Villa d'este and Villa Adriana

Yesterday my school school went on a field trip to Villa d'este in Tivoli and Villa Adriana.  We were not super excited about the field trip because we had to wake up at 7 am and we were out late the night before celebrating the end of our first week of classes.  However, the trip was well worth the early wake up time.  We started the day at Villa Adriana, which was a villa that Hadrian built to live and rule his empire from.  It is on the outskirts of Rome, only a 30 minute drive away.  It is an enormous site, filled with the ruins from Hadrian's decadent place of residence.  There are many interesting things about this site, most is that only a small percentage of it is excavated yet.  We saw a model of the Villa as it once stood, but only a fraction of that is visible today.  Archiologists are constantly working to uncover more of this villa.  The villa is amazing for architecture students in terms of construction, material, and program.  I can't even describe the mass of structures that are still standing.  And the villa also includes an array of underground tunnels and passageways that no one really knows what they were used for.  There are also rooms that don't make any sense.  We literally don't know how Hadrian lived.  The most fascinating and most famous part of the villa was Hadrians island, or the Maritime theater.  This was an island that Hadrian designed to be his personal getaway.  He dug a moat around a small piece of land where he could go to be alone.  Apparently there used to be a drawbridge that he could pull up so no one could get to him in his private island-room.  It is really an amazing piece of architecture.

After Villa Adriana, we visited Villa d'este.  This villa is not at all like the ruins of Hadrian's villa.  Villa d'este reminded me of a mini Versallies.  It is brimming with fountains and gardens built into a hillside.  The villa is at the top of the hill and you must travel down several beautiful winding staircases in the garden to get to the bottom of the hill.  The site is very famous for its water organ, which plays music at certain hours.  I can't even describe the wonder of this place, it was truly a garden from a fairy tale.  I wish I could just get lost in the garden for days and days! 

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