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Best excursions to Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa and Villa de l'Este from Rome

If you have some free time during your stay in Rome, take the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas of the city such as Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este. The Lazio region has many gems to discover.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

8 min read

Best excursions to Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa and Villa de l'Este from Rome

Gardens, Villa d'Este, Tivoli | ©William Warby

Located just 30 kilometers from the Italian capital, the city of Tivoli is one of the best excursions to do in Rome.

In addition to visiting its beautiful historic center, nearby are located Villa Adriana and Villa del Este, two small estates that were once chosen as a place of retreat by powerful figures of their time and currently house a large Roman archaeological complex (the first) and a beautiful Italian Renaissance garden with fountains (the second) that has earned them the recognition of World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Although you can do this visit on your own, I recommend joining an organized tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome because they are very entertaining, you will be accompanied by a local guide who knows a lot about this visit and you will not have to worry about the organization of the trip. They are all advantages! Discover all the possibilities at your fingertips below.

1. Take a full day tour to Tivoli, Villa Hadrian's Villa and Villa de l'Este from Rome

Visiting Hadrian's Villa| ©Angel de los Rios
Visiting Hadrian's Villa| ©Angel de los Rios

The full day tours to Tivoli, Villa Adrianoand Villa de l'Este from Rome
and Villa de l'Este from Rome are somewhat long activities that usually require at least one day of your vacation in the Italian capital**(** about7 to 8 hours ).

Therefore, it is a fantastic option for those travelers who have been to the Eternal City before and want to broaden their horizons by visiting other parts of the country or for those who are looking for what to do in Rome for 5 days because they plan to spend a lot of time in the city.

What are these tours like?

Generally, these tours are by bus with a transfer to and from Rome at the original starting point. Depending on whether it is a private tour or not, the traveler will be picked up at his/her hotel or will have to meet the rest of the group at a central point in the city to depart to the destination.

In addition, these tours usually include tickets to visit the villas, lunch at a local restaurant or the services of a local guide, whose stories and anecdotes will help you get the most out of this fun excursion.

What will you see during the activity?

This organized tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome will allow you to explore in detail the center of Tivoli, discover what Villa Adriano (an ancient tourist town over 2,000 years ago) and Villa de l'Este (a former Benedictine convent that Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este converted into a Renaissance palace and decorated with beautiful gardens, fountains and waterfalls) were like.

Book a full day tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este

2. Or a half day tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome if you are short of time

View of Villa d'Este| ©Joe Shlabotnik
View of Villa d'Este| ©Joe Shlabotnik

There are also half-day organized tours to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome for those travelers who have a busy schedule during their stay in Rome but do not want to forgo the opportunity to take an excursion outside the city to see other sights.

This type of express tour usually takes only about 4-5 hours to complete, making it ideal for those who are short on time or for families traveling to Rome with children who wish to take an excursion outside of Rome that does not take too much time.

What are these tours like?

Normally, half-day tours are also done by bus with a transfer to and from Rome to the original starting point, usually.

Some of these express tours to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome offer passenger pick-up from selected hotels in the city, which is a very useful option as you will not have to get up so early to travel by your own means to the meeting point. Other tours, however, require the group to meet at a common meeting point somewhere in the center of Rome before departure.

Otherwise, these half-day tours to Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa and Villa de l'Este from Rome have everything you need to enjoy a little adventure doing something different during your stay in the Italian capital. Either as part of a small group (up to 7 travelers maximum) or a large group (around 30 travelers maximum).

They usually leave early in the morning to make the most of the day and the excursion in the Lazio region. On your return you will have the whole afternoon ahead of you to have an aperitif in Rome or enjoy the best views of the city at sunset.

These express tours are an option that I recommend you value given their good value for money. They usually include tickets to visit the villas, hotel pick-up and drop-off, round-trip transportation and the services of a local guide who will entertain you with his stories and anecdotes.

What will you see during the activity?

This half-day express tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome will allow you to condense in a very short time the visit to two World Heritage Sites such as Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este on the hill of Tivoli, a site that throughout history has been a place of retreat for the upper classes of the country.

Not only will you be able to contemplate the great archaeological site of Villa Adriano with thousands of years of history, but also visit the Renaissance palace of Villa de l'Este and stroll through its enchanting gardens with fountains, ancient trees and waterfalls.

Book a half day tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este

3. Opt for a self-guided tour of Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome to go at your own pace

Little Tivoli| ©Retaggio
Little Tivoli| ©Retaggio

If, when traveling, you enjoy sightseeing the most by going at your own pace and exploring by yourself the different sites that are part of the route, there is no doubt that a self-guided visit to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome is the best way to explore this region of Lazio.

What are these tours like?

For independent travelers it is the best option because it combines the advantages of an organized tour with those of a self-guided visit.

That is, by taking a self-guided tour you will be able to tailor the excursion to your needs. You won't have to worry about planning the logistics, as this type of activity includes transportation to and from Rome, or sharing it with other travelers who are not in your group.

What will you see during the activity?

You will be able to comfortably choose the departure time that suits you best and once at your destination you will have free time to spend as you wish seeing the ruins of Hadrian's Villa and the picturesque Villa d'Este at your own pace.

As this is a self-guided tour, this activity does not include the services of a guide, so to have some idea of what you will see during the excursion, I recommend reading a little about the city of Tivoli, Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este beforehand. With some knowledge you will get more out of the experience!

I want to do a self-guided tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome.

4. Ride a Vespa for a tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome

Touring on a Vespa| ©Samy Mitha
Touring on a Vespa| ©Samy Mitha

The Vespa is one of the most famous symbols of Italian culture because of its numerous appearances in movies and on Italian postcards. A scooter elevated to an icon by films such as "Roman Holiday" and to which no tourist is indifferent.

Who wouldn't want to emulate Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck to immerse themselves for a day in the charm of the surroundings of Rome, a dream that you can make come true by taking a customized tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este on a Vespa!

What are these tours like?

These Vespa tours are designed for you to be the passenger on the scooter, so that the driver will take you to each of the enclaves of the route comfortably.

However, if you wish to drive the Vespa yourself, it is also possible to do so. All you have to do is pay a one-day rental fee, show your international driver's license and follow your guide. Helmet, rain poncho and basic insurance are usually included in the tour.

What will you see during the activity?

This Vespa tour is an exciting adventure through the province of Rome where you will see the beautiful scenery of the hills and countryside surrounding the capital on your way to Tivoli.

Once at your destination, you will have time to visit spectacular sites such as the archaeological complex of Villa Adriano, the Renaissance palace and gardens of Villa d'Este or even the Villa Gregoriana, a beautiful nineteenth-century park full of greenery, Roman ruins and waterfalls that was created to contain the floods of the Aniene River.

During the activity there will also be time to have lunch and enjoy the good Italian cuisine while you reminisce about the day's excursion, one of those experiences you will not forget from your trip to Rome!

Book a Vespa tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este

5. For a personalized experience, choose a private tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome

Exploring Villa Adriano| ©Sebastià Giralt
Exploring Villa Adriano| ©Sebastià Giralt

If you have had enough of the hustle and bustle and crowds of the streets of Rome and you feel like doing something different like an out-of-town excursion that is quiet and not crowded, then I recommend taking a private tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome.

What are these tours like?

Normally, these types of private tours are express tours. That is, they are not dedicated to a full day but can be done perfectly in half a day (5 to 6 hours), which is great if you do not have much free time in Rome but do not want to miss the opportunity to broaden your horizons and experiences by taking a trip to the outskirts of the city.

These tours are private and only your group participates, so you will not have to share the vehicle with other travelers and you can tailor the excursion to your tastes and interests.

Being, therefore, a personalized experience, the price tends to be somewhat higher compared to other tours to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este from Rome but it is worth it if during the activity you are looking for that extra exclusivity and comfort, as most of these tours usually include the transfer to and from the hotel and a local guide who will accompany only you during the excursion.

What will you see during the activity?

After a scenic drive from Rome to the Lazio region you will reach the town of Tivoli, home to the archaeological complex of Hadrian's Villa (the historic summer retreat of Emperor Hadrian) and the Villa d'Este (the Renaissance palace and gardens of Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este).

Some of these private tours include a lunch break but if you feel like going back to Rome to have lunch there and then continue your sightseeing tour of the city, I suggest you take a look at the posts 10 places to eat in Rome.

I want to take a private tour to Tivoli, Villa Adriano and Villa de l'Este.