Among the different and important Italian archaeological sites included in the UNESCO list and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Villa Adriana in Tivoli is undoubtedly among the most spectacular.
Tivoli, a town 40 km from Rome, was chosen by Emperor Hadrian who built his magnificent suburban residence in the 2nd century AD. This extraordinary architectural complex that, after a long period of neglect, thefts and looting and then finally rediscovery, restoration and protection is today a place of historical and architectural testimony of great suggestion. The Villa Adriana in fact amazes for the refinement and grandeur of its architectural structures can still be perceived today.
The union of nature and archeology, especially in the spring period, make this a truly unique and unforgettable place of romantic attraction.
Of the 300 original hectares that had to house the rich residence of Emperor Hadrian, only a part, about one eighth, was brought to light. The Villa di Adriano is actually a real city where the buildings (imperial palace, the baths, the Basilica, the theater, the library, squares and nymphaeums and fountains …) are arranged on various levels in a skilful scenographic design. great effect.
For this reason the monumentality of this architectural complex was studied by great artists such as Michelangelo, Palladio, Bernini …
The Pecile, delimited by a wall nine meters high introduces to the visit of the complex and an artificial lake is the first scenic element that presents itself to our eyes as soon as we enter the archaeological area.
But immediately afterwards, and continuing along the paths of the archaeological area, the alternation of large architectural structures, columns, walls and centuries-old trees, pines, and cypresses and olive trees that make up an environment for this place, we immediately realize that we are within a unique and special archaeological area.
The Golden Square, the great baths, the imperial palace, the fishpond, the temple of Venus, the Greek theater in the easy path of visit follow one another and alternate with the great open spaces in this place of art and architecture declared by Unesco as one of the masterpieces of ancient architecture.
When you arrive in the artificial valley that welcomes the Canopus you can admire all the refinement of this architectural complex. Here too the water is the main element and around this large basin there are the elegant structures that welcome the statues like that of Mars and other important Greek sculptures. The reflections of these structures in the large basin enhance the beauty of this site.
The Villa of the island, another building where the element of water is the protagonist, is a construction of great particularity and refinement. An elegant circular construction separated from the rest of the area by a water channel. Also in this case the magic of the reflections of the structures in the water plays an important role.
This site was included in the UNESCO list in 1999 with the following motivation:
Villa Adriana (Tivoli)
The Villa Adriana (at Tivoli, near Rome) is an exceptional complex of classical buildings created in the 2nd century A.D. by the Roman emperor Hadrian. It combines the best elements of the architectural heritage of Egypt, Greece and Rome in the form of an ‘ideal city’.
Justification for Inscription
Criteria (i) and (iii): The Villa Adriana is a masterpiece that uniquely brings together the highest expressions of the material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world.
Criterion (ii): Study of the monuments that make up the Villa Adriana played a crucial role in the rediscovery of the elements of classical architecture by the architects of the Renaissance and the Baroque period. It also profoundly influenced many 19th and 20th century architects and designers.
(Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0 https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/907)
The archaeological area can be reached easily also by public transport (by train or bus from Rome to Tivoli and then local buses take you to the site which is about 5 km from the town of Tivoli)
Take at least three or four hours to visit it calmly. It deserves all your time.
Thanks for your time!
All photos are mine.