If you visit the Villa d'Este (as you probably will) take a closer look at some of the stones used for bordering paths in the gardens (and in some walls too).
It's a type of limestone, but is fossil-rich. In fact, it seems to consist almost entirely of prehistoric corals, concreted together by the millennia. Tubes and bubbles and casts abound:entirely wondrous.
I saw it in Rome too, in what remains of the Palatine gardens of the Villa Farnese. I suspect it must have been a popular 'garden feature' in Renaissance times.
Well worth a closer look.
Tivoli was a favoured place for ancient Romans to retire to (and for the wealthy to have summer villas) , and continued to be so during the Renaissance.
Thus, as with all Italian towns and cities which have millennia of occupation behind them, you can see evidence of the past melding into more recent times. Italians seem to have been happy to build on top of or next to existing structures, or to incorporate them into newer buildings rather than entirely clear the site. Which is very, very good.
Tivoli is a pleasant place for a wander anyway, so keep your eyes open as you do. You'll see the past emerging in all sorts of unlikely places...........
The dominating feature of Villa Adriana is the Canopus, which is an elongated lake surrounded by a colonnade. At the end of the lake was a Temple of Serapis, dug into the hillside.
In the spaces between the columns are statues of Ares, Athena, Hermes and two Amazons.
The western side of the canopus has central columns, substituted by six Caryatides, four of which are copies of a temple on the Acropolis in Athens and the other two Caryatides represent Sileni (cement reproductions as the originals are in the museum). Oh look they are reflected too ;-))
As I live close to Tivoli, I usually walk through the town without looking at buildings, churches and ruins... It's because I'm in a hurry and go there just to shop or something... but there's much to see...
Along the pathways and hallways of the villa you will find just about every type of marble known to man. While taking over most of the world, the Romans collected many finer things from other countries, which included fine marbles and stones.
This was the mens bath complex.
The Romans sure loved their baths - there are several bath complexes at Villa Adriana.
The great circular room probably housed the Turkish bath (sudatio) as no plumbing pipes are present.
The Maritime Theatre is a strange central island structure ringed by Ionic columns and a circular canal. This was Hadrians favourite spot in which to indulge in his favourite pastimes, painting and architecture.
Take time to visit the Villa Hadriana if you like visiting roman ruins and want to know all the details. Entrance fee was 6.5 Euros and you can get an audio-guide for 4 Euros which takes 1.5 hours to go through - not including the walking inbetween the sites.
Finally on the way out there is a small greek theatre - mainly grassed over now so not much to see.
Atop the stairs in a central position the ruins of a small room are visible. It was perhaps for the use of the Imperial cult.
Hadrian travelled a lot and it is purported that many of the buildings in the villa complex were based upon his foreign travels!
None of the buildings in the Villa actually duplicates the architecture of the original structures however and some are just a myth!
Hadrian returned to Rome in 125 and appears to have laid plans for extensions to his Villa at that time, before embarking on his second voyage in 128.
The Canopus refers to an artificial canal that connected the Egyptian city of Canopus in the Nile delta with Alexandria. The city Canopus was famous for its Temple of Serapis - the temple at the end of the lake. The Canopus was built before Hadrian's first journey to Egypt, so it is not a reconstruction of something he had seen on this travels as purported to be so.
I was so excited when I took this view from the hill above and saw all the reflections...I could hardly contain myself and rushed down to snap away. Hence the next few pics will show these reflections!
The Villa Hadriana became the imperial residence. The villa was located just outside ancient Tibur, modern Tivoli, some 28 km E. of Rome. It stood on a hillside, surrounded by two minor tributaries to the Aniene, which flows into the Tiber just N. of Rome. Tivoli, and hence the villa, was easily reached from Rome by land via the Via Tiburtina and by boat on the Aniene, being navigable at the time.
Villa D'Este in the Town of Tivoli outside Rome.
Take the train from Roma Termini Station to Tivoli.
It is 40 km outside of Rome into the mountains. It will cost you about $7.- a person to get a return ticket with the train. It takes about 1 hour to get there. It is a nice little old town with a beautiful villa with gardens.
The entrance costs you about $3.- for the gardens and the villa.
This estate was constructed in the 16th Century by Cardinal Ippolito D'Este, son of Lucrezia Borgia. The Villa is most known for its terracegardens and fountains.
Inspite of the fact the gardens arfe a bit neglected through the ages, it still offers a good impression how it must have been.
Also known as the sea theatre -even a reflection here, although not very condusive to relaxing now - the water was quite murky and stagnant :-(