Top 22 Things To Do In Tivoli, Italy - Updated 2022

things to do in tivoli italy

If you’re after ancient ruins, stunning gardens, majestic views, and romantic scenes that inspired Renaissance artists, then you’ve certainly come to the right place. Tivoli wears its history very firmly on its sleeve—and it’s all the better for it. From the ancient second-century ruins of Hadrian’s Villa—named after the famous emperor—the lofty perch of Temple of Vesta, and the spectacular gardens and terrace sceneries of the grand Villa d'Este, this town is simply chock-full of sublime sights and cultural delights. Fans of culinary treats are also well catered to, with a number of top eateries providing a range of traditional Italian fare—alongside charming terraces from which to marvel at jaw-dropping vistas, even including the majestic Great Waterfall (or Grand Cascade) in some cases. Read on for some of the things to do in Tivoli, Italy.

1. Tour the stunning Villa d'Este (from USD 186.46)

things to do in tivoli italy | tour the stunning villa d'este

Stunning beauty and historical marvels combine at Villa d'Este, one of the jewels on Tivoli’s crown. This 16th-century villa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. Its Renaissance garden, with its enticing hillside terraces and spellbinding water features and fountains—such as the famous Oval Fountain—is an icon of the town and is sure to provide almost limitless inspiration for the budding photographer in you and your friends. The interior is just as majestic, with lovely friezes and frescoes that are a feast for the eyes. So what’s keeping you? This Italian state museum is a popular destination for Tivoli’s tourists.

Tivoli: Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este Half-Day Tour

Duration: 5 hour

25 reviews

2. Follow an emperor's footsteps at Hadrian's Villa (from USD 89.48)

things to do in tivoli italy | follow an emperor's footsteps at hadrian's villa

Another of Tivoli’s true historic gems, Hadrian’s Villa is a relic of the Roman Empire and dates all the way back to the second century, when it was erected by the famous emperor of the same name. One of the largest residential complexes ever built in the country, it covers a truly vast area. Its huge 250-acre (101-hectare) extent features a wide array of fountains, pools, and classic Roman and Greek architectural styles amid its various archaeological sites. Indeed it is home to more than 30 buildings and actually occupies a site larger than the ancient city of Pompeii. Needless to say, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has plenty of things to keep a visitor occupied for a considerable amount of time.

Rome: Villa D'Este and Hadrian's Villa Tivoli Day Tour

Duration: 7 hour

839 reviews

3. Marvel at Ponte dei Sepolcri o di Vopisco's ancient engineering

Siracusa, Via dei Sepolcri
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Palickap used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Speaking of archaeological wonders, those who love their ancient architecture and Roman history may wish to check out the remains of Ponte dei Sepolcri. This bridge, which dates back to the days of the Roman Empire—and was one of three crossings of River Aniene—owes its name to the nearby necropolis. Situated on the grounds of Villa Gregoriana (pictured—but more on that a little later), today just a single arch and pillar remain, but what is there serves to offer a tantalising glimpse into the skills of the engineers of millennia past.

Ponte dei Sepolcri o di Vopisco

Address: Viale Roma, 1, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

4. Get up close with Tivoli's medieval past at Casa Gotica

Casa Gotica de Tivoli
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LPLT used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Casa Gotica—which literally translates to Gothic House—dates back to the late-medieval period. Not only does it offer a tantalising window into the architectural styles of the period, but it is also an arresting target for your camera. Built using local tuff, the house extends to three floors and is located on Via Campitelli, which links to the beautiful Tiburtine Square of Piazza Campitelli and San Pietro alla Carità (more on that a little later). It’s also close to the extensive Villa d'Este, so you should find plenty of beautiful buildings to enjoy during your visit.

Casa Gotica

Address: Via Campitelli, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Casa Gotica

5. Tuck into a sumptuous meal at Lucignolo Risto Wine Bar

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

After a visit to the sites mentioned in the last entry, you may well feel the need to recharge your batteries with a little culinary treat or two. Well, Lucignolo Risto Wine Bar is just a few metres away from Villa d'Este, making it a handy spot in which to take a break. Its wide menu and welcoming host have won plenty of fans among past diners, who hailed the food here as amazing. Speaking of which, the extensive menu features everything from bruschette to fettuccine, carbonara, filled fillets, and other paninis. What’s more, there are a number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options too should you have specific dietary requirements.

Lucignolo Risto Wine Bar

Address: Via della Missione, 22, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Lucignolo Risto Wine Bar

Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 12pm - 3pm & 8pm - 2am (closed Wed)

6. Explore the castle of Rocca Pia

Rocca Pia de Tivoli
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LPLT used under CC BY-SA 3.0

An iconic landmark of Tivoli, this impressive fort and its four towers date back more than 550 years and was commissioned by Pope Pius II. Since then, it has had a fascinating tale to tell, from its time as a barracks for Austrian and French troops in the 18th century to its use as a prison during the Napoleonic era. Built from local tuff, this imposing edifice later fell into disuse, and it only reopened to the public as an attraction in December 2018. So any visitor can consider themselves fortunate to be able to look around a picture-postcard part of Tivoli that was until recently off-limits.

Rocca Pia

Address: 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 10am - 4pm

7. Visit a local curiosity at Fontana Di Gemma

Tivoli - via Maggiore fontana di Gemma 1170399
Source: Photo by user Lalupa used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This visually striking street landmark owes its existence to the age of the railway, although you’d be hard-pressed to see why at first glance. When it came time to begin work on the Tivoli–Mandela section of the Rome–Sulmona railway, engineers faced a conundrum when it came to transporting the locomotive to the station square and the start of the work. The narrow streets made this impossible, and a corner of a building that jutted into the street had to be demolished to enable its passage. That “shaved” corner is the home of Fontana Di Gemma—or Fountain of Gemma—today and is named after a past midwife.

Fontana Di Gemma

Address: Via Domenico Giuliani, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

8. Hit the lanes at Cosmico Bowling

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Families or groups of friends seeking a little fun downtime from all the impressive sightseeing may wish to plan a visit to Cosmico Bowling. This bright and colourful bowling alley features 8 lanes for a little 10-pin action, as well as bumpers for the less skillful or the little ones. Other amenities include a billiard room with a pool table and arcade machines for you to enjoy when not hitting the lanes. There’s also an on-site wood-oven pizzeria, alongside a bar with a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for you to enjoy.

Cosmico Bowling

Address: Via Maremmana Inferiore, 56, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Cosmico Bowling

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 6am - 2am; Sat - Sun: 8am - 12am

9. Marvel at the millennia-old Temple of Sibilla

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MarkusMark used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the landmarks of Villa Gregoriana’s gardens, the ancient Temple of Sibilla (or Sybil) sits on the edge of the park and next to the iconic circular pillars of Temple of Vesta at the very highest point of the acropolis. This rectangular temple has stood at the site for more than two millennia—having been erected some time around the second century BC—and, alongside its neighbour, has been the inspiration for many an artist down the centuries. Given its lofty vantage overlooking the park, it’s a good bet that it’ll likely cast just as mesmerising a spell on you. Best fish out that camera!

Temple of Sibilla

Address: Via della Sibilla, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Temple of Sibilla

Opening hours: Varies

Price: 4 - 9 USD

10. Gaze upon the majestic Great Tivoli Waterfall

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Grand Cascade of Tivoli (or Great Tivoli Waterfall) dominates the backdrop of Villa Gregoriana’s parkland. Plummeting some 120 metres (394 ft) into the gorge below, its impressive curtain of water will make for a truly memorable sight—and the perfect way to cap any visit to the park. Delighting visitors with its romantic setting for centuries, the falls may be a natural marvel, but the waters as we see them today are actually the result of 19th-century efforts to combat flooding after a devastating event in the 1820s. Subsequent works saw the river diverted and the number of falls reduced from four to two, but they still make for an arresting vista.

Great Tivoli Waterfall

Address: Via Quintilio Varo, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Great Tivoli Waterfall

Opening hours: Varies

Price: 4 - 9 USD

11. Visit the Roman temple of Vesta

Temple of Vesta (Tivoli)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oursana used under CC0

The neighbour of Temple of Sibilla, this first-century-BC structure features ornate columns that still make for an impressive sight, two millennia later. Indeed, its picture-postcard appearance and setting have inspired a myriad of architectural mimics in other countries—from Temple of Solitude at Kew in the UK to Sunol Water Temple in Northern California. Naturally, anyone paying the original a visit will be able to enjoy the aforementioned Temple of Sibilla plus the numerous other attractions at Villa Gregoriana.

Temple of Vesta, Tivoli

Address: Piazza del Tempio di Vesta, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Temple of Vesta, Tivoli

12. Learn about the archaeology of Sanctuary of Hercules Victor

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Sanctuary of Hercules Victor was erected outside Tivoli’s city walls in the second century BC and is closely associated with the cult of Hercules Victor, which originated in town. Originally stretching across an area of some 3,000 square metres (32,200 sq ft), the site features a number of terraces as well as a theatre, a temple, and a sacred square. In the centuries since its erection, the venue has been used in numerous ways, from its original purpose as a place of worship and a convent, to a foundry, and even a paper mill before the state took ownership in the 1950s. In recent years, the sanctuary has been thrown open to the public.

Sanctuary of Hercules Victor

Address: Via degli Stabilimenti, 5, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Sanctuary of Hercules Victor

Opening hours: 10am - 7pm (daily)

Price: 6 USD

13. Discover historic parchments at Didactic Museum of the Ancient Books

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Located within Villa d'Este’s grounds (pictured), this private institute is open to the public and seeks to preserve, research, and reconstruct ancient documents. Some of its efforts have resulted in the preservation of ancient papyrus hieratic for the likes of the Vatican Museum. Visitors can enjoy exhibits of parchment and other written materials, as well as some of the instruments—such as styluses and natural glues—that were used in their creation. The museum also features a range of engravings and books dating back to the 15th century.

Didactic Museum of the Ancient Books

Address: Piazza Trento, 5, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Didactic Museum of the Ancient Books

Opening hours: 9am - 1pm (daily)

Price: 11 - 15 USD

14. Visit the picture-postcard church of San Pietro alla Carità

Eglise San Pietro alla Carita Tivoli
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LPLT used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This Roman Catholic church is one of Tivoli’s more beautiful sights, its ornate bell tower proving to be a real landmark that rises above the nearby streets. Boasting a rich history, its Romanesque architecture was erected on top of the remains of an ancient villa. The picturesque exterior continues inside with the geometric shapes of its Cosmatesque floor, making for a fascinating target for those with a camera. Since the structure is still a functioning church today, those seeking to catch a church service on their travels may also wish to pay a visit.

San Pietro alla Carità

Address: Via Campitelli, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: San Pietro alla Carità

15. Stop by the Tomb of the Vestal Virgin Cossinia

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Perhaps the perfect place to visit shortly after exploring the nearby Temple of Vesta, this tomb remembers a former priestess of the Vesta cult. It was excavated in the 1930s and is easily reachable today via a series of steps. Split over two levels, the marble plaque that crowns the top of the larger of the pair highlights that the priestess served Vesta for a whopping 66 years, suggesting she lived to a particularly ripe old age for the time.

Tomb of the Vestal Virgin Cossinia

Address: Via Sant'Agnese, 00019, Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Tomb of the Vestal Virgin Cossinia

16. Entertain your children at Park Malala Dream

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Parco Sogno di Malala (or Park Malala Dream) features sports facilities and games, as well as a playground for the little ones to enjoy, complete with swings and slides. The park, which is located near Villa Adriana in the heart of town, is also home to live summer events, such as shows and music as part of the villa’s festivals. Park-goers will also find free water dispensers on-site for a little rehydration on hot summer days, although there’s not much shade for those seeking to get out of the sun.

Parco Sogno di Malala

Address: Via Puglie, 00010 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Parco Sogno di Malala

17. Wander around the stunning Tivoli Cathedral

Abside cathédrale San Lorenzo de Tivoli
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LPLT used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Tivoli Cathedral, with its striking Baroque design, dates back to the mid-1600s. The imposing bell tower can be traced as far back as the 11th or 12th centuries, and the apse of the site’s first church (which is thought to go back centuries earlier) is still present within the building. As you’d expect for such an important centre of worship, the interior is as stunning as the exterior, with the high vaulted ceilings featuring an array of colourful paintings from the early 1800s.

Tivoli Cathedral

Address: Via del Duomo, 7, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Tivoli Cathedral

Opening hours: Varies

18. Enjoy romantic terrace dining at Il Ciocco

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Set amid the delightful setting of Villa Gregoriana, Il Ciocco boasts not one but two open-air terraces from which you can enjoy the mesmerising view of the waterfalls and Temple of Vesta. Those who’d prefer to dine inside can also luxuriate in the air-conditioned main dining room. The extensive menu features a range of seafood and meat dishes—such as lamb chops, fillet of beef, or baked golden chicken—while the pizzeria offers a couple of dozen different choices, including vegetarian-friendly fare.

Il Ciocco

Address: Via Ponte Gregoriano, 33, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: Il Ciocco

Opening hours: Mon: 7:30pm - 11pm; Tue - Sun: 12pm - 3pm & 7:30pm - 11pm

19. Pick up some souvenirs at La Mongolfiera

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Tivoli is undoubtedly a romantic destination—and one in which you may be inspired to enjoy a special occasion or two. If so, then you may wish to head to La Mongolfiera. This store sells a range of party goods—from balloon sculptures and confetti, to table settings and wedding and birthday favours—so you’ll be able to pick them up after you reach your destination. The shop also offers an array of colourful toy souvenirs for your little ones, along with a selection of stationery, which will enable them—and you—to indulge in some craft-making sessions on a quiet day.

La Mongolfiera

Address: Via Galli, 13/15, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Website: La Mongolfiera

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 7:45am - 1pm & 3:45am - 7:30pm (closed on Sun)

20. Explore the magnificent park at Villa Gregoriana

Tivoli Villa Gregoriana - valle Aniene
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Lalupa used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The park of Villa Gregoriana sits below Tivoli’s ancient acropolis and boasts a number of romantic woodland walks and trails that lead to notable landmarks, such as the river-carved Neptune and Sirens caves, along with other historic temple sites. And, of course, this park’s gorge and Aniene River setting includes one of the most visually striking natural marvels in Tivoli, the Great Waterfall (more on that shortly). You’ll also find a small cafeteria in the park in which to break up your explorations.

21. Indulge in local cuisine with a market tour and cooking class (from USD 200.0)

The town’s many charms don’t just extend to its history and stunning architecture—though there’ll be plenty more to come on this list. No, its culinary heritage is another potential highlight for any food lover. Including a private tour of Tivoli’s market—where you’ll get the chance to see some of the local produce—this five-hour package includes a cooking workshop at the host’s home before enjoying a sit-down meal. What’s more, you’ll learn how to prepare three traditional recipes, enabling you to relive your Tivoli taste experiences whenever and wherever you choose.

Private market tour and cooking class with lunch or dinner in Tivoli

Duration: 5 hours

22. Experience Tivoli from the air by paragliding (from USD 321.87)

things to do in tivoli italy | experience tivoli from the air by paragliding

If there’s one thing this list has shown so far, it’s that Tivoli is richly populated with beautiful locations and sights. And what better way to see those landscapes than from the air? This tandem paragliding experience will see participants soar above the rolling hills of the Italian countryside. What’s more, there are morning and afternoon sessions available, giving you added choice when seeking to slot it into your travel plans. There’ll even be video footage of your flight, so you’ll get to relive those magnificent views long after your trip has ended.

Tandem Paraglide Full-Day Experience from Rome

Duration: 6 hour

2 reviews

Stunning Tivoli awaits

Villa d'Este, Tivoli, Italy
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carole Raddato used under CC BY-SA 2.0

With its rich and vibrant history, stunning architectural marvels, and breathtaking natural landscapes, Tivoli truly spoils visitors for choice when they’re seeking to tour the local sights. Where will you start your adventure?

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I'm a writer and photographer based in the heart of the beautiful Scottish Highlands. A professional journalist by trade, I have written for and edited several newspapers, magazines and websites....Read more

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