Splendour of Tivoli: Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este
9.00 am to 5.00 pm - Tuesday to Sunday
Only 20 miles from the city of Rome, stands the ancient Tibur, in a strategic position on top of a hill.
We will visit the immense estate created by Emperor Hadrian (117-138 A.D.), nearly 300 acres of extraordinary architecture, gardens, the result of the taste of a cultured man, who travelled over the world, a great collector, philosopher, artist and musician.
After a lovely lunch in a restaurant overlooking the waterfalls of the Villa Gregoriana, under the pergola in a beautiful garden by the Temple of the Ancient Acropolis, we will continue our day in the Villa d’Este.
Built in 1550 when cardinal Ippolito d’Este was appointed governor of Tivoli, the Villa d’Este fame had been chanted in music, poetry and literature. A large garden constructed on terraces sloping down the hill, enriched with 500 fountains, where the music of the water recreated the magic of the time, Villa d’Este is the most important example of Italian garden in Europe.
Sanctuaries and Private Villas in Southern Latium
9.00-17.00 Tuesday to Friday
Excursion to Palestrina - it's a lovely village situated at an hour's drive from Rome. From here one can admire the Roman ruins of the spectacular Temple built in honour of the Goddess of Fortune.
The visit of the ruins and the Temple take most of the morning. After a nice lunch break at one of the typical local restaurants the visit continues with the arrival at the gardens of the Villa Aldobrandi in Frascati - the Villa is considered by writers as one of the most impressive buildings on the outskirts of Rome. While walking the gardens one comes across a great "Ninfeo" fountain, surrounded by sculptures and mosaics which gives the ensemble the name of "The Water Theatre".
Palestrina - The Temple of Fortune and the Archeological Museum
The Temple of Fortune in Palestrina stands on the panoramic hill of the old village. The Temple was an ancient Sanctuary of the II Century B.C., with monumental terraces that slope down hill. Near this Temple, the noble family Colonna had their Palace built in the XVth Century which was later transformed by Carlo Barberini (brother to Pope Urban VIII) who acquired the Palace in 1630.
Today the Palace, where its XIIth Century frescoes are still visible and in good conditions, hosts the Archeological Museum with its important collection of statues, terracotta vases, reliefs of Roman and Greek tradition including the Capitoline Triade (group of Minerca, Juno and Jupiter). It is a unique piece which documents the history of Rome. The collection also includes the "Mosaic of the Nile" which was found in Palestrina in 1614 and which dates back to the II Century B.C.
Frascati - Visit of the Gardens and the Water Theatre of Villa Aldobrandi
Villa Aldobrandi is an extraordinary example of a countryside estate pertaining to a Roman noble family. It was built at the end of the XVIth Century for Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandi, nephew of Pope Clemente VIII. Today the villa is still property of the same family.
The villa stands on top of the hill of the ancient village of Frascati, once known as the Roman "Tuscolo". The garden of the Villa is particularly beautiful and holds a surprise for its visitors: behind the Renaissance construction of the villa stands a monumental fountain, with statues, mosaics and decorations which have a particular meaning and iconography related to the history of the family.
Nobles and Popes in the countryside: Ariccia and Castegandolfo
9.00-17.00 Tuesday to Sunday
An excursion to the lovely area of the "Castelli Romani" in Southern Latium is a must when visiting Rome. Here one can admire the marvellous Baroque Chigi Palace of Ariccia. The building is still intact and was constructed by the genius of Roman time, Gianlorenzo Bernini.
Another place to visit is the village of Castelgandolfo, the Pope's summer residence. After the visits one can stop by the typical Trattoria dei Castelli Romani and taste the delicious Frascati wines.
The "Borgo" of Ariccia: Palazzo Chigi
Palazzo Chigi was once the summer residence of Alexander VII. Its constructor was Gianlorenzo Bernini who took inspiration from the monumental Roman palaces, French castles and Renaissance villas. The palace is surrounded by a great garden and its façade is decorated with frescoes. Inside one can admire a collection of original furniture and contemplate some very captivating paintings. The "winter" and "summer" apartments within the palace are composed as follows: dining rooms, living rooms, studios, libraries, bedrooms, an ancient "pharmacy" cabinet, ballrooms, a chapel. All rooms still maintain their original furniture and tapestries. The palace is known around the world for being the setting of the famous movie "Il Gattopardo".
The Pope’s residence: Village of Castelgandolfo
This is the famous summer residence of the Pope. Its location has a breath-taking view above the lake Albano. In the centre of Castelgandolfo stands the Papal Palace and the Church of San Tommaso di Villanova also built by Gianlorenzo Bernini. The main altarpiece of the Church has a beautiful frame decorated with angels. From here one can admire a beautiful painting of Pietro da Cortona known as the most exuberant, baroque and decorative painter of the Baroque period in Rome.
In the garden with the Princess: Villas and Castles in Latium
9.00-17.00 Tuesday to Sunday (upon request)
This visit gives the possibility to have a glance at the life in the countryside within the noble houses from the XVI Century to the present days. The marvellous Farnese Palace in Caprarola, The Villa Lante in Bagnaia and the Private Garden of Vignanello received by Princess Ruspoli.
This is an imposing building of the XVIth Century. The palace is composed of a castle, a villa and the palace, designed by Jacopo Barozzi, known as "Il Vignola" and they depict the best architecture of Late Renaissance in Latium. The Farnese family used the villa as its country estate where they would organise sumptuous banquets, receptions and where they would spend their weekends and summers.
The villa portrays beautiful frescoes decorations of the late Mannerism style of the mid XVI Century. These frescoes were made by Federico and Taddeo Zuccari. The splendid garden of the Farnese Palace is a terraced garden. It is full of fountains, grottos and alleys with beautiful trees, rocks, statues, mosaics and inlaid marbles.
Villa Lante della Rovere in Bagnaia
A typical medieval villa with a unique villa founded in the XIth Century by Cardinal Gambara. The garden is one of the best preserved examples of Italian Gardens with fountains, stuccos, a parterre with geometric designs, statues and a beautiful natural background. On the side of the parterre two little "Casinas" (pavilions) are decorated with XVIth Century frescoes.
Castle of Vignanello
The Castle of Vignanello is owned by Princess Claudia Ruspoli. Part of the papal estates, the castle was built in the 9th century, by Benedictine. The first feudal owner was Beatrice Farnese in 1531, and after the Marescotti family. The Castle is still in the reconstruction undertaken with Ottavia Orsini in 1610. The garden has a unique parterre, intact in the layout of its geometrical patterns in laurel, box sempervirens ann prunus.
A day trip to Umbria: Assisi, Spello, Montefalco, Bevagna
From 8.30 a.m. to 7.00 pm
The green heart of Italy, covered with vineyards and olive trees, among the most beautiful landscapes of Italy. Rich in waters, being crossed by many rivers, and large lake territory, the region untouched in beauty and splendour houses the shrine of Italian Franciscan culture, the Basilica of saint Francis in Assisi with the superb cyclo of frescoes of Giotto, the most important Italian painter of the XIII Century.
Our itinerary is in the unknown part of the region in small villages such as Montefalco and Bevagna, where the tradition of culture and food is still the same of the medieval time. We will have a wine tasting to discover the great Sagrantino wine, and we will spend the day in Spello to appreciate the art of the Renaissance painter Pinturicchio and the frescoes of Benozzo Gozzoli in Montefalco.
Linen shopping, olive oil tasting, great food. An unforgettable day out of the city of Rome.