- Fizzy Thoughts: Italy Trip: Day Nine

Italy Trip: Day Nine

Thursday, October 04, 2007


The plan for today was another day trip outside of Rome, this time to the hills and Tivoli to see Villa d’Este and Villa Adriana. We made it to the first, but never the second. But the first was plenty.

It is a bit of a chore to get to Tivoli. We walked to the metro at the Colosseum. After awhile on the metro we got off at Ponte Mammolo and followed the Cotral bus signs to the buses. We finally figured out that tickets were purchased at the little pizzeria. Just as we got our tickets the bus pulled up and off we went. It was a local bus and we stopped at every bus stop, so it took us about an hour to get to Tivoli. The bus was full of both tourists and locals returning home with their shopping. At one point one woman even yelled “Scusi! Scusi!” at one of the boys after he stepped on her foot. We had no clue where to get off the bus and actually stayed on one stop to long. Luckily, when we got off the bus we were able to follow the signs for Villa d’Este. To a point. The signs ended and we couldn’t figure out where it was. Fortunately, the info booth was very helpful and pointed us in the right direction. It was actually behind us, tucked behind a building. The Villa d’Este is quite big, so for it to be able to hide is quite a feat.
Villa d'Este was built by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, the son of Lucrezia Borgia. He was a cardinal, and also appointed governor of Tivoli, where he started building his villa on the site of an old convent. The rooms are all painted with historical scenes, none very religious. He also designed his garden full of fountains, all powered by hydraulics. He eventually pissed off the wrong people and got himself exiled to Tivoli. Lucky for him, he had a nice villa to hang out in.

The organ fountain plays an organ (via water pipes), the owl fountain twitters, there are grottoes, fishponds, the fountain of the dragons, and many more. One fountain even had a multi-breasted goddess spouting water. Ippolito seemed more into mythology and pagan gods than the church. But the whole place is gorgeous. We spent three hours there, leaving no time for poor Hadrian.

After checking back at the info booth for directions, we managed to get back on the right bus to Rome. As soon as we came out of the metro station at the Colosseum it started to rain. By the time we got back to the apartment we were soaked.

After that, we decided to go to our “local” pizza place for dinner and finish off our treats from Il Fornaio for dessert. We also restructured the Vatican – it’s moving to San Miguel and the nuns and monks get free entrance (can you believe they have to pay here?!?). This solves Lance’s issue of “if only the Vatican would sell one painting they could afford to restore Mission San Miguel.”

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The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

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~Mark Twain

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