Tivoli, Italia

19Aug09

We went to Tivoli last weekend for the day. Tivoli is 30 km (~19 mi) from Rome. While in Tivoli we visited Villa Gregoriana and Villa d’Este. In Villa Gregoriana you can find two tunnels that carry the Aniene River before sending it over the falls. The tunnels were built in 1835 after years of devastating floods. When you visit Villa Gregoriana you walk down into the valley and find what used to be a lake. At one point there had been a natural plug holding the water back but one day the plug failed and water poured out. Now there is a grotto where the plug used to be. Walking all the way down then all the way back up is definitely a work out. I knew I was out of shape but the walk was pushing my limits. It didn’t help that it was really hot and I had no water. Luckily they have fresh water pumps at various points which was really nice.

After Villa Gregoriana we ate some ice cream, had some Coca Cola (real sugar! so yummy!), and headed over to Villa d’Este. The rooms there are amazing. You’re not allowed to take pics inside so I don’t have any shots of the incredible frescoes that cover the walls and ceilings. While the building is impressive the real sight to see is the garden and the fountains. We spent an hour walking around, I’ve never seen anything like it. There is a water powered organ that plays every hour, manmade caves with high pressure fountains that cool the air like a swamp cooler (I could have spent all day in there, it was easily 20 degrees cooler inside), large fish ponds, and enormous cedars. The fountains were so cool, every one was different.
Originally we had planned to also visit Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa) but it was really hot and there was a huge thunderstorm building on top of the mountain that we didn’t want to risk getting caught in. If you’re ever in Rome I would highly recommend a day trip out to Tivoli.
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