Explore two of the most famous Italian villas on a half-day trip from Rome, following the ancient Roman road of Via Tiburtina to Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli. Upon arrival, explore the ruins at the foot of the Tiburtini Hills, where natural springs supply the spa town of Bagni di Tivoli. Along the way, look for the vast quarries of travertine marble.
Built in the 2nd century, Hadrian’s Villa was once more powerful and impressive than the center of Imperial Rome. Walk through its exquisite gardens, admire its fountains, the caryatids and columns of Canopus and Serapeum, the artificial grotto named after an Egyptian temple to the god Serapis.
Continue to the Renaissance Villa d'Este, where you can wander the Italianate gardens and discover an abundance of grottoes, frescoes and mosaics. Marvel at fountains that create a graceful symphony of carved stone, and provide shade, sunlight and water. A series of terraces evokes the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, while the underground aqueduct provides testimony to the engineering skill of the Romans.