Yesterday we took two metro rides and two bus rides to reach Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli. The regional bus system Contral is not the easiest to navigate. So we blindly jumped on a bus headed for Tivoli. You must be ninja quick to get a seat. Never get on the bus in the front or you will be stuck behind people validating. So we entered in the center and got our seats. Salome had to be bold and save my seat while I fought my way to the front of the bus and back to validate our tickets. We jumped on the bus that stopped every mile. Making this bus ride about an hour long. Once in Tivoli we had to buy a local bus ticket to Hadrian’s Villa. As we waited for the bus we had cappuccino and pastries. My favorite breakfast ever, now! Our bus driver didn’t seem to want to drive us to the ruins entrance but dropped us off about 2 kilometers away and had us walk. We discovered this when we had to take the same bus back later in the day for our return trip. It’s stop was directly in front of the entrance. The Contral bus we waited 30 minutes in the sun for to take us back to Rome was brand new and made no stops. We didn’t all get seats but it was bearable as the journey back was only 20 minutes on the express way.

The Villa was worth all of it! It was amazing. The mosaic floors in some of the buildings are still there for us to walk on. You can see the grandeur that once stood here. A 300 acre estate, that spared no expense in Hadrian’s day. You can see Hadrian’s love of Egypt and Greece in how he designed different areas. We purchased a then and now overlay flip book to make the ruins come to life for the kids and one audio guide that if you played on the highest volume we could all gather around to hear. Both made the entire experience extremely more enjoyable. Everyone’s favorite part was the Egyptian Canopus. A canal lined with statues that could simulate the flooding of the Nile. Even plundered and 1900 years later it is still awe inspiring. Most of the statues and items Hadrian collected are now in the Vatican museum and other museums around the world. If you have ever been to Hearst Castle, you feel like you now know who William Hearst wanted to emulate. There were a lot of similarities to me and it also gave me a small scale image of what this villa was like.

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