Posted by: lizlitzow | September 11, 2010

Villa Adriana – Hadrian’s Villa

Once you have seen the Villa d’Este you have seen the best of Tivoli.  The town is pleasant enough but there’s not that much to do.  We recommend visiting Villa Adriana, about 5 kilometres west of Tivoli.

The vast area occupied by the Villa

This was probably the largest and most sumptuous villa in the Roman Empire and was the retirement home of the Emperor Hadrian for a short while between 135 AD and his death three years later. It occupies an enormous site and you need time to see it all.  We took 2 days in all,on our Tivoli trip.  The first day we saw Villa d’Este, stayed the night in Tivoli and having left quite early, spent most of the next day at Villa Adriana.

The Pool with Egyptian figures

The villa buildings  are  the least well-preserved, but much else is recognizable. Hadrian was a great traveller and a keen architect and parts of the villa were inspired by buildings he had seen throughout the empire.  It was his wish to replicate some of the wonders he had seen on his travels through Greece and Egypt.

More buildings

We hired earphones and a guided tour, in English of course. This was in our opinion, the way to do it, or it would be impossible to know what you were looking at.  Another way would be to take a tour with a guide from Rome itself.

It occupied a huge area

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and it was a part of history we were only vaguely familiar with, but a very worthwhile thing to do for we folk who are passionate about all things Italian.

The view of Tivoli from the gardens

Have a great time!


  1. Very interesting to read about Hadrian’s architectural achievements. I love the top picture with the amazing views and the next picture with the Egyptian figures around the pool.
    My husband and I appreciate having that extra information which help us plan better what to look for in our next trip to Italy. One of the things we found disappointing as deaf travellers in Europe is the lack of tour guides for deaf people. We can’t use earphones (no good to us) and we don’t always understand the lip patterns of tour guides, and sometimes, there are no printed tour guide information for deaf tourists, in lieu of headphones. So, we rely a lot on our imagination when looking at artworks or architecture.
    Those little bits of extra information you give us are a boon to make our exploring more informative. A couple of places that are good with paper information are England and Germany.

    • Hi Sandra – Thanks for your comment. It was a most interesting place to see this man’s architectural achievement and vision. We wouldnt have gone there had it not been for our son who wanted to visit. Well worth it. I guess it would be difficult for you, & the best thing would be to hire a guide who can use sign language (in English of course) – would that help?

  2. For YEARS, I dreamed about going to Italy, I have dream boards all over my walls at home with all things Italy. I did actually get to Italy (had a bout of food poisoning & our flights were cancelled) but this tour, it was incredible. It was like being in 2 countries at the same time. The architecture was incredible and the ear phone tour was fabulous! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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