My friends all know that I love Rome; it is truly a place to celebrate la Dolce Vita! When I’m in the region, however, I always sneak away from the bustle of Rome for a few relaxing days in romantic Tivoli. Located just 30 km (19 miles) east and a bit north of Rome in the Sabine Hills, Tivoli is a masterpiece built for relaxation.
Tivoli was originally called ‘Tibur’ and the citizens of the city are still called ‘Tiburtini’ instead of ‘Tivolesi’. During the times of Ancient Rome, it was a country getaway for the rich and famous who wanted to escape the pestilential stench of the Roman capital. Emperors, Senators and later Princes of the Church all kept villas at Tivoli. Queen Zenobia of Palmyra was imprisoned in a villa in the region after her capture by Emperor Aurelian. She lived in sumptuous luxury like a songbird in a gilded cage. Perhaps its most famous resident was Emperor Hadrian who sited his pleasure palace immediately below the acropolis of the town where it takes up more than 120 hectares of parkland (300 acres).
Tivoli falls are a natural wonder!
Tivoli is a truly romantic location due to its relaxing commune with small squares, quaint restaurants and the occasional ancient temple or monument. It is perfect for exploring with your partner!
Villa Adriano now a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Here’s a pro-tip: The views from Villa d’Este over Villa Adriano is perfect for understanding the scale of the emperor’s palace. The pleasure palace of Hadrian stretches over an immense area five hundred meters below the Villa d’Este. So once, a prince of the church overlooked the works of an emperor!
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Visiting Tivoli is easy if you are in Rome. A car service can take you from central Rome in one hour or just forty-five minutes from Fiumicino Airport on the ring road that surrounds downtown. There is also a train from central Rome if you prefer. I’d advise against taking a rental car because the streets are narrow, and parking can be challenging. However, if you choose to drive, there is a convenient (but pricey) parking lot conveniently located in the middle of town from which you can walk anywhere in the commune.
Staying in Tivoli overnight is a must to watch the sunset over Rome and the distant Tyrrhenian Sea which can be seen from many vantage points around Tivoli. My favourite place to stay in is the beautiful Hotel Torre Sant’Angelo, a medieval castle that has stunning views of Tivoli and Rome from its vantage point above the town. The Park Hotel Imperatore Adriano is another romantic property with excellent service. There are also ample self-catering options from the many comfortable apartments for rent through house-sharing sites.
Home to Rome’s most powerful priestesses!
My favourite restaurant is Sibilla which is sited in a beautiful location on the acropolis of the ancient city right over the waterfalls. It has two ancient temples right on its grounds!
The temple of the Tiburtine Sybil and the Temple of Vesta are romantic places for the perfect selfie of you with your lover!
The food in Sibilla has attracted the famous for centuries and their names adorn the walls of the restaurant. The food is fresh, exquisite and grilled to perfection over an open wood fire.
The wine cellar is stocked with excellent selections and the local rose Prosecco is one of my favourite treats. Despite excellent service and scrumptious food, Sibilla is a great value that won’t break your budget. Make sure to accept the hospitality of the restaurant by having that final Limoncello or Grappa – you’ll find them to be excellent!
So, take my advice and escape from the rush of Rome for a few days when you are next there to enjoy the romantic relaxation of beautifully Tivoli!