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Villa Adriana

Villa Adriana archaeological sites

Villa Adriana

The Villa Adriana (at Tivoli, near Rome) is an exceptional complex of classical buildings created in the 2nd century A.D. by the Roman emperor Hadrian. It combines the best elements of the architectural heritage of Egypt, Greece and Rome in the form of an ‘ideal city’.

Villa Adriana is a masterpiece that uniquely brings together the highest expressions of the material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world. Study its monuments played a crucial role in the rediscovery of the elements of classical architecture by the architects of the Renaissance and the Baroque period. It also profoundly influenced many 19th- and 20th-century architects and designers.

The villa covers more than 120 ha on the slopes of the Tiburtine Hills. It was originally occupied by a late Republican villa, the property of Hadrian’s wife, Vibia Sabina. The imperial residence was built over it in AD 118-38. It was a symbol of a power that was gradually becoming absolute and which distanced itself from the capital. After Hadrian’s death in 138, his successors preferred Rome as their permanent residence, but the villa continued to be enlarged and further embellished. Constantine the Great is alleged to have removed some of its finer pieces to his new capital, Byzantium. The villa was sacked and plundered by successive barbarian invaders and fell into neglect, being used as a quarry by builders and lime-burners. Interest in the ruins was rekindled in the 15th century by Pope Pius II (Aeneas Silvius). Excavations to recover its glories were ordered by Alexander VI at the beginning of the 16th century. When Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este began to construct his nearby Villa d’Este he continued the excavations, supervised by his architect Pirro Ligorio, to obtain works of art to adorn it.

The many structures are arranged without any overall plan within this area. They fall into four specific groups. The first group includes the Greek Theatre and the Temple of Aphrodite Cnidi. The theatre, which is in a good state of conservation, although only fragmentary, is of conventional design. Its cavea is cut into the hillside and is some 36 m in diameter. The small circular temple is situated in a large semi-circular exedra.

The second group, including the Maritime Theatre, Court of the Libraries, Latin and Greek Libraries, Imperial Palace and Golden Square, is the core of the complex, aligned with the Vale of Tempe. The various elements are grouped round four peristyles. The Maritime (or Naval) Theatre is a circular structure 43 m in diameter; the Ionic marble peristyle encloses a circular moat surrounding a central island with a miniature villa. The Court of the Libraries, the oldest part of the ensemble, is a colonnaded portico with a nymphaeum on its northern side. The two ‘libraries’ are reached by passages on either side of the nymphaeum. The palace consists of a complex of rooms around a courtyard. The Golden Square is one of the most impressive buildings in the complex: the vast peristyle is surrounded by a two-aisled portico with alternate columns in cipollino marble and Egyptian granite

The third group comprises the Pecile, Stadium and its associated buildings, Small and Large Thermae, Canopus, Serapeum and Cento Camerelle. The Pecile (or Poikile) is a reproduction of an imposing structure in Athens famous for its paintings and its associations with the Stoic philosophers which consists of a large rectangular enclosure. Part of its massive walls survives; they had colonnades on either side. In the centre was a rectangular pool enclosed by a free space, perhaps used as a racetrack. The two sets of baths are conventional in form. The smaller is considered to have been used exclusively by women. The Canopus is an elongated canal imitating the famous sanctuary of Serapis near Alexandria. The semi-circular exedra of the Serapeum is located at its southern end.

The fourth group includes the Lily Pond, Roccabruna Tower and Academy. The tower is a complex of buildings, the purpose of which is not clearly established. In addition to these structures, there is a complex of underground elements, including cryptoportici and underground galleries, used for internal communications and storage. A number of the ancient structures are overlaid by a series of farmhouses and other buildings, mostly from the 18th century. They were built directly on the earlier foundations and it is difficult to dissociate them from the ancient structures.

How to get:


from Rome with Metro B Ponte Mammolo stop and bus Co.Tral direction Via Prenestina, stop at 300 m. from the site, or bus Co.Tral direction Via Tiburtina, stop at 1 km from the site, or bus Co.Tral direction Tivoli / highway A24 and stop about 1 km from the site; Rome train FS stop at Tivoli’s station and bus line CAT number 4, stop at 300 m from the site.


Forward path toward the Archaeological Area Villa AdrianaDall’uscita the exit of Tivoli (A24 Rome-Aquila), turn right on Road Maremmana Inferiore (SP51a) for approximately 2.6 km, then turn right onto Via della Rosolina. Go along Via della Rosolina for about 1.2 km and turn right at the end of Via di Villa Adriana; after about 300 mt arriving in Largo Marguerite Yourcenar, 1 – Archaeological Area of Villa Adriana.
haeological Villa AdrianaIn output from the Archaeological from Largo Marguerite Yourcenar, after about 300 meters on Via di Villa Adriana turn left into Via della Rosolina, to go all for about 1.2 km; back on the road Maremmana Inferiore (SP51a), following the directions Rome Highways, and after about 2,6 km, on the left, input exit of Tivoli (A24 Rome-Aquila).

Opening period: 

9-17 from 2 January to 31 January
9 to 18 from February 1 to February 29
9-18.30 from 1 March until the last Sunday of March
9 to 19 from the last Sunday in March to 30 April
9-19.30 from 1 May to 31 August
9 to 19 from September 1 to September 30
9-18.30 from October 1 to last Saturday of October
9 to 17 from the last Sunday in October to 31 December

The ticket office closes a half-hour early.

The Archaeological Area is closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25, except for openings.

Entrance fee:

Full price:
€ 8.00

€ 4.00

On the occasion of the annual temporary exhibition, which is usually held in the period from April to October, the ticket will cost € 11.00 whole, reduced € 7.00, subject to the facilities provided in the rules of entry to places of culture Italians , available on the website of MiBACT.

The Antiquarium of Canopus is open during exhibitions or special openings reported on this website.

Free admission the first Sunday of the month.

For school groups, in the period from March to October, the reservation for the shift input is required: € 1 per student.

Ticket Archaeological Area Villa Adriana:


Tel: + 39 0774382733

Tourist information:

Single: Monday-Friday 9-18 Saturday 9 – 14
groups: Monday-Friday 9-18 Saturday 9 – 14
schools: Monday-Friday 9-18 Saturday 9 – 14

School groups: in the period from March to October, the reservation for the shift input is required: € 1 per student.

Tourist guide:



8 August 2015