A Day Trip to Tivoli

As great as the city is, sometimes you just need a little break from the city life.  This past week we escaped the city for an afternoon and headed to Tivoli.  It was my first time visiting Tivoli, but it won’t be my last.  I was smitten with the ancient, picturesque town.  Tivoli is where ancient Roman emperors built their ‘summer homes’ just a short distance outside of Rome.  Rome is filled with antiquities, but did you know history and settlement of Tivoli can be traced back to 13th century BC?  Pretty incredible!  

We decided to visit Villa Gregoriana.  We had heard Villa Gregoriana had beautiful waterfalls, and boy did we hear correct.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  We had a wonderful afternoon there…complete with waterfalls, rainbows and amazing views!  

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.  The steps can be a little difficult to manage in certain areas.  Be prepared to do a good bit of climbing up and down stairs too.  Don’t let the steps deter you though, the villa is worth a visit.  

Once you make your way through the winding trails and waterfalls, you will exit the villa near the Temple of Vesta.  The temple was dedicated to Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home in Roman mythology.  

Directly next to the Temple of Vesta is a charming restaurant with the quaint town of Tivoli as the backdrop.  We did not have a chance to eat here as we arrived a little early for dinner, but we will plan to do so next time because it looked really lovely.  

Below are two short videos of the waterfalls and rainbow we saw during our visit.  Hope you enjoy!


Festa de’ Noantri – Procession Along the Tiber River

Remember Festa de’ Noantri I told you about a few days ago?  It is the festival that dates back to the early 1500’s and takes place in Trastevere each year.  During the festival, which is held in June, a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried in procession through the streets and neighborhoods of Trastevere and along the Tiber River.  I was fortunate to be able to catch the river procession this year.  It took place this past Sunday, July 24th.  Below are a few photos from the event.  
To read more on the history of Festa de’ Noantri, click here.  
Enjoying a lovely sunset as we wait for the procession to begin.  



Getting ready for the night’s festivities. . .

Festa de’ Noantri is a festival that takes place in Trastevere each year.  The festival dates back to the early 1500’s.  The story is that there was a great storm, and after the storm settled several fisherman went down to the Tiber River and found a statue of the Virgin Mary carved from cedar wood.  The statue was given to the Carmelites and to the Church of St. Chrysogonus in Trastevere.  This is where the name ‘Our Lady of Mount Caramel’ originated.  Each year during June, a statue of the Virgin Mary is carried in procession through the streets and neighborhoods of Trastevere and along the Tiber River.  The festival began as a religious celebration, but over time it has transformed into much more.  The procession still takes place and religious services are held, but the streets of Trastevere are also filled with entertainment.  You will find musical acts, concerts, plays, films, games and even a firework display.  The firework display is scheduled to take place tonight, Sunday, July 24th at 11:30 PM. If you haven’t been to Trastevere to take in the fun of the festival, you still have a few more days, as the festival ends on the 26th.  The festival is also free to attend.  

Rome Celebrates Two Patron Saints. . .

St. Peter’s Basilica located within the Vatican City
St. Peter Holding the Keys to Heaven
Rome celebrates its two patron saints, St. Peter and St. Paul, each year on June 29th.  According to legend, the two were martyred in Rome on the same day in 64 AD, although at different places.  They were martyred for teaching Christianity.  St. Peter, known as the first Pope by the Roman Catholic Church, was crucified.  St. Paul, being a Roman citizen, was beheaded by sword (because he was a Roman citizen, he was not allowed death by crucifixion).  Also according to legend, it is said St. Peter’s Basilica is built over the burial site of St. Peter.  
Each year Rome honors and remembers the saints with the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.  It is a public holiday in Rome, and a holy day of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church.  Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to conduct a Papal Mass at the Vatican’s Basilica on Wednesday, June 29th at 9:30 AM, in honor of the holy feast day.   
If you are planning to be in the Eternal City on June 29th, keep in mind it is a public holiday in Rome, meaning many businesses are likely to be closed.  It’s also a perfect chance to catch a glimpse of the Pope if that is something on your to-do list.