The town of Tivoli oozes charm. Besides being home to the otherworldly Villa d’Este, it has cobblestone streets leading down sun-soaked alleyways, gelato shops on nearly every corner, and flower boxes dotting the ancient buildings. And when I say “ancient”, I mean it: historical traces of settlement in the area date back to the 13th century BC.
Since it’s only a 25 minute drive from our house in Zagarolo, we go to Tivoli often. I just can’t get enough of it! On the way in, there’s one particular street where wistera just florishes. It’s so bright and fragrant and I always make Jer pull over so I can stand under the blooms.
After our little pit stop, we head up through the winding hills with the windows down, climbing higher and higher until we reach the town center.
We stroll through the streets, walking impossibly slow so I can stop every 3 steps to squal with joy and grab my camera. We pop in and out of cafes for Caprese salad, pistachio gelato, stuffed olives, and, my favorite, fragole con limone (strawberries soaked in lemon juice with a dusting of sugar). What I’m saying is, days in Tivoli are perfect.
Everyone always talks about the light in Italy, and really, it is magical. I hate to be so cliché, but you do have to see it to believe it. Photos are great, but just can’t do it justice.
This past Sunday, we went to Villa Adriana, a UNESCO Heritage Site.
The villa was constructed as a retreat for the Roman Emperor Hadrian who moves in around 128 AD. Since then it’s majorly deteriorated, but walking through the ruins is eerily calming.
It reminds me of a quote by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, “We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. But ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”