Full-day Tivoli Day Trip from Rome with Skip-the-Line Tickets

Explore Ancient and Renaissance estates outside of Rome
From US$2,324 privately
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Tour Details
7 hours
Product Type
  • Villa d'Este
  • Hadrian's Villa
Photos & Highlights
  • Travel back in time to Hadrian's Villa, circa 2nd century AD, amongst other landmarks of this rich and famous countryside
  • Led by an art historian or archaeologist
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Tour Description
Tivoli has been Rome's retreat for the rich and famous ever since thermal waters were discovered in the hills east of the city in the first century BC. Set atop a mountain overlooking the Roman countryside, the picturesque town of Tivoli is a mix of both modern and medieval. Today, two of Tivoli's major sites—the ancient villa of the Emperor Hadrian and the Renaissance garden of Cardinal d'Este—provides the setting for one of Context's most evocative tours. This unique, full-day Tivoli tour takes us beyond the city center on a day trip from Rome to Tivoli to experience the history of the Apennine Mountains.

Tivoli Tour—Day Trip from Rome to Tivoli

We begin by taking an hour-long private car ride to Tivoli. As the car winds along the foothills of the Apennine Mountains, our guide, an art historian or archaeologist, will discuss the historical context of this area: the discovery of thermal springs and the construction of therapeutic baths in the first century B.C., as well as the exploitation of the travertine limestone veins that would eventually provide most of the travertine for the city. We will then arrive at Hadrian's Villa, the palace and retreat of the Emperor Hadrian, constructed in the second century AD at the height of ancient Rome's powers.

Please Note: This tour includes a car service that will pick you up at your accommodation. Please tell us your hotel or apartment address in the 'Additional Details' box when adding the tour to your shopping cart.

(Want to see more ancient Roman splendor? Try our Forum tour or Colosseum tour.)

The History of Hadrian

Hadrian's Villa is fundamental to understanding Roman antiquity, architecture, and the watershed reign of Hadrian. One could spend days here, but in the company of our guide we will dissect the site in about two hours, visiting some key parts in order to re-imagine what this 300-acre structure once looked like and—more importantly—how it affected the construction of villas for the next two thousand years.

Our understanding of Hadrian's architectural legacy will give even more meaning to its Renaissance echo: the Villa d'Este.

The Gardens of the Villa d'Este

Our next stop is the 16th century mansion of the exiled Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, where we will be taken by our private car service after exiting Hadrian's Villa. After we have lunch in the center of Tivoli, we will descend into the gardens of Villa d'Este. After much restoration, it serves as one of the best preserved garden complexes of the Renaissance. With its numerous and magnificent fountain features, the Villa d'Este is famous in all of Italy for its lavish presentation of that most prestigious resource: water.

As we make our way through the garden rooms, we will make connections between d'Este and Hadrian's Villa. Some of these will be conceptual—the use of water as an architectural material, for example. Others are quite physical—much of the building material in the garden, for example, was pilfered from the ancient villa. We will conclude our day by taking a stroll through the wonderfully intact medieval core of Tivoli, and return to Rome.

Please Note

There is a large amount of hilly terrain covered at both sites on this excursion. The entrance of Hadrian’s Villa from the ticket barrier is a steep walk and the site is overall extremely uneven with lots of steps. Villa d’Este is pretty much vertical and a half hour giro is very limited. We do not recomend this tour for people with mobility concerns.


Where does it start? Where does it end? The car service will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel.

How long is the car ride? 1 hour each way.

Is the travel time included in the 7 hour duration? Yes.

Are there entry tickets? Yes, we will arrange tickets for you for Villa D'este and Hadrian's villa.

What are skip-the-line tickets?
For this tour, your tickets are pre-purchased which allows you to skip the ticket office line upon arrival at Tivoli. You may still have to wait in a security line or in a line to have your pre-purchased ticket scanned.   

Is lunch included? There will be time for lunch but it is not included in the tour price 

Is this tour mobility friendly? Neither of the sites are suitable for people with mobility problems. Just to access the entrance of Hadrian’s Villa from the ticket barrier is a steep walk and the site is extremely uneven with lots of steps. Villa d’Este is pretty much vertical and a half-hour giro is very limited.

Is this tour for kids? This walk is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly expert. 

Where You'll Start
(4.88) 87 Reviews

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This was one of the best tours I've ever taken. A major reason was the docent, Livia Galante. She is an extraordinary guide and teacher: vastly knowledgeable, including first-hand archaeological experience, and also a lively and engaging host for visitors to Rome. I learned more, and really learned "in context," about both Hadrian's Villa and the Villa d'Este - and so about ancient Rome and its Renaissance admirers - than I had expected. I also had a great time. Great tour - superb guide! Only complaint: it went by too quickly!
Provided a coherent view across the centuries, and was charming and knowledgeable,as all Context guides have been. Skillfully navigated around crowds. Found unbelievable spot for lunch.
Kudos to Ms Barberinia and your intern, Aniek. Aniek was a pleasant and sunny spirit, a pleasure to spend time with. Ms Barberini was an excellent guide - well versed on her subject, who seamlessly integrated information while we walked through the Hadrian site and Villa D'Este. There was no sense of being at a lecture or listening to a script. Her presentation was geared to the interest and tastes of the groups - both of us artists. She was very patient with questions. It a little more difficult to define another of her good qualities, which I will say is warmth, without over- familiarity. She's a classy lady. She also kindly offered suggestions on some of her favorite small museums and restaurants. I'd go on another tour with her in a heartbeat.