Tivoli and the Tempio della Sibilla

by Rachel

Hard to believe that we’ve been in Roviano for two weeks already. We’re settling into a bit of a routine and I think that the people of Roviano are getting used to seeing us around (hopefully aren’t fed up with us and our barely existent Italian yet!). We’ve also had the great pleasure of sharing our time here with my dear close friend Penny and her son Jacob. They joined us about a week ago and will be here until late May. It’s great to have them here and we all get to learn about living in this gorgeous small Italian town together.

While we are based in the town there is a train station here so we do have access to other places too. A few days ago we went for our first visit to Tivoli. The visit was kind of a ‘sussing out’, so we could get a sense as to what the city is like and where we might like to go when we go back. The centre of Tivoli is lovely with lots of pizzerias and gelaterias (which meant happy fed kids) and great winding streets.

We will definitely go back, as Tivoli is home to Hadrian’s Villa and the Villa d’Este – both of which we want to see! But during this first visit we did go to the Tempio della Sibilla.

The temple site holds two temples, the older rectangular one dates from about 150 BCE and was possibly dedicated to the founder of the city – Tiburnus (Tivoli’s former name was Tibur). The round temple dates from about 100 BCE and sits on an artificial terrace. It is not known for certain to whom that was dedicated either, but it was likely to Sybil Albunea or Hercules. In the Middle Ages both were transformed into churches.

The site is small, hemmed in a bit by nearby buildings, but it sits on the acropolis of Tivoli overlooking the falls of the Aniene.  The view is amazing down into the Parco Villa Gregoriana – so naturally we had to wander down there too. We only explored a very small portion, but we did get to see the Mermaid’s Grotto; and really, once you’ve seen where the mermaids hang out, what more do you need?

Except perhaps a little bit of drama…



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