Tivoli: a Roman Emperor and a Prince of the Church

tivoli_tours

This could be either a 4-hour tour, or a full-day (7 hours) if you want to visit both sites in this area in the countryside, about 45-minute drive from downtown Rome, and have a lunch there.

Hadrian’s villa is probably the best preserved imperial residence to come down to us, with its dozens of dining-rooms and fountains, colonnaded porticoes and terraces, thermal baths and basilicas all scattered among gardens, woods and olive groves, all built in the first half of the II century AD at the footsteps of the village of Tivoli.

Then, in the core of the medieval town, we visit the luxurious residence of cardinal Ippolito d’Este, this immensely rich and incredibly well-bred renaissance man who in 1550 was appointed Governor of Tivoli, and therefore built for himself a residence with a park that still enchants us today with its intriguing cycle of frescoes, the magnificence of its dozens of fountains and hundreds of trees and its breathtaking view on the roman countryside.

The use of a private car with driver is necessary for this tour.

Ostia: the main city-port of the Roman Empire (4 hours)

ostia_toursAbout 25 Km (16Mls) from Rome you can enjoy the incredible experience to walk in a roman city that grew up to a population of 100.000.

On the side of the streets you will meet: warehouses and retailer’s shops, apartment buildings and business centers, theaters and public toilets, laundries and custom offices, sport clubs and thermal baths; and in the squares: temples and basilicas as well as porticoes and meeting points; and then we’ll see the meat market and some shop of the fish-mongers as well as the city cemetery … all you need is a lot of my descriptions and some of your imagination!!! There’s only one other place in Italy where you can have such an exciting experience: Pompeii.

The use of a private car with driver is necessary for this tour.

Colli Albani & Castelgandolfo

castel_gandolfo_toursJust about 20 kilometers south of the city of Rome, on a group of low and smooth hills called Colli Albani, you can find a group of small towns immersed in the luxuriant woods and relaxing lakes typical of the volcanic origin of these hills.

Since the time of the ancient Rome when members of the senatorial class and even emperors had a “summer home” on these hills, to the medieval centuries when all these small towns were protected by defensive walls, to the Renaissance, when noble families and cardinals of the powerful papal court built here gorgeous mansions richly decorated with frescoes and surrounded by gardens with fountains and statues, these places are today full of history related to the leading class.

It is not by chance that the famous papal residence still in perfect use today is in one of this small towns: Castegandolfo, overlooking a beautiful though small volcanic lake on one side and dominating the city of Rome on the other. The papal summer residence cannot be visited inside of course, but can be well seen from the outside, as well as the beautiful baroque architecture of the main square in front of it.

Food and wine sink their roots in medieval traditions as well, and still today you may enjoy drinking the famous Frascati wine or eating the Nemi lake’s wild strawberry, or Ariccia’s porchetta (special roasted pork).

This is normally a 4-hour tour from Rome, but a full day will help you to understand better all traditions and legends (going back particularly to the Greek goddess Diana and Emperors Domitian or Caligula). The use of a private vehicle is necessary.

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