Fountains and Ruins

Trip Start May 04, 2011
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Trip End Feb 20, 2014


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Ruins, religion, fountains

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Sunday, July 15, 2012

Having been to Rome before and covered all the big ticket items in 2009, I was keen to add something to this trip that was additional and beyond Rome city centre. Tivoli was the answer. We caught the subway to a bus stop on the outskirts of the city and then bussed for 1 hour to the town of Tivoli which has two main attractions. The first was Villa d'Este, which was owned by a cardinal in the 1500’s who had the interior painted with elaborate artworks and the gardens decorated with even more elaborate fountains. This garden and fountains has been a particular highlight for me so far. I was surprised that the fountains were running the entire time and just so much water everywhere – temp was mid-30’s and I was ready to dive into one of the fountains! I didn’t think much of the interior but having looked back at the photos, the paintings do look better in photograph than person. They are painted directly onto the wall plaster and up close it just wasn’t very attractive. But the talent of being able to paint every surface of nearly every room is remarkable.

From the top of town, we caught a bus down to Hadrian’s Villa. Not very well sign-posted and I’m still amazed that we even got the bus to it and managed to get a bus back to Rome given that it was after 7pm by the time we left Tivoli. Mum was remarkably calm about the whole situation. She must have a hip-flask of vodka stashed away somewhere for these 'make it up as you go’ moments. This villa was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd Century as a ‘get away’ from the Roman Forum in Rome centre. It is unbelievably massive and impressive – just imagine how impressive it would have been covered with marble and in its hey-day. Lots of baths and pools. And a free exhibition on Hadrian’s love affair with a 20 yr old man who mysteriously drowned in the Nile and Hadrian tried to have him immortalised as a God!

On our final day in Rome, we had booked a Colosseum and Roman Forum tour that kicked off at 830am. We were much more organised this time compared to the Vatican Tour and even arrived a few minutes early at the meeting point and with breakfast/coffee consumed! Lesson learned. This tour was also much better than the Vatican tour. Same tour company, but the guide was excellent; he really brought it to life and told side stories and history in an informative but not boring way. And none of his personal opinions, just the history. The tour also had 2 highlights that I had not done before and didn’t realise was possible – going beneath and on the stage of the Colosseum and then right up to the highest tier. Moments that I will remember for life. Walking out onto the stage in the centre of the Colosseum and just imagining what went on here 2000 yrs ago is spine chilling and special.

We then had lunch overlooking the Colosseum and walked across town to get a view of Rome from the top of the Vittoriano Monument (only constructed 100 yrs ago and insanely white; apparently hated by the locals). Then to the Pantheon – the best quality remaining Roman Empire building in town and a Catholic Church now. Then to a couple of squares, churches, a well earned jug of beer, and back to the Vatican so Mum could post the postcard she had forgotten to post to her Mother. I of course was not at all impressed with this last additional item and my legs were about to fall off. So Nan had better enjoy the card! The day concluded with a fantastic Italian meal and then packing our bags ready for our ridiculously early departure to Paris the next day. It was busy, but overall we ticked all the items we had for Rome and a very memorable time. Ciao Italia.
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Comments

Annette on

Once again another wonderful blog and pictures. Glad you are both getting to see everything on your list and enjoying it. xx

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