The Magical Italian City of Tivoli

Villa d'Este

US Presidents retreat to Camp David for rest & relaxation.  The New York elite seek refuge in the Hamptons to escape from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.  For Roman leaders, Tivoli has historically been the preferred getaway destination dating back more than 2000 years.  Located just short of 20 miles outside of Rome’s city-center, Tivoli is situated in the nearby Tiburtini mountains, known for its picturesque landscape and good water.


Many villas and rural retreats have been built in Tivoli throughout the centuries, with the most famous villa of the Roman times (2nd century) known as Villa Adriana, named after Roman Emperor Hadrian, who in fact governed the Roman Empire from the Villa towards the end of his reign.  The Villa is an area of about 250 acres, and includes many pools, baths and classical Greek architecture.  For those of you who have not seen my video while at Villa Adriana, you can check it out by clicking HERE.  After Hadrian’s rule, subsequent Roman Emperors utilized the Villa, including Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, Septimius Severus, and Caracalla.  Eventually with the decline of the Roman Empire, the Villa fell into disuse, and much of it was destroyed during the Gothic War.


Villa Adriana
Me standing on the grounds of Villa Adriana, February 2018
Villa d'Este
Villa d'Este, February 2018

During the middle ages, Tivoli fell under papal control, and as it entered the Renaissance, popes and cardinals frequented Tivoli, following the footsteps of prior Roman leaders.  The most famous Villa during the Renaissance period is known as Villa d’Este, which was built for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este in the 16th century.  The Villa is famous for its picturesque hillside views, gardens, fountains, and frescoes.  In my personal opinion, I have never seen a villa so magnificent.  One fountain in particular that impressed me is called The Fountain of the Organ (‘’Fontana dell’Organo’’), which was constructed to play music from the natural flow of water as it entered whirlpools, wheels and pipes.

Today, with Tivoli’s rich history, desirable location, and close proximity to Rome, it is a perfect tourist destination to get out of Rome’s hustle and bustle, just as the Roman leaders used to do in centuries past.  Besides visiting some of the world’s most beautiful villas, including Villa Gregoriana, which was commissioned in 1835 by Pope Gregory XVI, Tivoli is indeed a modern city of art, music and fine dining.

During my visit to Tivoli, I was honored by my friend, Fabrizio Pellegrini, who manages a Facebook group designed to promote tourism in Tivoli.  We dined at one of the best restaurants in Tivoli called, L’Angolino di Mirko, where the owner, Anna, demonstrated how to make a traditional pasta, and where I was additionally honored by members of the famous Tivoli Orchestra, President Luana Frascarelli and Dottoressa Laura Catelli.  A video of the magical evening is below.

I am grateful for my experience in Tivoli and I feel strongly that for anyone visiting Rome, a 1-2 day stay in Tivoli is essential.  This is why I am including Tivoli on my Rome tour, which is currently in the process of being organized through my recently launched tour management company.  Stay tuned for the details.