He’s sitting there with this huge boyish grin on his face. Granted, we are in a great little Italian town, Tivoli, an easy day trip from Rome. We are in the process of having lunch while looking at a castle, but I can’t figure out what this big grin is for all of a sudden.
I start to ask, but then I see it. The waiter is bringing over a big glass full of ice with Marty’s Coke. Oh yes, it’s the little things that you miss while traveling internationally, and ice was definitely one of those things. I would say the town of Tivoli just gave Marty a big hug! LOL.
Of course, we also brought the Texas heat with us to Europe on this visit. It was the hottest summer they have had on record, ugh! So this glass of ice meant even more than ever. It’s as if the heavens opened up and rewarded us for our journey to Tivoli today and gave us a brief respite from the scorching heat.
He took one drink from that ice cold Coke, and declared it was the best Coke ever!
But a glass of ice is not what drew us to Tivoli.
We were there to see Villa d’Este with its magnificent fountain-filled grounds and the Villa Gregoriana, the romantic gardens that are filled with waterfalls and ruins.
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Day Trip from Rome to Tivoli
Getting to Tivoli
Tivoli is a beautiful town situated in the Lazio region of Italy and is a perfect day trip from Rome.
Getting to Tivoli from Rome was actually very easy. Marty and I bought our train ticket online, made our way to the Termini, the main train station in Rome, hopped on the train and then sat back and relaxed.
If you prefer to do a guided tour so you don’t have the stress of organizing ANYTHING, then consider taking one of these great trips to Tivoli from Viator.
Day Trip from Rome to Tivoli: Villa Gregoriana
Part of your fabulous day trip from Rome to Tivoli should include Villa Gregoriana.
Now, don’t let the name fool you. This is much more than just a villa. Villa Gregoriana is actually a huge ecological park that contains the ruins of the historic Villa Gregoriana.
Upon entering the park, the sign claims to be a romantic walk through the beautiful Tivoli valley. I am immediately excited, picturing Marty and I strolling hand in hand down meandering paths with birds chirping us a song in the distance.
Man, was I wrong! Bring good shoes.
While the walk down is pretty easy, it’s that hike back up from “The Valley of Hell” that got me. It was pretty steep!
You begin by walking down meandering paths and quickly come to the ancient ruins of Villa Gregoriana built into the hillside. Take a few minutes to walk through this simple, but historic home.
I loved that the posted signs gave you a full insight into the history of the Villa as well as the surrounding area.
Continuing on our way, we were stoked to see and hear the roaring waterfall that flows through the beautiful park. Of course, we had to stop and take lots of pictures.
As we walked down into the gorge, we were surrounded by lush vegetation that provided a welcome break from the summer sun.
Remember for every step you go down, you have to take that step to go back up.
Despite this, I highly recommend doing the entire loop and seeing the entire park. You will be rewarded with beautiful scenery, great waterfalls, grottos, and ruins.
Overall it took us about 2.5 hours to do the entire loop, but we stopped a lot for pictures and just took our time to explore.
Day Trip from Rome to Tivoli: Villa d’Este
The amazing Villa d’Este was the main reason that we chose to do a day trip from Rome to Tivoli.
Villa d’Este was built in 1550 for Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, the son of Lucrezia Borgia. After losing a bid to become Pope, Ippolito decided to bring the grandeur of his family name to Tivoli.
He commissioned his architect to create a grand, expensive home that he could fill with everything his money could buy. And boy did he succeed!
Today, the gardens of the Villa are currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its fountains are world-famous. I must tell you that pictures will not do this place justice, but we will try! LOL!
The approach to Villa d’Este is rather unassuming. Follow the signs through the town of Tivoli and they will lead you right to the entrance to the grounds. Upon paying our entry fee, we entered into a courtyard and then into the rooms of the Villa.
Although we were super excited to see the ornate fountains and grounds, we took time to explore the villas as well. The multi-level villa is filled with colorful frescoes featuring Roman history, mythology, and religion.
Enjoy the beautiful villa, but don’t linger for too long because the highlight is truly the amazing fountains and gardens. When we stepped outside, we were immediately in awe. I just stood there for a minute before asking Marty if this was real.
The view of the countryside and the expansive gardens were amazing! The sound of running water was everywhere. We were surrounded by greenery dotted with beautiful flowers. There were grottos encased with vines and statues spouting water everywhere we turned.
While exploring, we hear people talking about making their way to The Fountain of the Organ by a certain time. Intrigued, we found ourselves following a couple that was heading in the opposite direction of us chatting it up about this fountain.
Upon arriving, we noticed a crowd of people on the upper and lower decks staring at this amazing fountain. And then it happened, organ music surrounded us. It was astounding and I imagine that it probably echoed through the valley below.
What a show of money and power this was from the d’Este family. The organ was the first of its kind as it is powered by water pulled through the pipes by nothing more than gravity.
We spent the afternoon enjoying the grounds while inhaling the sweet smell of jasmine and honeysuckle that seemed to linger in the air. It was hard to believe that every fountain on the grounds is powered by the water pressure from the diverted river.
I was also amazed at the ingenuity of the creators of this amazing place. I found it hard to imagine that they could do all of this back in the 1500s.
Staying in Tivoli
While we did a day trip from Rome to Tivoli, I would have thoroughly enjoyed spending a night or two in this charming little town. It was a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
We recommend using Hotels.com. Their reward program allows you to earn free stays in no time! Use the link below to book with Hotels.com.
Of course, we also love using TripAdvisor to ensure we get good, honest reviews of the hotels. Check them out today as well!
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. While she is a professional educator by day, her passion for travel has her jet-setting all over the world during her free time.
Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blog, That Texas Couple. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.