Adventures in Wonderland (aka Tivoli): the Villa Gregoriana

numero uno
numero due

Tivoli is not all that far from Rome. Whether you’re in a car, bus, or train, it doesn’t take you more than an hour to get there. And Tivoli is full of wonders worth adventuring in, even though, despite it’s proximity it’s a giant pain in a giant neck to get there if you’re relying on public transportation. Which is a giant shame (see what I did there?) because the three separate villas that can be found there are absolutely worth going to. On a recent day with a group of friends, I made the trek up to two of the three villas: the Villa Gregoriana and the Villa Adriana. The third, the Villa d’Este, I have visited in the past, and it might just be the greatest place on earth. Anyways, I digress. Today I’m going to tell you about the Villa Gregoriana, because despite the aristocratic rulers and emperors involved in the other two, the Villa Gregoriana definitely wins by a landslide when it comes to the number of waterfalls involved, there were the two above, and then this monster too:

numero tre! (the top half)
numero tre (the bottom half)!

The last waterfall, which is just called la Grande Cascata (big waterfall) was SO big. It was so tall, that as you can see, my panorama function on my camera was not enough to contain it all! I am really not so much into nature; camping and hiking and walking on any surface that is more complicated than a sidewalk is really not for me, but the Villa Gregoriana was stunning. The bulk of the park is situated in a gorge/valley, and you’re constantly hiking up and down and up and down, into grottoes, up to temple ruins:

temple!

and around to views like this:

not ugly

It’s not a Villa in the sense that the other two villas in Tivoli are: it’s not from the Classical or Renaissance/Baroque periods, with sculptures and frescoes and the like, but rather it’s a park that was built by the Pope in the nineteenth century to help control flooding in the area. And it was only opened in the last ten years to the public. It’s not in the guidebooks, but of all three of the villas in Tivoli it’s the easiest to get to (it’s only a short walk from the train station). And it’s pretty, pretty, pretty, the perfect day trip from the city.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Adventures in Tivoli part two: Villa Adriana.

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