Away from the usual paths beaten by mass tourism, this piece of the Grand Tour of the Roman Countryside will lead you in the footsteps of ancient Romans.
Tivoli’s Unesco World Heritage Site Villa Adriana and the Sanctuary of the Goddess Fortuna in Palestrina will tell you the story of the ancient Romans as you have never heard before.
It is not the usual tour of Rome but it is an extension, a useful way to get to know the Roman Empire and its provincial life, and the perfect opportunity discover something new.
Day Tour in the Roman Countryside: Tivoli and Palestrina
The fascination of Roman history captures millions of tourists every day, Italians and foreigners who walk in the footsteps of the ancient Romans to visit the most important and significant sites of a civilization on which the foundations of all Italian and European culture are based.
VILLA ADRIANA IN TIVOLI
One of the most noteworthy Roman sites in Italy is Villa Adriana in Tivoli. This famous Villa is 28 km from Rome and is located in the Monti Tiburtini. The area of Tivoli, at the time of construction of this site, was full of aqueducts and thermal waters, for this reason it was one of the most sought-after areas by the most famous patrician families.
The Villa was built by Emperor Hadrian, from which it takes its name, around 118 AD. The initial idea was to reunite the entire court in an area away from the city, and it was therefore considered a safer place, however the project later developed into a small and wonderful village.
The archaeological site is open to all who admire art, beauty and nature. Today the Villa appears to us as an enormous park, about 80 hectares, embellished with marvelous Roman ruins, statues of immeasurable beauty and the famous Roman baths.
You will have the impression of being in a timeless enchanted place, where the atmosphere is truly unique. Next to the beauties of the Roman age there are eighteenth-century farmhouses that create a wonderful collage of different eras and architectures. Many artists in the Renaissance period visited Villa Adriana and followed the paths inside which provided neoclassical inspirations for their works.
The itinerary inside this historic jewel is very well structured. In addition to the wonderful park where the Villa is located, you will find the Teatro Marittimo, a structure that is unlike the traditional Roman theaters. It consists of a circular portico with Ionic columns, surrounded by water with a small island in the center that was connected to the mainland by way of a movable bridge.
You will then visit the large complex of the Canopus, also boasting an elegant colonnade, which extends along an artificial lake embellished on all sides by Roman statues.
The excavations are still ongoing and are continuing to bring new wonders to light every day.
Villa Adriana was declared universal heritage of humanity and a UNESCO site in 1999. It is a destination for many visitors every year that are enchanted by its magical atmosphere. Villa Adriana is easily reachable by car, but if you wish to enjoy it without the stress of driving, you can participate in our “Grand Tour of the Roman Countryside”.
PALESTRINA’S ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM AND PAGAN TEMPLE
If you admire the historic and cultural treasures of ancient times at Villa Adriana, you won’t want to miss another symbol of Roman culture: the National Archaeological Museum of Palestrina.
Located in a striking position, the museum is in fact housed in the very special Palazzo Barberini, once belonging to one of the most important families of post-Renaissance Rome. This architectural structure perfectly represents the Italian scenographic style, thanks to the creation of terraces connected by elegant stairways and Pompeian-style ramps.
Built on the Sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia, Palazzo Barberini maintains the perfect circular structure of the original Hellenistic sanctuary.
The National Archaeological Museum of Palestrina has many important pieces of Roman artwork and ancient artefacts that were discovered inside the pagan sanctuary after the bombings during WWII and in excavations around the countryside.
Undoubtedly one of the most interesting pieces housed in the museum is the mosaic of the Nile, a gigantic mosaic depicting the Egyptian river in flood and it is thought to have been completed by Alexandrian artists around the 2nd century BC. The museum also boasts a collection of and bone cosmetic tools and bronze ciste, the equivalent to ancient beauty cases, in addition to other unique bas reliefs, mosaics and sculptures.
Treat yourself to this journey through time to discover unique places in the countryside along roads less traveled.