Day Trips from Rome
La Campagna Romana
For these tours you will need a full day.
Tivoli - Let me show you round my home
For this tour you can hire a car, or, for the more adventurous, use the train and bus....I would recommend public transport because your experience will be closer to the adventurous 17th and 18th century travellers, who described the stunning, unfamiliar, unexpected and unusual views and experiences they encountered, which will help make your tour an experience you will never forget.
If you choose to take the train I will send you clear instructions to follow and meet you at Tivoli Train Station, and from there we will use public transport to Villa Adriana, before coming back to Tivoli for lunch with a visit to the Villa D'Este in the afternoon.
Tivoli - Hadrian's Villa and Villa D'Este
Hadrian's Villa lies sleepily in the valley below Tivoli among olives trees, and it looks almost as though it has been enchanted by a witch who has stopped time.
Hadrian's Villa was the country retreat of one of the most intriguing figures of the Roman Empire, Emperor Hadrian, a philosopher-Emperor under whose rule the Roman Empire enjoyed a most prosperous and peaceful period. He was a lover of art and architecture, astronomy and spirituality, a reformer of the army, of the the law system and the government - he was ruthless, but also compassionate and wise, and because of that he was both loved and hated. Today his splendid, though ruined Villa, has to be shared with the olive trees that have partly reclaimed the territory, which adds a magical dimension to the site, and we will see the formal and public areas of his Villa as well his most private, secret retreat. On this tour we will came closer to one of the great characters of Ancient Rome.
Villa d'Este is perched precariously on the very edge of Old Tivoli and its gardens are the creation of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, the son of the notorious Lucrezia Borgia and the nephew of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI. After being passed over for the position of Pope in Rome, the angry Cardinal focussed on building his magnificent villa and gardens, nearly bankrupting himself. You will be amazed by the gardens, which set the standard for Renaissance water gardens - and they never rest with fountains, water jets, cascades and fish pools, accompanied by astonishing views of the campagna Romana.
We will also be initiated in the “mysteries” of Cardinale Ippolito and explore his complex mind through the Renaissance symbolism of the gardens - once we come out of the Villa we will know who he was, where he came from, what made him grand, and most importantly what secret revenge he had in mind for those who had refused him the position of Pope.
Ostia Antica was the port of Ancient Rome, 15 km outside of the city centre, which saw all the goods from around the Empire and beyond passing through, along with the sailors and merchants and all the infrastructure needed to support them. The port was silted away by the river Tiber and the city was flooded repeatedly until was finally abandoned and forgotten, only to be excavated recently. To everybody's amazement it was so well preserved that it almost (!) rivals Pompeii - although for me it is more alive than Pompeii and is an enjoyably surreal experience.
Ostia needs a full day to really appreciate it, even though it is not too long a journey from the centre, only about 20 minutes from Rome by train. But on that short journey be prepared to travel trough time and you will find yourself in an ancient Roman city - busy, noisy and bustling, you will end up hearing kids playing, workmen shouting, perhaps a funeral passing by, smelling baked bread, and seeing shops filled up to the brim with goods from all over the world. And while we are in Ostia we will plan our Roman holiday, go to the theatre, meet our friends and spend time in the Roman Baths or perhaps pick up our laundry from the launderette, and later we can all meet at the local wine bar for a drink, and if perhaps we drink too much then we can all share the same Roman public toilets...! And if you think that's embarrassing we might even meet a philosopher who can teach us how to pass wind silently!