Tivoli, and its various villas like Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana, is always a popular day trip from Rome. Only 45 minutes by car and one hour by train, it’s an easy trip with beautiful surroundings, great historical spots and a nice way to escape the busy city for a bit. While I’ve been there a few times, this weekend I went to Tivoli and also made it into Villa d’Este, a villa with gorgeous gardens and perfectly landscaped grounds.
Description of Villa d’Este
Once you get to Tivoli and take a short walk around, you’ll notice that many of the signs are pointing you to Villa d’Este. This villa is a famous example of Renaissance gardens and the beautiful homes of Rome’s kings and nobles. It’s an official UNESCO world heritage site, described in flowery terms as follows:
The gardens of the Villa d’Este are among the earliest and finest of the giardini delle meraviglie and symbolize the flowering of Renaissance culture.
In essence, the villa is beautiful and it’s aboslultey lovely to take a walk around, look at the many amazing flowers, fountains and examples of Renaissance art.
- wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking up and down stairs. The villa overlooks the entire garden area and the grounds seem to cascade down the further you go. This all means that eventually you’ll have to make the hike back up to the exit.
- be prepared with a camera to take stunning photographs. More so than inside the city, Villa d’Este is one of the most photogenic places I’ve been
- Consider getting an audio guide (€5) or doing background research before going in. It’s easy to get lost among the villa’s rooms or in front a fountain, with no idea what its history or significance it. Otherwise, just go into it purely to enjoy the view.
- Do be prepared for closing times and holidays where the villa is closed to visitors. All information about the hours and schedule can be found here.
Once you’ve gotten to the villa and are tired of all the astounding natural beauty, take a quick walk around the town of Tivoli. There are plenty of places for a great panino or pizza, and definitely some great gelato around as well.
All in all, Tivoli gives you a nice look at smaller town outside of Rome and is perfect for a day trip. The journey there and back gives you an opportunity to look at the ancient aqueducts that are still up or pick up some farm produce alongside the road.
Tickets to Villa d'Este are €8 full price and €4 for a reduced ticket. You can purchase them ahead of time, but usually the line isn't too bad. The first Sunday of every month, the villa is free for all visitors but will be more crowded.