A Day Trip from Rome: Tivoli, or “it’s good to be the Pope’s grandson!”

Less than one hour from Rome city center, over the beautiful colli laziali, Tivoli is the perfect destination for a day trip from Rome: a trip that will bring you to a favourite spot for the Imperial and Papal Rome jet – set.

A Day Trip from Rome to Tivoli: an Emperor’s Villa, a Pope’s Villa as well…Far from the madding crowd: Hadrian’s Villa

Publius Aelius Hadrianus Augustus (76 – 138, Emperor between 117 and 138) wanted a retreat from the overcrowded Rome. The imperial Rome was the biggest metropolis of the known world: now, can you imagine up to 1.7 million of people (not to mention the animals!) without running water facilities and sewerage for the great majority of them?

Of course if you are the Emperor it is quite easy to find a solution: let your slaves build a new Villa for you, over the gentle slopes of Colli Laziali, the hills of Rome’s countryside.

In 128 the Villa became the Emperor’s official residence until his death. Hadrian’s successors used the Villa only sporadically, and it was repeatedly looted along the decline of the Roman Empire.

Between the looters not only the usual “barbarians”: in XVI Century the Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, the grandson of Pope Alexander VI – the most controversial Pope in the history (usually you are not supposed to have grandsons if you are a Pope…) – commissioned Villa D’Este. In Tivoli, again.

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Naples top attractions: the Catacombe di San Gennaro

Naples underground hides fifteen centuries of archaeological and religious heritage: “a hundred steps will let live a time travel” – an experience even more beautiful and accessible after a recent huge makeover.

Catacombe di San Gennaro: seventeen centuries, layer after layer

The San Gennaro Catacombs are an underground tombs complex the history of which spans from the II Century A.D..

The core of the catacombs was probably the shrine of a Roman patrician family, possibly converted to Christianity: the space was then donated to the Christian community.

Gennaro is a Saint and a martyr: he was beheaded in 305 A.D., during the Roman persecutions against Christians. The Catacombs hosted Gennaro’s grave from the V Century.

You are probably aware that Rome has many catacombs, but there is something unique about Naples’ catacombs that let them have a much longer history and some breathtaking, magic underground landscapes. The reason? A geological one.

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Sea and lava: Sicily’s volcanoes

Sicily has the largest concentration of active volcanoes of Europe after Iceland. In a definitely warmer environment and with better food…

Sicily’s volcanoes: the “hottest” tour of Sicily!

A lunar landscape, black sand beaches, but also magma steaming in the snow and terroirs that, because of the natural fertilizing properties of the volcanic soil, offer great wine, fruit, vegetables. A reason more to come and visit Sicily!

Sicily’s volcanoes: Mount Etna, or of fire and ice

The biggest Sicily’s volcano is on the mainland. Mount Etna – simply “l’Etna” in Italian, “Mongibeddu” in Sicilian – is in the Province of Catania, north – east Sicily.

Etna is the tallest volcano in Europe: around 3300mt / 10000 ft. Being an active volcano its height can vary: it can become higher because of the magma solidification on the top, or lower when explosions reshape the top of the mountain.

Etna is high enough to have snow during the winter, so you have the chance to experience something quite unique: skiing, or just enjoying the snowy landscape, with the smoke, or even a stream of lava, in the background.

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Palermo: between Vikings and Saracens

You definitely don’t associate Palermo with cold, ice and snow, but the medieval history of Sicily is as stormy as a Game of Thrones series book!

Sicily has always been, due to its geographical position, the Mediterranean Sea crossroads.

Its strategic importance is the reason of almost three thousand years of history with fights and clashes.

In the Middle Ages years and years of war brought betrayal, death and destruction, but also the seeds of a cultural melting pot which is one of the most fascinating aspects of the cultural heritage of Sicily: you can’t find somewhere else in the world a place in which you can just walk between a “viking” palace and an Arabian nights – style one!

Vikings VS Saracens in Palermo

In 831 AD Palermo became the capital of the Emirate of Sicily. It’s only in 1061 that the Normans starts their “invasion” of Sicily.

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Turin top attractions: the Royal Palace

A royal city needs a royal palace: and the Royal Palace is a must see within the Turin top attractions.

Turin top attractions: Palazzo Reale, a Royal Palace for two kingdoms

The Royal Palace started his “career” as a bishopric in the XVI Century, then the Savoy family took possession of it.

The palace became the seat of the duchy of Savoy with Emmanuel Philibert, but it was upgraded and enlarged when Emmanuel Philibert’s grandson married in 1619 in Paris the French Princess Christine Marie of France.

The sister of Louis XIII came to live in Turin and she definitely gave to the Palazzo Reale a boost of French grandeur…

The enlargement of the building continued with Christine Marie’s sons and grandson: the Daniel Gallery was created (the name is after Daniel Setier, the Baroque Wien – born painter, the author of the frescoes of the gallery) and the Chapel of the Holy Shroud.

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