Tivoli: the thermal baths location since the age of the Roman emperors
How about a trip in Tivoli during your stay in the capital? The city is 30 kilometres far from Rome, and it has a very interesting historical and cultural heritage: the main attractions date back to the Roman Emperors age, but in the city centre there are also some symbols of the Middle Ages
Villa Adriana is one of the most appreciated archaeological sites in Italy, and it is heritage of the UNESCO.
It was built by the will of Emperor Hadrian: he thought Rome was too much chaotic, and he didn't feel comfortable in his royal palace on the Palatino Hill. He wanted to go over the city far but not too much from it, so he chose the big plane in Tivoli.
The works started in 118 A.D. and lasted for 20 years; the final result is a great masterpiece, and Hadrian's contribution was very important, as he was an architecture lover.
Today the Residence is just a mix of ruins, but at the time there were thermal baths, temples, gymnasiums, buildings, and gardens dedicated to the emperor entourage. The places worth of a visit are: the Teatro Marittimo, the Pecìle, the Canopo, the Grandi e Piccole Terme, the Greek Theatre, the Greek and Latin Library.
The residence was built by the will of cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, and the architect Pirro Logorio started the works in 1552 to finish them 20 years later. The entire structure occupies about 4 hectares and includes the residential building, the immense Italian garden, fifty fountains, caves and statues. The building has an elegant façade and inside you can admire different rooms; among them the Appartamento Nobile, the Appartamento Vecchio, and the Sala delle Storie di Salomone are really worth of a visit. All the works you can see are by the Roman school painters, such as Zuccari and Agresti.
In the park, as already mentioned, there are several fountains: the most interesting ones are the Bicchierone - by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1660-1661 -, the Nettuno, the Proserpina, and the Organo.
Park Villa Gregoriana
It was commissioned by Pope Gregorio XVI, and it became destination of noble and intellectual people, in 1834. It is a wonderful park with several forests, waterfalls, caves and several species of flora.
The best one is the Grande Cascata - from the Aniene -, the Grotte di Nettuno and the Grotte delle Sirene.
The cathedral of San Lorenzo
San Lorenzo Cathedral or Cathedral of Tivoli is the most important religious building in the city. It is situated in the heart of the ancient town, on the ruins of the Foro Tiburtino, dating back to the Middle Ages.
If you have a look to the sky, you will be able to see the wonderful Romanic bell tower, 45 m tall. Inside, there are several elements deserving your attention, such as the wooden group of the Deposition - situated along the right nave of the fourth chapel -, the Custodia d'argento from the 15th century, and the Trittico del Salvatore. The latter - stored in the third chapel along the left nave - represents Christ, the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist.
Rocca Pia - the symbol of the town of Tivoli - is situated near Piazza Garibaldi, and it was built in 1461, on the top of a hill, by order of Pope Pio II Piccolomini.
From its position, it was possible to take all the area under control, to prevent enemy invasions. The structure has a squared shape, with four towers of different height, and it was possible to get there by a drawbridge.
The fortress became a prison during the Napoleonic age, until the 1960.
A walk around the streets in the city historical Centre
You can't miss a tour in the city centre.
Stop in Piazza Garibaldi, where the hero of the two worlds had a break, before continuing his project of unification of the peninsula.
You can see the remains of the Anfiteatro di Bleso, and the Scuderie Estensi from the 17th century. Move to Piazza Santa Croce to discover the Palazzo Serra-Nobili from the 15th century, and then take Via del Trevio, to discover the buildings along it.
The street merges into a square where the landlords used to meet to look for laborers that could help them to collect vegetables, fruit, and olives. In this area, there is also an ancient pharmacy with the ceilings decorated by wonderful frescoes.
Go on to San Biagio church: it dates back to the 14th century; it is decorated by Romanic style, and after the bombings in 1944, several restoring interventions not necessary. In front of the church, there is Piazza della Regina, also called Piazza del Plebiscito: the two names are connected to a temple dedicated to Queen Juno and do the Plebiscito that took place in 1870, for the annexation of Tivoli to the Italian country; during the week days, it is the stage of a colourful market. Now, it is the moment to visit Via Palatina, where there are some important buildings from the Middle Ages. Nearby, there is the Vicolo dei Granai that after some time became the Jewish ghetto. In Piazza Palatina, you can admire the Palazzo del Governatore, the Casa Torre, and the Chiesina di San Michele.
Your little tour ends in Piazza Rivarola and Piazza Massimo.
The Tempio della Tosse
It is situated along the ancient Via Tiburtina, near the city centre, and you can easily recognize it because of its circular shape.
The structure is very similar to the Roman Pantheon: there is a cylindrical room covered by a hemispherical dome, with a hole in the middle.
Some historians say it is a temple dedicated to Venus or to the sun, others think it was the entrance of a building never built, and that somebody else think it was a sepulcher by the Gens Tuscia.
Monte Catillo Nature Reserve
You cannot leave the city without having visited the natural protected reserve of Monte Catillo, on the Tivoli Mountains.
Several different types of animals and plants live there - some of them century-old -, and it is wonderful to have a work surrounded by this entire green panorama.
This is just a small taste of what you will discover in the wonderful thermal city: Tivoli. We hope we have made you so curious to discover it.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
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