"Tivoli - UNESCO World Heritage Site" Top 5 Page for this destination Tivoli by nicolaitan

Tivoli Travel Guide: 172 reviews and 586 photos

Sunset at the Villa d' Este

Tivoli, 25 miles east of Rome is renowned both for the Villa d'Este with its marvelous fountains and statuary as well as for the ancient ruins of Hadrian's villa. From the time of the Roman Empire, this town was a vacation resort for wealthy Romans as well as a site for worship of the Roman gods. What may be the most famous of all Italian villas was constructed for Cardinal Ippolito II d"Este, both a cardinal and an amateur archeologist. After his failed attempt at the Papacy, Pope Julius III declared him governer of Tivoli because governers could not leave their province, thereby removing him from the politics of the Vatican. From 1550 until his death in 1572 he created, using the greatest talents of Rome, a fabulous terraced garden with multiple water features. 90 percent of the Aniene river, a branch of the Tiber, was diverted to these gardens by an underground aqueduct and the height of the fountain effects was governed by the diameters of the openings thru which the water flowed. The magnificent Villa Hadriana lies on a plateau near Tivoli, a huge complex built by the early 2nd Century emperor. Both sites are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Ippolito II d'Este

This remarkable man was the son of Lucretia Borgia and the grandson of Pope Alexander VI, an heritage of which very few could boast. He was a bishop at the age of 2, an archbishop at 10 and a cardinal at 30. His vicious rivalry with Julius III led to what was effectively an exile at age 41. For the last 22 years of his life, this intelligent and learned man created a dream world for himself in the form of his villa and gardens.


Spanish-born Hadrian became emperor (117-138 AD) after being adopted by the dying Trajan, also a Spaniard. The Roman nobles were unhappy with another foreign-born leader and grew considerably more unhappy as four of Hadrian's competition were murdered in the 1 year interval before the new emperor arrived. He was not warmly received and chose to live not in the city but on a large villa 25 miles east of Rome near Tivoli. He constructed a large villa and surrounding complex on as many as 500 acres. Villa Hadriana became the imperial residence. It is believed that the villa really resembled a city with buildings of several stories as well as baths, barracks, libraries, and pavilions, but all that can be seen now are ruins in a park-like setting. As many as 30 or more large buildings are known to have existed.

  • Intro Updated Jul 19, 2006
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Reviews (11)

Comments (14)

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Aug 16, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Hi Lew, Enjoyed your page, accurate detail in your description. We visited both sites 2 months ago, guided tour but I lagged behind the group at times, taking photos. I am glad we made the effort to visit both sites.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Mar 7, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    If we get back to Rome, this is the one spot I want to spend time. Your tips and pics are great

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Lew, most impressive group of pages. I had heard of Tivoli, but it seems quite beautiful and well worth the side trip from Roma. Greetings from snowy MAryland

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Nice page Lew. I did not realise how nice Tivoli is and we never included a visit on our must see list. So much to see in Rome.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Sep 4, 2010 at 7:11 AM

    Hi!! good page Lew!Ive been in UK and Europe 10years this year and for all my hopes and plans to get here still havent!! did make it to excellent exhibition that was here in London last yr on Hadrians Villa though..!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 17, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    The fountains, gardens, ruins, and temples are fantastic! I always learn new things! Excellent page!

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    Just outstanding photos and detail - great history that will serve me well when I visit. Grazie, <(?¿?)>

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2008 at 3:46 AM

    Fine photos and interesting history! Imagine being a bishop at the age of 2, an archbishop at 10 and a cardinal at 30! (And an exile at 41 . . .)

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2007 at 3:38 AM

    There will be more tips (good or bad) on Rome. For some family reasons we will be often there. I see you visited some of the nicest places in Italy.

  • Sep 16, 2007 at 5:11 PM

    I never knew this place was so beautiful. Thanks for giving me a taste. I now know I must see Tivoli. THANKS!!!!


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