Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este

Once accessible from Rome by the River Aniene, and with an abundant supply of fresh water and building materials, Tivoli was a prime spot for Roman country estates, places where the back-stabbing of the city could be left behind in search of “otium” (leisure). It was here that the Emperor Hadrian, ruling at the pinnacle of Roman strength, chose to build his vast estate. The site has been studied since the 16th century, and has offered inspiration to great architects from the Renaissance onwards.

Fourteen centuries after Hadrian was building his villa, Cardinal Ippolito d’Este retired to Tivoli following his defeat in the papal election of 1555. He sought consolation in the remodelling of the Governor’s villa and appointed Pirro Ligorio – the first architect to study the ruins of the nearby villa of the Emperor Hadrian – to design an exquisite garden bursting with opulent fountains.

By visiting Hadrian’s Villa in the morning and the Villa d’Este after a lunch break, we can explore the revival of the ancient idea of “otium” in the Renaissance.

Any alterations to the suggested itinerary are very welcome, and will be accommodated wherever accessibility permits.

  • Visit to Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa
  • private car service

approx. 7 hours round trip