Hadrian’s Villa & Villa D’Este

Long day in Tivoli today, as we took a long tour of Hadrian’s Villa then quickly visited Villa D’Este after lunch.  We started our tour of Hadrian’s Villa with a lecture while looking at the plastic model in the entrance building.  We proceeded somewhat chronologically through the Poikile (a long, rectangular portico around water, all elevated on a platform); the Heliocaminus Baths, the Hall of the Philosophers (with seven niches for seven statues); the Maritime Theater (an island with a moat around it, perhaps Hadrian’s “fortress of solitude”); the remains of a Republican villa incorporated into the later Villa; the Hospitalia (barracks for the Praetorian Guard); the so-called Vale of Tempe (possibly in imitation of the one in Thessaly which is the home of the Muses); the palace complex; the Hall of Doric Pilasters (which has—presumably intentionally—incorrect Greek architecture); the Piazza D’Oro; a cryptoporticus in which Piranese made a graffito in the 1700s; the Large Baths; and, finally, after a tour of the museum and its exhibit on Antinuous, the famous Canopus and Serapeum.  Obviously, it’s a huge complex!

We then drove into Tivoli to look at a couple of Republican temples, including the Albunea (the Sibyl of Tivoli), behind which there was a great view of waterfalls mentioned by Horace in Odes 1.7.  After a long and welcome lunch in town (consisting of good bread, prosecco, bruschetta, fettuccini bolognese, and spinach) we explored the terraced gardens of Villa D’Este, replete with fountains and other water features.

After a break and some ping pong, for dinner we had roasted red peppers, pesto risotto, prosciutto & cantaloupe, and chocolate cake.


About saholc

Latin Teacher at The Hill School Atlanta Braves & US Soccer Fan
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