Find out the guided tour to the archeological garden of Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli!
Villa Gregoriana takes its name from Pope Gregory XVI.
Our Villa Gregoriana tour is a relaxed stroll through the greenery of the park, through its dense copses, descending along well-marked footpaths, visiting caves and small galleries, cascades and waterfalls, before finally ascending up to the acropolis where the beautiful temples of Vesta and of Sybil are located.
At the beginning of the tour to the Villa, shortly after the entrance and along the first stretch of the footpath, we will come across the outlet of the artificial tunnels, 280 meters long, from which the Aniene River emerges to create the large waterfall. The most striking observation point is located a little lower down: a small promontory, called the “Horseshoe”, is cantilevered precariously towards the waterfall which drops down from above.
We then continue the tour of Villa Gregoriana by moving down towards the Stipa Channel, previously used to divert the flood waters, which was restored in 1669 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Here we find the Grotto of Neptune and the Grotto of the Sirens, both carved over the centuries by the force of the Aniene River. Looking up, above the Grotto of the Sirens, full of stalactites, we see the Bridge of the Wolf, a natural bridge which was used by locals for the transit of livestock. To reach the Grotto of Neptune, we must pass through an impressive tunnel carved into the rock in 1809 by the then Governor of Rome, the French General Miollis.
The tour will continue, by means of a rustic staircase, climbing up to the acropolis where we will reach the most beautiful part of the itinerary through Villa Gregoriana: the location of the two temples, of uncertain consecration, and the most famous monuments of the entire landscape. The beauty of the place where we find ourselves led to its veneration by many cults in ancient times, particularly those which related to nature and water. The so-called Temple of Vesta is the most iconic symbol of the city. Circular in shape, it stands out above the rocky outcrop, fitting harmoniously into the surrounding landscape. Right next to it is the rectangular Temple of Sybil which was built on an artificial terrace, making it appear even more spectacular and impressive.