TIVOLI – Italy

Villa d'este fountains and gardens, Tivoli Italy

This past spring while visiting Italy, my friend Candy recommended we visit Tivoli and the Villa d’ Este. The Villa d’Este gardens have inspired botanical gardens around the world including Copenhagen’s, Tivoli Gardens, and the Jarden di Tivoli in Paris. The construction of this Renaissance garden and palace was in the 16th century. It makes for a great day trip from Rome because it is 30 km or a 45-minute drive. Also, it could be a stop on your way to Tuscany or Perugia as well.

Town of Tivoli

We had a gorgeous spring day for our visit and tour of the Ville d’Este and the town of Tivoli. Part of the Sabine hills with tremendous views of Romana Compagna has vistas, valleys, and waterfalls.

This town was a respite for the wealthy of Rome to escape into the hills to relax, and unwind and still does today. It grew in stature and fame after the 16th century and had a rebirth during the Middle Ages and especially the Renaissance.

Our walk around town was a lot of fun, shops were open and gelato stands and cafés were also. Before making our way to the gardens we stopped for a bite to eat.

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Good Eats!

Just off the Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi tucked on the via della Missione is L’angolino di Mirko. Candy found prima parking and we walked down to this ristorante that smelled amazing. They had English menus available, however I prefer to read both! Here’s why:

Restaurant in Tivoli Italy

TRAVEL TIP: When traveling in Europe, remember to ask for the NON-ENGLISH menu in tourist destinations. Many times local favorites are not listed on the ENGLISH-only Menu!

Candy and I stopped for a bit. We enjoyed some red wine, artichoke, parmesan salad, and Ravioli with Datterino Tomatoes and Taggiasca Olives. YUM! Also, many times in Italy there is a “coperto” which is a separate charge found on your bill for bread, and olive oil prior to your meal. This charge is typically per person and sometimes referred to as “coppa.” It is usually about €2-4 per person.

Service was fun and professional, food was tasty and we enjoyed the listening to the bustling of the streets and people shopping.

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Visiting the Gardens

Tickets for the garden are €22.80 for a day visit or you can visit from Rome as well and include Hadrian’s Villa.

Candy and I were not a super fast itinerary schedule, so we just took our time walking the grounds. It truly is amazing how much of the Villa is still in tact from the 16th century. Around 1550, Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este failed to become Pope and with permission of the Governor of Tivoli began revitalizing, restoring, and repairing the Palace and Gardens.

Villa d'Este Gardens in Tivoli, Italy

Around the 18th Century with the acquisition from the House of Habsburg, the estate fell in disrepair including the waterworks. It wasn’t until the beginning of the first World War that the property was given to the Italian state. It was open to the public beginning in 1920. There was a bit of damage during World War II from a bombing in 1944 and iconic photos of Mussollini walking about the grounds. You can still see these today.

In 2001, the Villa d’Este became a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of the BEST examples of Pre-Renaissance and Renaissance gardens.

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Around Tivoli

Although we did not get a chance to see all of Tivoli, here are a few sites to see if you have more time in this Lazio city.

Rocca Pia

Just off the Piazza Garibadi is the Rocca Pia. Built in the 1460s as a fortress to protect the city it is a prominent landmark in this ancient town. It was used as a prison up until 1960! Tours run every 30 minutes and is open from 10:00 to 4:00 p.m. daily.

Grande Cascatadi Tivoli

This grand waterfall – cascatadi flows from the Aniene, or Anio River in Tivoli. Artists and photographers have captured its beauty since the 1700s. Considered one of the TOP sites to see in Tivoli, you will probably want to add this to your itinerary if you are nature lover.

Temple of Sybil

Here is a walking map around the city to these highlights!

Walking map of Tivoli

Whether it is a day trip from Rome or Perugia or Naples, this community in Lazio has so many sites to see. You may decide to stay a bit longer.

Big smiles in Tivoli
Big smiles in Tivoli

Candy is now a local and I am super jealous. I can’t wait to see where else she has in mind for my next visit to Italy. Stay tuned for sure!

It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!

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