Another late get up this morning, we slept right through to 11am so once again missed the hotel breakfast. Therefore once we’d got up and out, around noon, breakfast was our first destination!
Close to our hotel we found a cafe called Rossi Tiziano that sold American style breakfasts, a nice change to the usual Italian fare. We chose the same meal, a cheese and ham omelette followed by a chocolate and cream waffle. There were a few mistakes to the order but the staff were really friendly and any problems were sorted out asap. It was a great start to the day.
We had a stroll over to where we needed to meet for our tour, with tour operator Greenline tours, and boarded our coach bound for Tivoli. It wasn’t a long drive until our first stop, Hadrian’s Villa.
The villa is a UNESCO world heritage site and is nearly 2000 years old. Hadrian, the roman emperor, moved there as he didn’t like Palatine Hill in Rome, where he was expected to live. He ended up governing the empire from the villa. In the 4th century the villa fell into disuse and much of what it contained was taken away. It was very impressive in that it spanned a vast area, around 250 acres, and contained many buildings. Of course the time we spent there was only enough to see a very small section of what is left. The villa is very much a ruin and so a hell of a lot of imagination is required to think about what it could have been like all those years ago.
What I most enjoyed was the pool, which is one of the best preserved parts of the villa, no imagination required there! I’m pleased we saw everything as Hadrian’s Villa has been placed on list of most endangered sites because of the rapid deterioration of the ruins. We were led around the site by a friendly older Italian man but I have to admit I did struggle to hear a lot of what he was saying.
We then boarded back on the coach and made our way to our second stop, Villa D’Este. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I arrived as I had booked the tour a long time previously and had done it primarily to see Hadrian’s Villa so this was more like a bonus. It was another UNESCO world heritage site, however it’s a lot newer as it was completed in the 17th century.
We entered the villa itself and it was very lovely, with a sense of serenity. There were vaulted ceilings with painted frescos which, although I had seen so many painted ceilings by this point, still impressed me.
What was really sensational though was the garden. It contained water feature after water feature and was so idyllic in the Italian sun. It was such a fantasy garden. At the bottom of the garden there were sweeping views of the town below. We were given about an hour to look around the garden and I was really happy to have been allowed the time there.
The weather was pretty hot, about 38 degrees, and the garden was set out over various levels. It did mean I struggled a bit with the heat as we had to climb stairs between the levels. Luckily we had five minutes before we were due back on the bus to grab an ice cream.
On our return to Rome we decided to get a takeaway, due to the fact we were tired and had some packing to be done. We stopped at Pizzeria Rosticceria Ostiense 10, which was right by where the coach dropped us off. They sold their pizza by weight and we ended up with about 6 slices. They were very thick and we got a few flavours, including chip pizza, a new favourite of mine!