Monday, 28 March 2016

Day Trip to Hadrian's Villa - Day 6

For our last full day in Roma, we decided to head out to Hadrian's Villa. After coffee, Easter Eggs and breakfast we headed off to get to Hadrian's Villa. To do this we had to :
  • Go to Spagna Station on the "A" line to get a train to Termini, 
  • Then switch trains on the "B" line to get a train to Ponte Mammolo Station
  • Then head downstairs to buy a bus ticket to Tivoli (which strangely you buy from the cafe bar, and not the bus ticket window, which are directly opposite each other)
  • Once in Tivoli we had to buy a ticket for the "4" shuttle bus that goes to Hadrian's Villa (You buy this ticket from a tobacconist on the corner just down from where the bus lets you off)
  • Then wait about an hour for the "4" bus to take us on the 10 minute ride to the Villa.
  • Exchange our voucher for tickets and audio guides (you will need to leave your passport or drivers license for security on the guides)
To be honest, just working out how to get there, then get back was a monumental exercise in frustration. Nothing here is labeled/signed well and instructions are vague at best. The other tip is that you need to buy the return bus ticket back to Rome, before you get to the Villa, as you can avoid a trip back up to Tivoli by getting a bus from the town of "Villa Adriana" back to Ponte Mammolo, but this is a 2km walk from the archeological site.

If you want to go there, take this tip : Go on an organised bus tour, you will save at least 2 hours travel time which will give you more time to look around. Also, take food with you, there is nothing in the actual archeological site (except tap water) and the cafe outside is right down the bottom of the hill. It might be more expensive, but time is money as they say.

Not sure why its this difficult, anywhere else I can think of that would have a historical site this old would promote it and mine it for all its worth. I guess there is so much here they are just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of history.

When we were on the "4" bus to the site, there were another Aussie couple there as well, and they were from Port Macquarie, not far from Paul and Sue at South West Rocks. That makes them practically neighbours when you are this far from home.

Even though the place was so difficult to get to, its totally worth it. Its peaceful, beautiful, easy to walk around in, lots of shade and unlike Pompeii, easy to see everything in a few hours. You could call it "Pompeii lite". Where Pompeii was a town that in its day anyone could visit, this was really a palace and would be off limits for normal people of the time. The buildings are just huge, I'm still amazed at what the ancients achieved then was lost for centuries after 400BC.

The location for the villa was chosen apparently due to it being close to one of the main aqueducts supplying Roma, as the site required a huge volume of water, and its obvious this was true when you look over the site and see the large number of baths, pools and fountains.

I won't say much more about the place, I'll let the pictures below speak for themselves. If you are in Rome, its worth a trip out to see this, and its way less crowded than Pompeii. One other advantage over Pompeii is that the actual site is well mapped and signed, we didn't feel lost at any point in time. It was a glorious day, about 20c, sunny, cool breeze and the birds where chirping away there. It was just serene. I could imagine it was just as nice back in day when Hadrian wandered through the gardens pondering his next step for the empire.

We only had a light lunch with us, so when we got home we had some cheese, prosciutto, crackers and wine. On the way back from the station, we bought a couple of water colour prints from one of the street artists.

Dinner tonight will be at the local restaurant across the road

Waiting for the train in the morning

View going down from Tivoli to Hadrian's Villa

Water colours for sale at Spagna Station

Afternoon tea