Publius Aelius Hadrianus was a Roman Emperor who loved art, architecture and culture. He decided to build an impressive Villa near to Tivoli, in a valley which had a strategic position, which was never completed. Its constructions date back to between 118 and 138 AD. He used to live here, surronded by nature and magnificence. What we see today of Hadrian’s Villa (Villa Adriana in Italian) is only a part of the complex which was covered by marble and hosted several buildings of various types, termal baths, pools, gardens, libraries and sculptural decorations.
Strolling into the Villa (we suggest getting a guide for 5 euro per person) you can see all the buildings whose use we can only suppose: for example, the Hospitalia, which probably hosted the praetorians guards; the Heliocaminus Baths, a room heated by solar rays; the luxurious Small and Large Baths.
At the end of the available part for visits of the Villa (there’s an area which is private property) there is the marvellous Canopus, which was used in the summer as a banqueting hall.
“The Villa Adriana is a masterpiece that uniquely brings together the highest expressions of the material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world” according to Unesco. It is, in fact, a World Heritage site. And it’s not difficult to understand why. Everything here tells a story of a past which belongs to all humanity.
From Rome the Villa can be reached:
- by car, Autostrada A24 towards Naples, tivoli exit;
- by metro B (Ponte Mammolo stop) and then by Co.Tral bus towards via Prenestina;
- by train: Tivoli station and then bus no.4 on the CAT line.