Saturday, June 2, 2012

Study Abroad Re-Cap: The Tivoli Villas

On my very last day in Rome, I decided to go on the optional field trip to some beautiful villas in an area near Rome called Tivoli.  I later found out that I would not have a chance to see the pope if I hadn't gone to the villas, but I do not regret my decision one bit!

It ended up being just me and my friend Katherine out of our group of friends who went on the trip, so of course, we were bus buddies!  The first villa we went to was once owned by the Roman emperor Hadrian.  Now the villa is merely ruins of the tall structures that once stood on that land.  My favorite parts of that villa were seeing the old Roman baths and also the reflection pools around the villa.  This place was cool, but I was still too asleep (and too sick) to really appreciate the ruins.  Plus, I had already seen a ton of other cool Roman ruins during the days leading up to my villa visit.  The first villa paled in comparison to the second one.
The sweet dog who met us at the entrance of Hadrian's villa.

The layout of the villa as seen in Hadrian's time.  
A reflection pool.

Larger than life ruins.

Another reflection pool, but with statues.

What looks to be an old corridor or bath.

The second villa, Villa D'Este, was almost directly in the center of the Italian town of Tivoli.  The town was high up on a hill, so I knew this villa would have great views of the surrounding countryside.  This villa did not disappoint as it not only had a spectacular view, but it also had hundreds of water fountains and spouts.  That meant tons of water pictures.  I was absolutely in heaven.
Typical old Italian man in Tivoli.

The entrance to Villa D'Este.

The view from Villa D'Este. 

The levels of the villa.

Villa D'Este was simultaneously a photographer's dream come true and worst nightmare.  It was heaven because the variety of pictures I could take there was awesome - not to mention running water and reflection photography! I was playing with shutter speeds like it was my job.  However, because there was such a variety of photos to be taken, it was difficult to actually leave the place.  It kept sucking me back in with it's beautiful views and breathtaking water fountains, and I almost did not have time to eat lunch before we got on the bus to head back to Florence.
Fountains, fountains, and more fountains! 

An especially beautiful fountain! 

Looking down.

Reflections :) 

Which one is real? 

Cool water spout.

Villa D'Este was commissioned by a Cardinal who wanted to be the Pope, but was appointed governor of Tivoli instead.  The way my tour guide explained it, it almost seemed as if Villa D'Este was given to this Cardinal as a sort of consolation prize.  The grounds were gorgeous, and there were levels upon levels of gardens, fountains, and green grass, not to mention the spectacular view of the surrounding countryside.  I couldn't help but think I wouldn't mind having that as a consolation prize.
The water organ we saw in Villa D'Este. The organ plays because of water pressure.

The day itself was a ton of fun.  Katherine and I had a blast running through the gardens, snapping pictures and enjoying the scenery.  When we finally left, we explored the town center a bit.  There were a ton of stands and food carts out because Tivoli was getting ready to celebrate Carnivale, so we took advantage of the kebab stand (my very first kebab!) and the candy stand.  It was the perfect end to a hectic weekend in Rome.

If you have any questions about my study abroad experience or my life at St. Michael's College, please do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).  I will do my best to answer whatever question you may have!


  1. Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. I tried to add your RSS to my feed reader and it a few. take a look at it,

    hopefully I can add you and follow...

    Study Abroad

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Heya¡­my very first comment on your site. ,I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would completely pop in and drop a friendly note. . It is great stuff indeed. I also wanted to there a way to subscribe to your site via email?

    Beautiful villas

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.