in very good condition.The temple of Vesta, dating back to the 1st century B.C. and the Temple of the Sybil - hence the name of the restaurant - dating back to the 2nd century B.C. The terrace of the temples affords also an incredible view of the valley below and of the beautiful waterfall of the Aniene river cascading through it.

Includes Entry Fees, private car and driver, licensed guide.

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