Italian Vacation 2010, Day 6

We spent the night just outside of Tivoli at a pretty decent joint.  Since we were outside of the city, there were little places to eat without driving, so we ate at the restaurant hotel.  They had a little bar off the lobby where there was wifi reception, so we had some drinks there while Gisela watched the Phillies game on her laptop.

The next morning, we checked out and headed to Hadrian’s Villa (or Villa Adriana, I’m still not sure why languages like to translate proper nouns.  It baffles me.  I practically didn’t even know Venezia was actually Venice!).

This complex of buildings was Hadrian's vacation house from Rome. It was built almost 2000 years ago, and is now just ruins, mostly unexcavated. This is a swimming pool.

When we got there, we had no idea the scale of the site. We all assumed it would be a few building foundations, a few columns here and there. It was huge, with a more amazing site quite literally around every turn. It was so expansive, it was very easy to get lost.

This is one of two huge reflecting pools. It was originally lined with columns and statues. I'm not talking a few. I mean hundreds. Everything was once covered with marble or mosaics, some of which you can still see. Even the ground was all marble mosaics...everywhere. If it was still in it's original condition, it would be one of the grandest estates in the world, without question.

Here is a video I took from one of the courtyards.

We spent a good 3 hours there, and I took a ton of pictures which you can see over here on Facebook.  Then we headed to the city center to grab some lunch.

We had lunch right on the street outside a small cafe/bar. There was an open-air market behind us and we could hear the music while we ate. Monika and I wanted to stay and explore the city some more because it looked pretty cool, but we had places to go, so off we went.

We stopped at what is called the Apian Way, a kind of turnpike that was built by the Romans and can still be seen in places that haven’t been developed or paved over.  Near that was a cathedral under which there were catacombs.  They were not the first underground burial sites, but they were the first to be called catacombs, and it was centuries later that the word began to be applied to all underground cemeteries.  Of course, no pictures in there, but it was pretty damn interesting and fun.

It was a fine day, and Monika and I were excited because we knew tomorrow, our last full day in Italy, we were finally going to Rome.

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