Hadrians villa is a huge and amazing archaeological site. Located just outside of Rome below the town of Tivoli, the villa was a summer retreat for the Emperor Hadrian. It was built between 118AD and 134AD. The site is extensive and includes a theater, a stadium, libraries, thermal baths and more. The buildings were reproductions of the Hadrian’s favorite buildings he saw in Athens and Egypt.
You can stroll through the scenic grounds where you will find ruins scattered between lovely olive and cypress trees. If you are interesting in seeing how the whole area looked like at the time of Hadrian, you can view a full model in the pavilion close to the parking area. Many of the main buildings are marked and some have been reconstructed. A highlight on the grounds is the Naval or Maritime Theater which is a pool surrounded by columns. You can reach the Island by a bridge. When he was not taking care of the business of the Empire, the Emperor loved to paint and study architecture so it is believed this pond was his retreat to enjoy his leisure time.
Hadrian’s love for Athens and Egypt is evident throughout the complex. He particularly enjoyed Greek Philosophers. One of the gardens is modeled after the “Grove Academe”, the garden where Plato taught his students. He also reproduced a wonderful colonnade from Athens called the Stoa Poikile after the Stoic philosophers.
Hadrian’s villa is a wonderful day trip from Rome well worth a visit.