The Villa Gregoriana is an enormous park in the center of Tivoli outside Rome. The park was built in the 19th century, after the river Aniene had flooded the city. A walking path along the former river bed takes the visitor to beautiful scenery and old Roman ruins.
Villa Gregoriana Tivoli
Address, Opening Hours and Admission
The Villa Gregoriana has two entrances, one in the Largo Sant’Angelo and one in the Piazza Tempio di Vesta. Tel. +39 0774 318296. Opening times: March 2 till March 31 and October 16 till November 29 from 10 AM till 2.30 PM (Sundays and holidays till 4 PM). April 1 till October 15 from 10 AM till 6.30 PM. Closed: December, January, February (though the villa can be visited by appointment during these months). Admission: 5 Euros; age 4-12: 2,50 Euros; groups (min. 12 people): 4 Euros per person; families (max 4 people): 12 Euros. There may be a surcharge in case of special events. Practical tips: Wear solid footwear (definitely no high heels) and bring enough water.
History Villa Gregoriana Tivoli
The Villa Gregoriana in Tivoli is also known as the Villa of Manlio Vopisco. Vopisco was the owner of this villa, which was destroyed in Roman times.
The most imposing sight of the Villa Gregoriana is the more than 100 meter tall waterfall. Its water falls out of a tunnel that was dug in 1826, after the Aniene river had flooded. By means of this and other tunnels the course of the river was changed.
Pope Gregory, who commissioned the works, also had the Piazza Rivarola and the Piazza Massimo on both sides of the Ponte Gregoriano created. (This bridge was destroyed during World War II and later rebuilt.)
The Villa Gregoriana was founded after this. The old river bed was used to create a walking route alongside gorgeous rock formations, caves and old Roman ruins.
Clemente Folchi was the architect who designed the park. His project was the winner in a competition in which several international architects competed. It was his idea to drill through the Monte Catillo. The tunnels have a length of 280 meters and a maximum width of 10 meters.
The new project had two advantages. The danger of Tivoli being flooded was averted and the water was diverted to the industries in the area.
Building started in 1832. The inauguration took place in 1835. Pope Gregory watched everything from his “throne”.
The biggest attraction is the abovementioned waterfall. This Cascata Grande descends into the so-called Valle dell’Inferno (Valley of Hell).
The Caves of Neptune and the Caves of the Sirens are worth a visit. Here the river disappears underneath the rocks, to show up again further down river.
The Roman ruins of the Villa di Manlio Volpisco are located along the path through the park.
Driving to Villa Gregoriana
Take the A24 towards L’Aquila and take either the Tivoli or the Castel Madama exit. Follow the signs to the Villa Gregoriana.