Concierge.com's insider take:
Twenty-three miles east of Rome, Tivoli was already a popular day trip when Hadrian started work on the splendid Villa Adriana in A.D. 117. For the last 19 centuries, visitors have enjoyed the grandiose gardens and ruins of the imposing villa, whose design references Hadrian’s favorite buildings from his travels abroad. Up the hill, in the town of Tivoli itself, the lavish, romantic 16th-century Villa d'Este is a striking example of Renaissance innovation and refinement. The remarkable gardens feature more than 500 ingenious fountains whose theatrical effects were a technological marvel in their day. If you're traveling by car, take the A24 motorway and exit at Tivoli; COTRAL buses (take the one marked "Autostrada") leave frequently from Ponte Mammolo metro station.
Via di Villa Adriana
Tel: 39 0774 382 733
Open daily 9 am to 5 pm, November through January; 9 am to 6 pm, February; 9 am to 6:30 pm, March and October; 9 am to 7 pm, April and September; 9 am to 7:30 pm, May through August.
1 Piazza Trente
Tel: 39 0774 332 920
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 9 am until sunset, approximately.