Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli
Villa Gregoriana is a wonder of nature… in the true sense of the word.
Because Villa Gregoriana is a nature park.
Immersed in the wonderful green of the countryside, with breathtaking views of the waterfalls and the amazing experience of visiting the Grotta di Nettuno or the Grotta delle Sirene; the silence softened by the sound of falling water and the surrounding natural world is uplifting.
And that is not all.
We all know by now that the wonders of Tivoli are never ending.
And all you need to do is lift your eyes as you stroll through the Villa Gregoriana grounds, and you can admire the Tivoli Acropolis and its unique archaeological remains: the two temples of Vesta and Sibilla, dating back to 300-200 BC., and the Roman villa of Manilio Vopisco, of which 13 rooms remain. And the meeting of the two souls of the Villa Gregoriana, the fusion of natural beauty and the work of man: the fabulous artificial waterfall that crashes down between the two temples of the Acropolis from a height of 120 metres.
All of this makes Villa Gregoriana the ideal natural park for those who are keen photographers, especially landscape, and who love the natural world, excursions or tourist visits.
THE ORIGINS OF VILLA GREGORIANA
One town, Tivoli.
One river, the Aniene.
Serious floods in 1826, in which nearly all of the houses in the oldest area of Tivoli were destroyed.
And the decision made by Pope Pius VIII to deviate the course of the river.
Then, as today, it was chosen to open a public competition: architects from all over the world put forward project ideas for the deviation of the river.
In the end, the best project was judged to be that of Clemente Folchi, who proposed a digging a tunnel through Monte Catillo.
The work was completed in just 2 years, in 1835… with an added surprise: the project caused the formation of the charming artificial waterfall that we can still admire today.
The Pope decided to use the old river bed of the Aniene and its steep banks to create a beautiful park in which to take a stroll.
This park is Villa Gregoriana.
After the First World War, Villa Gregoriana was closed for many years; its natural and historical beauty suffered the consequences of the absence of any form of upkeep.
That was until FAI (Italian Environment Fund) took on an enormous restoration project in 2002: safety measures, clean up of the river bed and banks of the Aniene (which had, alas, in the meantime become an open-air rubbish dump), recovery of the fountains, restoration of the steps and bannisters, strengthening of the rock face etc… a truly comprehensive restoration project.
And thus, in 2005, the gates to the stunning Villa Gregoriana were finally reopened to visitors.
Villa Gregoriana is easy to find: it is situated in the old town centre of Tivoli and you can take advantage of the nearby car park.
It is always a pleasure to stroll through the park, especially in the summer: the rock faces and tall trees shade the paths and keep you cool during the hottest of days.
The park is open every day except Mondays, from March to December.
Entrance cost €6 (€4 for our guests!), half-price for children under 12 years and for other visitor categories that you can find on the FAI page devoted to Villa Gregoriana.
There are many tour options: simple paper guide, audio guide, guided tour and play tour for children. And, at the end of the walk, you can stop off to rest in the café or visit the book and souvenir shop in the tourist centre.
And finally… a couple of pieces of advice:
- Villa Gregoriana is a natural park, so ditch the high heels and opt for a pair of comfortable shoes with rubber soles.
- Even if the paths have been suitably secured, it is not always the easiest route for small children and the very elderly or those who have difficulty walking.
At this point… all that remains is to wish you a good walk!
And whilst you are immersed in the green of the park, bear in mind the words Goethe devoted to Villa Gregoriana in his diary “Italian Journey” (1828):
“During the last few days, I have been in Tivoli. The whole complex of its landscape with its details, it’s views, its waterfalls, is one of those experiences which permanently enrich one’s life.”
Villa Gregoriana. The images speak for themselves.