Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day 2: Can you walk to Tivoli? ... apparently not.

While most of the dancers spent our day off in Rome, I opted to stay in Tivoli to explore the world famous gardens of Villa d’Este as well as our performance venue, Villa Adriana. Both of these sites exceeded my expectations with dazzling displays of former power and wealth through the mediums of architecture, gardening and land/waterscaping.  Fellow dancer and friend Ben Schultz and I made the journey to both spots speaking with pigeon Italian and hand gestures that finally won us bus tickets after two failed attempts at walking - thank goodness! The route which we were trying to walk wound up a monumental cliff with no shoulder on the road for pedestrians. That explained why each time I asked a local resident how to walk to Villa d’Este they all gave the same response - “the bus stops across from the bar”.

Once there, we ambled around Tivoli trying to find a lunch spot and did so with the grace of the angels. We decided on a one room restaurant with periwinkle colored walls that was run by a very sweet gentleman who exclaimed to us that he “loves Stati Uniti!”. The place was filled with businessmen in suits speaking Italian speedily but seemingly in no rush. We enjoyed delicious home-made ravioli, and house special chicken with a beautiful bottle of vino bianco from Friuli (my favorite region for white wine).

The water-gardens of Tivoli with sweeping cliff-top views really wowed both Ben and me. There were actual moments when our mouths fell agape at the beauty there and the obvious, monumental effort put into building the site centuries ago. The cooling effect of the rushing water through the fountains was a welcome respite from the afternoon sun.

We made it back to our hotel down the hill just in time for a quick nap and then, another lovely meal. The other dancers who ventured to Rome....they made it home much, much later:)

In front of Villa Adriana (I think Gladiator was filmed here).(I am making that up but it sure looks like it).

The site of our theater - Villa Adriana.

Ancient Sculpture.

Ancient trees.

Posing with Ben at the fountains of Tivoli Villa d'Este
Good wine!

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