Last Friday, Summer Session I students were lucky to enjoy a gorgeous sunny day in Tivoli - a town approximately 19 miles north east of Rome. Tivoli is situated at the foot of the Simbruini Hills - a wonderful landscape of extensive valleys and plains forming a boundary between the Lazio and Abruzzo regions.
Our first stop was Villa Gregoriana, a peaceful green park, characterized by forests, caves, hiking trails and a gorgeous waterfall. The whole area of the villa is under the protection and management of the Fondo Ambiente Italiano or FAI (the Italian Environmental Fund) and is considered unique in the world; an extraordinary mix of splendid sceneries, precious marbles and archaeological remains of this ancient villa.
After all the hiking up and down some steep trails, immersed in the peaceful sounds of the waterfall and birds chirping in the trees, students enjoyed a well-earned break for lunch and a stroll in Tivoli center.
Our second stop was Villa d’Este – the symbol of Italian Renaissance architecture, an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be the most beautiful Italian style garden of Europe. I am certain Summer I students completely agree with this now! Most of you may remember the Lizzie McGuire movie – and the famous scene where Lizzie and Paolo rehearse for the International Video Music Awards and frolic in the gardens and around the fountains?! These scenes were all filmed here at Villa d’Este! This extraordinary complex is famous all over the world for its splendid fountains characterized by wonderful and suggestive water displays. The whole complex extends for 4 hectares and includes a residential palace (the Palazzo d'Este), a garden adorned with tree- and hedge-lined avenues and around a hundred fountains which are real works of art. We ended the day with the Fontana dell’Organo (The Fountain of the Organ), listening to the music played by the ingenious mechanism of the water organ, which was installed in 1571! Amazing hydraulic engineering from over 400 years ago!
We had a wonderful day trip to Tivoli! Looking forward to our next day trip to bella Firenze next week! Stay tuned!