1. Tivoli: Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este Half-Day Tour
Start this 5-hour tour of Tivoli from Rome from Piazza Esquilino, with stunning views of the Colosseum from one of the 7 hills of the city, and drive through the Via Tiburtina, passing Castro Pretorio, the Baths of Tivoli, and Ponte Lucano (Lucano Bridge). Your destination is Hadrian's Villa, built in the 2nd century by Emperor Hadrian, once more grand than the center of Imperial Rome. Discover a multitude of exquisite fountains and flower gardens. See the caryatids and columns of the Canopus and Serapeum, the villa's pool and artificial grotto, named after an Egyptian city where a temple was dedicated to the god Serapis. You will also see the island “Maritime Theatre,” on which sits a small Roman house that was probably used as a retreat from busy court life. Continue to Villa d'Este, a beautiful Renaissance villa with exquisite Italianate gardens that's full of grottoes, frescoes, and pebble mosaics. See sites such as the Fontana dell'Ovato, Le Cento Fontane (The Hundred Fountains), and more.