rome
Rome
Around Rome
Villa d'Este, Hadrian's Villa (Tivoli) - When the traffic in Rome gets to you, take a picnic and escape with the kids to the gardens of the Villa d'Este outside of Rome. The fountains are the best, especially the Avenue of Hundred Fountains, with fountains in the shape of obelisks and animal heads. Hadrian's Villa also has great gardens, statues, pools, don't miss the baths.
Etruscan tombs - From the 7th-5th centuries BC, the mysterious Etruscans were the sea power in the western Mediterranean. And, like the Egyptians, they believed you can take it with you. Etruscan tombs, built to look like houses, were filled with gold and silver jewelry, clothes and other household furnishings. And the Etruscans liked a good time. The tomb frescoes show that they enjoyed music and dance, athletics, and good eating. Two towns, Ceveteri and Tarquinia, on the coast north of Rome, were once Etruscan cities but today they are notable for the cities of the dead.
Ceveteri - The Banditaccia necropolis is a huge warren of tombs where you can run around. The tombs look like dome shaped houses covered with earth. Originally these were filled with gold and silver and other artifacts many of which are now in the Villa Giulia and Museo Gregoriano-Etrusco museums in Rome.
Tarquinia - The tombs in necropolis of Monterozzi (outside of town) are decorated with marvelous frescoes. The Tomb of Hunting and Fishing has outdoorsy scenes, the Tomb of the Bulls, wrestling and athletics. For a big banquet scene, the Tomb of Leopards shows people reclining on couches, dining on elegant food, listening to music.
Viterbo - If you want to see a very intact medieval town, visit Viterbo. In the 13th century, Viterbo was a hopping metropolis and today "you can still smell the meat on the spit." The old part of town is small enough to enjoy a day wandering through the piazzas, churches, and meandering streets. Viterbo, off the usual tourist routes, is the perfect day trip from Rome.
Parco dei Mostri, Bomarzo - 18 km from Viterbo is the "garden of monsters" at the Villa Orsini in Bomarzo. Built in the 16th century, the rocky outcroppings in the garden have been sculpted into huge animals, elephants, dragons and gargoyles. Kids will love the "Orc," an ogre with bulging eyes, two teeth and an open mouth that is over 6 ft. high (definitely a "big mouth").
Villa Lante, Bagnaia - Visit the Renaissance "water gardens" at the Villa Lante. The gardens have superb waterfalls and fountains, even a table where guests could cool their feet while eating (does that sound like your dining table at home …) You will need a guide to take you around the gardens, but there is a park next door for the kids to run.
Roman Ship Museum (Fiumicino) - Near the Leonardo da Vinci airport is the Museo delle Navi. Here you can see some Roman barges, shallow bottomed boats that were pulled by oxen along the Tiber river from the port to the city and Roman fishing boats, plus items salvaged from the ships, such as jewels and small statues.

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