322-324: In the Footsteps of the Grand Tour

322 – Monday 7th March 2016:  Hangover Day!

Hangover Day !  One offers no comment, but….. Damnbuca ! – or Samnbusters!!!  As my delicate flower was not in full bloom, I piloted our cruise ship towards Tivoli after a bit of a ripoff in parking fees for our overnight in Damnscati – sorry, Frascati.  The identified parking area (for day and overnight) was jam packed! Cars parked on pavements and all over the shop…..  We sat and waited – tried a few difficult angles – and sat and waited…. K went to find a Bancomat – and on her way back, saw a good parking possibility.  She saw off all comers – and guarded 4 car park spaces (she acknowledged the well-wishers comments) – while I reversed the craft into our new space…  Lunch and then walkabout in Tivoli – there didn’t seem to be much to look at (next day, we realised we had missed the Centro Storico).  Quiet-ish evening – a minor boombox and some young folks cavorting nearby…….


323 -Tuesday 8th March 2016:  Tivoli, Frescos and Two Gardens

Our Tivoli area was not suitable for running – but hilling ! Shortish run – rain and quite cold.  We walked to Villa D’Este – sporadic precipitation – posh that, eh?. And for some reason free for K – ladies free.  Cardinal Ippolitto built the villa (Mass offerings must have been good then) and furnished it luxuriantly – lots of rooms with frescoes and friezes. The art and gardens dropped K’s jaw so many times – that she developed – wait for it – “dropjaw”!  A bit obvious that…  Not surprising that it’s the most photographed site in Tivoli – not K’s jaw – the villa!  


Her exposed!


Not often he is exposed too!  


Seriously stunning friezes on ceilings and walls.  Jaw droopingly good.


Part of the view.


Once in the gardens, there was water playing, jetting and bubbling everywhere.  Seriously stunning gardens too.  Jaw droopingly good!









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Through the Centro Storico – to the Villa Gregoriana – spectacular steep gardens and mega waterfalls – where Villa D’Este was cultured art – this one was rough hewn and no less beautiful.  Both of the sites were on the Grand Tour and we can see why.  if in Rome, definitely worth a trip out.  Rain torrential by now, but since we are members of FAI (Italian National Trust) it was free to us so we planned to scoot through … but it was a long way down and then back up again.  Not so much of a scoot as a slither and clamber.

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Down in the Valley of Hell … full of myth and mystery.  Ancient temples at the top.

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And some natural waterfalls.

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Can anyone else see the face in this tufa rock?


324 – Wednesday 9th March 2016:  Swimming around Villa Adriana (Hadrian)

We could say “Hail Adrian” – but it was heavyesque rain, not hail…  We had parked overnight just outside the Villa car park – and at dawn (well 0900 hours) we slotted our Chard into the days parking. The weather was distinctly Brizzle – not drizzle !  We put on so many layers – Eskimo people !  Inside layers, waterproof trousers, heavy socks and proper walking boots – oh, and a twinky red Ljubljana umbrella!  It matched my….somethingorother…  We squelched our way around the very impressive villa – no, this is no villa – it’s a medium sized town – a minor Erculano!  Hadrian disliked the official residence in Rome and built the villa here – he ruled the empire from here for some time – and kept in touch with Rome – via the postal service!  In early AD?  (Minor digression here – in DC – Dublin City – in the 1890’s, it was possible to post a letter in the morning – it was received by your friend in the afternoon – and you could get the reply the following morning!)  Almondsbury Post Office, take note…

Anyway, one of the first features we saw included an ornate (and swimming) pool – 98 metres long by 18 metres wide – that’s 300 feet by 50 feet! See last photo in the sequence below.  The rain seemed to ease at times – and then resumed but our weather protection stood up well.  The many school groups (students were free entry) were lively and vocal – a day out of classes – why not?  More houses, very clever use of water, “Hospitalia” – which I assumed was a hospital – but in fact was a hospitality suite for guests of the Emperor.  This is serious Roman architecture – from more than 2000 years ago – much still standing – will Canary Wharf last for 2000 years?  The site is about 150 hectares in all.   In spite of the rain (which did ease), a memorable visit indeed. 


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Fully sou’westered up.

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A lot of running water to create a nice ambience for Villa residents and guests.  There was a summer dining area at the end.

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These structure are from around 123AD … and a lot is still standing, even if the marble and statues have gone (mostly to various museums and to the Villa d’Este).

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Rain easing.

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Finally worked out how to change the exposure on the little camera as had not wanted to bring one of the decent ones given the weather.

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2 thoughts on “322-324: In the Footsteps of the Grand Tour

  1. Lovely both blog and photos! Getting closer to home now! I’m sure you’ll miss the travelling and I’ll have to go back to books then! Xxxx

    Sent from my iPad



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