The word for the day today was patience. We had a free day today and a large group decided to go visit a town west of Rome called Tivoli. It is a good day's trip via a metro train and then a regional train taking about 2 hours one way. Tivoli is known for 2 ancient villas, Villa Adrianna and the Villa d'Este. The hope was that we were going to make it to both villas, but the bus system in Tivoli apparently does not always run on time... After 2 hours in a train we waited for the bus that would take us to Villa Adrianna (also known as Hadrian's Villa). Unfortunately, we ended up waiting an hour and a half before the bus came (somehow it completely missed one of the pick up times...more on that one) We ended up making it to the villa quite a bit later than we hoped, however, it was definitely worth it. The Villa Adrianna was built by Hadrian sometime between AD 118 and 138. It was one of the largest in the ancient world, encompassing more than 120 hectacres- of which about 40 are open to the public.
The immense size of the property is overwhelming. It took us almost 3 hours just walking around to see most of the sites. The fact that these structures are even partially standing after nearly 2,000 years is extremely difficult to wrap my head around. I can't even imagine how grandiose it must have been when Hadrian was alive. It must have been its own small city when he was there. Please see the pictures on the AP Studio Art tab under Works. I had to limit myself on these because I think I took almost 60 pictures of the ruins.
Mrs. Plagge's Random thoughts on Italy (more specifically Rome) after being here almost one week: (I hope to add to this list as we enter the next 2 weeks)
1) Even though it gets incredibly hot here during the day it cools off remarkably at night with the most awesome breezes. I Love that!
2) If an Italian tells you it's not that far, it probably is far- they have a twisted sense of distance
3) This feeds into #3- It is no wonder that everyone here is skinny after eating pasta, bread, cheese and gelato everyday- they all walk it off.
4) A dinner in Italy can easily take 2-3 hours with the waiter never once trying to get you to leave by giving you the check. You have to ask for the check or you could sit there all night.
5) Wine is cheaper in Rome than Coke typically is...
6) If you are thirsty for water while you are walking all over Rome, no worries, there are random water pumps and/or fountains all over the city that are fed by the aqueducts that you can fill up your bottle for free. And that water is usually cold and very good. Boy, those Romans knew what they were doing.
7) When walking around the city it is imperative that you pay attention to the sidewalks. Between the cobblestones and the fact that people do not pick up their dog's poop makes it a pretty precarious situation most days.
8) It appears that there is a large stray cat population that is all over the city. More to come on this one. I've heard word that there is some place called the Cat Forum where there are quite a lot of strays that live there. I must be honest that the idea intrigues me immensely, yet I am not sure that I really need to see this place in person. Maybe if I liked cats...
9) The bus system outside of Rome works on its own timetable. You should definitely not count on anything running on time. Maybe that has something to do with the phrase "La Dolce Vita"? For this American, it just stresses me out.
10) I LOVE that you can get on a train in Rome and pretty much end up anywhere in the country within a couple of hours.
I think that is it for now, but I am sure I will think of new ones to add as the next 2 weeks go on. Buona Notte! It is 10:45 pm here and I need to get to bed before 1 am tonight.