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Villa Adriana (Tivoli)

Villa Adriana (Tivoli)
The Villa Adriana was the retreat of the Roman emperor Hadrian, and the remains of its monuments are great examples of classical architecture. The villa was created in the 2nd century A.D. in the cooler hillside town of Tivoli, about 30 kilometers outside Rome.

The Villa shows echoes of many different architectural orders, mostly Greek and Egyptian. Hadrian was a very well travelled emperor and borrowed these designs.

Visit September 2012

Villa Adriana is advocated as the most complete and well-preserved of Roman ruins. Despite of that, it is not very well known by the general public. In Tivoli it has to compete with the Renaissance Villa d’Este, which attracts most of the visitors to this town east of Rome. The Villa Adriana lies some 5km away, outside of the city center. A local bus (no. 4) will get you there, and the bus to Rome doesn’t stop far away either. Entrance costs 11 EUR.

I did not know what to expect – somehow it sounds similar to the Villa Romana del Casale on Sicily. But in reality it is much different. The Villa Adriana covers and enormous area, 120ha. It was built as an ‘ideal city’, planned by Emperor Hadrian to entertain himself and his guests. 900 servants lived on the premises. In addition to its size, it is also remarkable how much of it still stands. Or stands again, as several buildings display clear signs of concrete or brick reconstruction.

In the middle of summer this will be an excruciating hot site to visit – it’s all open land without shade, dusty, and the main monuments need quite a hike to get there. Signage is scarce, and there’s nowhere to buy a drink. During my visit in early September it was cloudy but still about 25 degrees. I did my best to find all interesting sights, but must admit that it was exhausting. The problem with the site is that there are no clear highlights: there are some mosaics, a few marble columns, plus the remains of many Roman structures built to enjoy and relax. None of them really stand out however, there's almost no decoration left and I found it all very bland.


Clyde (Malta):
I visited this great WHS in March 2014. I visited Rome several times but this time round I decided to drive to Tivoli for a day trip. Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana are quite close to each other by car and it is feasible to visit both in 1 day. Hadrian’s villa is huge and 2-3 hours to be able to scrape the surface and understand its importance. The highlight of my visit was the Canopus with the replica statue of Mars. There are several thermal baths, columns, mosaics, etc to keep you busy exploring. It's definitely one of Italy’s top WHS.
Date posted: March 2014
Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
After paying the ticket I stopped in an office where there was a wooden reproduction in miniature of Villa Adriana when it was erected (during the second century) and then I went to explore the site, which took me about one and a half hour.
Although the remains are much destroyed, it gave me an idea of the splendor of the villa during Adriano times. I saw statues and the remains of the baths, the theater, plus a well preserved fragment of the wall. The surface of Villa Adriana covers almost one square kilometer.
It was in this place where Cesar Adriano spent the last years of his life. He was born near Sevilla, in Spain, which is a pride for me.
Date posted: January 2014
john booth (New Zealand):
After visiting Villa d'Este I returned to Tivoli's Piazza Garibaldi and caught a #4 bus to Villa Adriana, 6 kms away. Although the villa is in ruins I was surprised to find remnants of buildings standing up to three storeys high. It was not hard to envisage the extent and grandeur of this villa and its surroundings.
Date posted: September 2011
Robin (USA):
Villa Adriana is the most amazing serene place you could ever imagine! You unfortunately have to take a train to the town, two different shuttles which are very inconsistant, but it is worth it! It took five hours just to run around the 40% of the site which was open. Definately take a guide with you so that you know what you are looking at. It is quite a maze to figure out where you are in some spots but that is what makes it so special. When you enter there is an excavation site on your right, go past it and turn right before the modern building and there will be a beautiful path to a building which overlooks Tivoli... so amazing! Bring a bottle of wine, and a sandwhich from the market in tivoli, your camera, and enjoy!!!
Date posted: November 2005

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Site info

Villa Adriana (Tivoli)
Country: Italy
Inscribed: 1999
Cultural Heritage
Criteria:  (1) (2) (3)
Category: Archaeological site, Ancient Rome

Site history:
1999 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription

Site links

Official website:
»Comune di Tivoli

In the news:
» Controversy over landfill near Hadrian's Villa (29-12-2011).
» Historic Hadrian's villa 'at risk of collapse' (07-07-2011).

Related links:
» Extensive private website with plans etc.
» Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli.

Getting there

This WHS has 1 location(s).


Early Under-floor Heating . Ideal City .
Baths . Cryptoporticus . Latrines . Libraries . Theatres . Tombs .
Human Activity
Grand Cascade . Grand Tour . Historical Graffiti .
Individual People
Emperor Hadrian . Gertrude Bell .
Religion and Belief
Nymphaeum .
Built in the 2nd century .
Famous Love Stories .
WHS Hotspots
Rome hotspot .
WHS on Other Lists
World Monuments Watch (past) .

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