One of the most unforgettable side trips  from Rome is the visit to Hadrian's Villa, an archaeological site dating back to the year 118 A.D. This approximately 3-hour tour is a short ride from Rome and may be combined with an additional lunch in Tivoli, followed by a visit to the XVI  century Villa D'Este, famous for its luscious Renaissance waterworks and promenades - - themselves inspired in Hadrian's Villa. 

 

Built and perhaps even designed by the Emperor himself in three phases beginning in 118 A.D., Hadrian's Villa allows us to appreciate the engineering knowledge of this Roman leader and world-traveler whose very conception of governance seems to have been intimately connected to his understanding of the building art!

Our stroll begins in the Stoa Poikile and ends with the Canopus, the "signature" reflecting pool named after a character from Homer's ILIAD but fashioned architecturally to evoke the water canal near Alexandria, Egypt, where Hadrian's favorite, Antinoos, accidentally drowned during one of their voyages together.

A visit to the Maritime Theater, believed to have served as the emperor's private living quarters during parts of the year, then leads to the numerous heated bath complexes, libraries, and lavish tricliniums found in this formidale archeological site.

My walk through Hadrian's Villa always includes mention, citations, and if appropriate, brief discussion of The Memoirs of Hadrian, the award winning 1957 biography of the emperor by Belgian-born Marguerite Yourcenar.

Tour of Tivoli: Hadrians Villa

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Marguerite Yourcenar

In Hadrian's Villa, the Stoa Poikile, designed to recall the famous Stoa of epicurian and stoic philosophers of ancient Athens -- as pictured by PIRANESI in the 1700s, when he visited the Villa.

The Canopus as it is now

The Marine Theater