This is the first of our three blogs of Rome and its surrounding area – yes, Rome is that big it requires three blogs (and we didn’t even see it all).
When we planned on visiting Rome, we knew it would take a few days to see as much as we could, so we booked an apartment through Airbnb to give us time to do this. It is also easier for parking, once again you cannot go into the centre, it gave us a place just to park up and not have to drive for a few days. Our check in time was 2pm so we needed something to do in the morning outside of the city. There are many choices and we were unsure what to go for. After some research, we made our choice and made our way there, hoping we had made the right choice.
Parco villa gregoriana
This parco was right in the middle of a town called tivoli, so be sure not to miss it like we nearly did. We parked up in the centre of the town (which gets very busy so be sure to get there early – this will be due to how cheap the parking costs. It is then just a few minutes walk from either of the two entrances, which are signposted around the town. We decided to start at the temples entrance but it does a loop so it doesn’t matter.
After paying an entrance fee (it is part of the fai – Italy’s national trust so always goes towards a good cause) it was time to start our walk.
Right at the start, you can see the temples of vesta and tiburnus. They are quite impressive buildings, and although not what they once were, you can see how they would have looked when first built.
A good tip would be to buy a map when getting a ticket. It is well signposted throughout, but it’s a great way to plan your route before you start.
There are two routes you can take along the way, with branches that appear every now and again. I would say don’t miss anything, as everything on route is unique and worth a look. We decided we would take the main route and then check out each branch as we get close to it. We would sometimes go along the alternative path, but this path is basically a longer version of the main route and less kind underfoot.
After a short walk through the woodland and a few look out points, we came across an opening. If you follow the path up, you enter a cave with an opening to a river that leads down to the waterfall below it. After feeling the heat, it was nice to feel the cool air inside the cave and the slight fresh water in the air around you from the waterfall. We followed the path back down and followed the river to see the waterfall below (at this point we felt a bit cruel as our boys wanted to jump into the water, to be honest it would have been great to jump in ourselves). Then slightly coming back on yourself you get back on route.
Miollis small tunnel
We walked a little further to come to a tunnel. It was a very small tunnel so if your tall don’t forget to duck. It was a great little tunnel with openings to one side so you can see what is around you. It was built so people could pass easily to and from neptunes grotto.
After a further walk around the woods and some more view points, we approached another grotto. We made our way down the steps and you can see why it would be named after a mermaid. To your right you have a small cave, which the water would flow through the rocks and you can almost hear the signing of a mermaid. And then to your left the river flows from a small yet beautiful waterfall with green vegetation surrounding the area.
This is a one way route so back up the steps we went, and we carried on following the route. Along the way there were some more viewpoints, all as beautiful as each other, and some more branches to go into.
Viewpoint of the great waterfall
The next big view to see is the waterfall itself. You see this on multiple occasions when walking around the parco and it looks amazing from a distance, but up close it looks even better. This is not for the faint hearted – you have to go down a series of steel steps and is one way, which means the way back will be more difficult. But once you reach it you will be glad you did, you approach and your close enough to feel the spray when the water is flowing down. Out of all the views this parco can give you, this is by far the best.
After walking back up and onto the main route, and a little bit of a rest, but we carried on along the main path. At this point, we are coming towards the end but not before you reach the Roman ruins of this villa. It is a great part of the parco and you can walk into the remains of the villa that is still standing. It was great to walk around and imagine how it would have once been set up and where the levels would have been ect, your brain can come up with some great scenarios by just standing in the great room. Walking back out and your brain is still working overtime as you can see the some well preserved benches, and you can see how this would have been a great area to come in the Roman times.
We then walked the remainder of the walk and reached the second entrance. We made our way out of the parco and walked back to the car. We were then approaching the time to get to our apartment so we didn’t have time to go around tivoli itself (though we found out later that Hadrians villa is here so I would suggest to have a look around).
Our first apartment through Airbnb
I was quite nervous about using Airbnb, I mean it’s an app that people just advertise there houses/apartments/rooms ect, so you can never be sure what your getting yourself into. This is just my over paranoid brain for something new, so we booked an apartment close to the centre of Rome, and after a few questions around the dogs, the booking was approved.
We arrived and it was a lovely little apartment and the host seemed nice. We settled in for the rest of the afternoon making a good homemade meal and watching some good Italian trash tv (they have take me out Italian version and it’s just as good)!
Day one of Rome and we haven’t seen much of it but tomorrow the real exploring begins……..