One of Joe Banana’s English speaking drivers will meet you at the gangway of your cruise ship in Civitavecchia port, holding a sign with your name on it. It is imperative that this tour starts at 7.30 am as the drive to Tivoli takes about 1 hour 30 minutes and we have two locations to see on this shore excursion, both of which deserve a good amount of time in order to appreciate.
Tivoli is a natural wonder with its sweeping Italian views, elaborately engineered fountains, and its two ancient villas.
The first stop on your day tour will be the Villa Adrian, declared a world heritage site from UNESCO in 1999. This location was picked by the emperor Adrian because he needed a quiet area to relax from his years spent out of Rome. You will be totally taken by the luxury that an emperor could show and you will see and understand how it feels to be an emperor as you visit the Villa Adrian. It is spread on a surface of 120 hectares (ha) and it is decorated with beautiful fountains, swimming pools, theaters and many other attractions.
Villa Adrian lived until late antiquity, when it was sacked by the Barbarians of Totila, and during the Middle Ages became a quarry of building materials for the city of Tivoli and its bishop. Her identity was lost, being renamed Tivoli Vecchio (Old Tivoli). At the end of the XV century, Biondo Flavio identified the site again as the Villa of the Emperor Adrian described by the Historia Augusta; at the same time, Pope Alexander VI Borgia promoted the first excavations in the Odeon theater, discovering several statues of seated Musae, now located in the Prado Museum of Madrid, Spain. Later on, Pope Pius II Piccolomini visited Villa Adrian and described it in his Commentarii, making the site very famous since then.
Starting from the XVII Century, Villa Adrian was continuously excavated and explored, in search of treasures, mainly sculptures and mosaics, which enriched the private collections of Cardinals and Popes and, subsequently, of Roman and European noblemen, especially the English.
Tour Tivoli's historical centre, where you will also have time for lunch on your own. Your driver will be happy to suggest a restaurant based on you gastronomic preferences.
The second half of this shore excursion will be spent visiting Villa d’Este, a Renaissance villa created by a direct descendant of Lucrezia Borgia, it is renowned for its spectacular gardens and elaborate fountains. Ippolito II D'Este, this was the owner's name, also wanted a villa outside of Rome and decided to build a place to impress and astonish all of his guests, as he will do with you as well, after 442 years.
Many artists, such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini, assisted with the construction of this villa and its stunning fountains. They also changed the path of a river to bring a huge quantity of water for the jets which created wonderful water games. You will have time to wander through the gardens, among the extravaganza of trees and fountains, and admire breathtaking views over the plain towards the Eternal City.
You will then meet back up with your private driver and return to your ship in Civitavecchia port.
If we start our tour at 7.30 am, we will return to the ship by 5.00 pm.