Some years ago I stayed for work in Rome for abut 2 months, which were very special times. You can never get bored in Rome and not even 2 months (ok, only the weekends out of which some I’ve spent in other beautiful Italian cities) are enough to see and experience everything in the città eterna.
When weekends came, we tried to make the best out of the two free full days ahead and see as much as possible, eat as much as possible, drink as much as possible (yes, coffee, what else?). With this in mind, one early Sunday morning, I took two of my colleagues and went for a day trip, in the outskirts of Rome.
I don’t remember exactly how we found this place, but I am definitely happy we did find it and were lucky to enjoy a warm autumn day in Tivoli. The city is 30 km to the north-east of Rome and we took a bus from Ponte Mammolo metro station where there is also a central bus stop. The trip took about 50 min and it was…interesting to say the least. Prepare for the worst (at least that is the way it was some 3 years ago), the smell, the oh so crowded bus, the noise. And I’m sorry to admit that 90% of the people getting squashed in that bus were my fellow – citizens (because yes, we love Italy). But it’s all worth it once you get to the final destination.
Tivoli is a nice small town, typically Italian, with narrow streets, small coffee shops, yummy street food and even yummier ice cream. It is also a very old town, historical traces of settlement in the area date back to the 13th century BC.
Our first stop was, of course, a coffee place in a Piazza, because we needed a refill after the long (or at least so it seamed) trip. The place was packed with Italians who were out for a Sunday mid-day coffee and socialization. I just love how the Italians interact and are rigorous about their morning (after lunch, afternoon and after dinner) coffee, about aperitivo, about just getting out there and enjoying a conversation.
The next stop, and the most important one – basically the reason why we were there – was La Villa D’Este and even more so, its beautiful gardens. You can find more information related to operating hours and prices here.
Beautifully set on a hill, offering an overall view on the surroundings, the Villa is dating since the 1500s and has been commissioned by Pope Alexander the VIths grandson. The interior is now a museum, from the paintings available here to the frescos on the walls and ceilings. From most of the rooms, the view is unbelievable down the main axis of the gardens and terraces.
Of course, you can find also a small terrace where you can sit down, have a coffee and take in the incredible view.
Once you start to descend in the gardens, you come to understand how amazing this place really is. Full of trees, flowers, statues and yes, the fountains. There are several levels and a whole lot of fountains, water splashing all around on this hill. The one I liked most was actually created from 100 small fountains, as a matter a fact this is actually its name Le Cento Fontane (The Hundred Fountain). From one end to another the wall is filled with moss and small fountains.
Getting even lower, you come to the basis of the gardens, where just by walking around, you can discover several lovely fountains with sculptures and lakes.
The Rometta fountain
The Fontana dell’Ovatto
And the lady with a lot of boobs :)) (it is actually the statue of the goddess Artemis of Ephesus the twin of Apollo in Greek mytholog)
After having spent a lot of hours just enjoying the Villa and its gardens, we got right back to the city to indulge in real Italian frozen yogurt.
This is what I would call a perfect Sunday! What about you? Have any ideas for a perfect Sunday trip?