Italy’s Tivoli gardens on a Monday
Never visit Italy’s Tivoli gardens on a Monday, unless you see an attraction in lots of parking spaces and the absence of other tourists.
I should have known it from the start. Monday is not a good day for visiting public sights in Italy, but I honestly did not think they would close down the Tivoli gardens in Lazio outside Rome in the shoulder season. My suspicions were not even aroused, when we could drive right into the centre of town and find an empty parking lot. Or when we looked down towards the Villa d’Este and saw only the solitary war memorial with no life around it.
The Roman Emperor’s Summer Residence
Tivoli has two UNESCO World Heritage sites, and I was so convinced that for once we would have plenty of time to see both the beautiful garden fountains of the Villa d’Este and the spectacular ruins of Villa Adriana, where Roman emperors used to take their summer break.
The illusion did not shatter until we were standing outside the locked entrance to Villa d’Este. At that point it started to drizzle, but there were no signs announcing opening hours, so perhaps they had just closed for lunch?
We strolled through the deserted pedestrian streets, and ended up outside the Rocca Pia castle, which could also only be glimpsed through iron fencing. At that point it was raining hard and we ran into a café for lunch and shelter. They served a nice slice of pizza, while the lightly amused man behind the bar informed us there was nothing to do in Tivoli on a Monday. ‘Everything is closed. The villas, the ruins, the gardens. Tutto.’
By the end of the meal rain pelted down, the sky was a uniform dark grey and visibility was so limited we couldn’t even enjoy the fabulous views of Rome normally offered by this hilltop town.
So instead of finding a hotel and make a fresh start Tuesday, we decided to move on and come back to Italy’s Tivoli gardens some other time. But never on a Monday.