Rome, Tivoli, Lazio, Castel Gandolfo, Vatican City
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departure.
The gardens of Italy’s Lazio region overflow with color, bringing an artistic representation of the landscape to life. Surround yourself with the aroma of roses and chestnut trees. Follow historic mosaic pathways meandering through the verdant grass. Listen to the music playing from a medieval fountain, powered by the water coursing through the long-established channels. Your custom tailored tour immerses you in the opulent gardens of Rome and the villas of nearby towns, accentuating the splendor...
Rome – In the Wonder of Rome
The Eternal City of Rome has a captivating atmosphere wrapped in ancient architectural ruins and the contemporary life along the cobblestone streets. Your private transfer meets you at Fiumicino Airport upon your arrival in the city. The splendor of Rome comes quickly into view, from the towering four stories of the Colosseum to the polished marble stairs of the Spanish Steps. You relax in the comforts of your luxurious hotel before your guide meets you in the lobby for an introductory tour. Cross over the Sant’Angelo Bridge, which was first erected in the 2nd century AD. The three piers at the heart of the bridge are from back to the original construction.
The ten angels crafted in the 17th-century line the bridge leading to the stunning edifice of Castel Sant’Angelo. The Tiber River travels beneath the bridge and winds along the edges of ancient Rome. Cobbled walkways border the riverbank, providing a garden-like route to couples, joggers, and strollers wishing to enjoy the riverside ambiance. The bridge frames the dramatic circular outline of Castel Sant’Angelo. Emperor Hadrian erected the structure as a mausoleum to himself in the 2nd century AD. Rome incorporated the castle inside the city walls and renovated the intended mausoleum as one of Rome’s most powerful fortresses. During your tour, you find the beauty of Rome as much in the verdant cypress and chestnut trees as you do in around the enchanting architecture of the historic city.
Rome – The Blossoming Villas of Rome
In the morning, Rome fills with business people frequenting the cafes in search of a quick espresso before work. The scent of freshly baked brioche blends with the aroma of roasted coffee beans. After breakfast, your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you to the grand 16th-century Villa Lante in the town of Bagnaia. The villa is in fact one of Italy’s greatest gardens, designed during the Mannerist phase of Italy’s High Renaissance. The garden overtakes the hills like a fragrant oasis of greenery, trickling fountains, and serene shade. The estate covers more than 54 acres and contains an elaborate décor in the twin villas bordering the gardens.
The central fountain draws your focus, with trimmed hedges forming intricate geometric designs in segmented portions encircled by walking paths. The scent of carnations drifts across the landscape. Your guide leads you to the top of the gardens at the Nymphaeum, a grotto with three small waterfalls spilling into the pool. Three archways decorate the second story as a commentary on the relationship between nature and humanity. You feel as though you have stepped into a baroque painting at the Loggia on the highest terrace. The cardinal would engage in conversation with guests while the murmur of cascades accentuated the ambiance.
Rome – A Lavish Life
The Villa Borghese turns the cobblestone streets and rustic red brick of Rome into a verdant park spanning more than 225 acres. After breakfast, your private guide leads you to the 17th-century monastery of Castello Ruspoli before entering the open space of the garden complex at the Villa Borghese. Statues and busts line the walkways leading to marvelous fountains and reflective lakes. Once inside the gardens, you feel as though you have left Rome behind. The carousel fills with children eager to ride the painted horses. A replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater overlooks the water.
Couples paddle out onto the artificial lake with a rowboat in search of a private moment beneath the changing leaves on the trees. The garden was originally a private vineyard, but in the early 17th century, Cardinal Scipione Borghese turned the private estate into a public green space. A small island at the heart of the lake holds a 19th-century replica of the Temple of Aesculapius. Ducks and geese glide around the shores of the small island, contrasting the size of the Doric pillars. Pine trees rise up to 65 feet tall, and images of eagles add a regal character to the statuary around the garden walls.
Tivoli – In the Company of Emperors
The town of Tivoli overlooks the Aniene River east of Rome, drawing vacationers from the city, eager to bask in the fresh air and cool climate. Roman noblemen and emperors enjoyed the natural beauty of the region that once grew to approximately 50,000 people. In the morning, your guide leads you to the edges of the picturesque historic center pointing out the stone of the town wall built in the 4th century BC. On the outskirts of town, you find the extraordinary grounds of Villa d’Este, which was erected in the 16th century atop a former Benedictine convent. The rooms in the villa contain opulent frescoes, but the true treasure of the estate is the collection of gardens. Follow the mosaic path into the verdant garden accented with cypress and oak trees.
It feels like you have stepped into the gardens of legend, embellished with delicate statuary and remarkable waterworks. The walkways along the terraces open to elaborate views of the fountains and the valley. Three fishing ponds resemble reflective pools against the spouting fountain of Fontana dell’Organo. Your guide explains the delicate nature of the fountain; when water would flow through the original pumps, the fountain would play music. After years of restoration, you can hear the music once again. Renovated pipes and an intricate understanding of the fountain’s mechanics lets the water play the organ, emanating four songs composed during the Italian Renaissance, providing a breathtaking experience in the lavish garden.
Lazio – Secret Lives of Romans
The beauty of the gardens around Rome is indelible to the nature of the region. The splendor of Lazio grows each moment during your exploration of the countryside. Today you make your way to the stunning Oasis of Ninfa, one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. The marvelous landscape overtakes the lowlands the Lepini Mountains, reaching out to the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the 14th century, the walled city of Ninfa flourished, containing a magnificent castle and numerous churches. The oasis now resembles a work of art overtaken its surroundings. In the 1920s the waterlogged ruins were repurposed as a pleasure garden.
The castle tower continues to soar above the lush grass. The pond reflects the trees growing on the banks. More than 1,300 species of plants grow on the 45 acres, including vibrant Japanese maples. Cherry trees blossom in the spring with bright pink petals. Roses bloom along the riverbank and grow over the town ruins. Romans imported the lake trout from Africa over 2,000 years ago. The castle walls of the Sermoneta run along the hilltop in the distance. You feel separate from the medieval towns and ancient history of Lazio. Walk along the serene landscape and bask in the aroma of tulip trees.
Castel Gandolfo – Summer with the Papacy
In the morning, students take rowboats out onto the Tiber River and practice rowing. The sunlight spreads across the water as it rises over the seven hills of Rome. Your guide meets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to the town of Castel Gandolfo, home to the summer palace of the Pope. The cathedral dome creates the skyline of the town, adding to the colorful homes overlooking the glassy water of the Lake Albano. The streets meander around the grandeur of the historic papal palace, which was erected in the 16th century by the pope’s nephew.
The estate encompasses more than 135 acres and exhibits holm oak parks, along with the ruins from Roman Emperor Domitian’s 1st-century AD country residence. Your guide leads you along the Giardino della Madonnina, one of Pope Benedict’s favorite paths to wander. The walkway winds along ancient masonry leftover from the area’s most prestigious villa. The parterres are manicured into geometrical shapes, framed by soaring cypress trees. Pine trees open like umbrellas against the spreading branches of seasoned cedar trees. The aroma of countless begonias adds to the tranquil landscape. After lunch, you make your way to the hilltop town of Ariccia to wander along the baroque paths of the prestigious Chigi Palace.
Vatican City - Finding the Footsteps of Popes
You have come to relish your mornings in Rome and the delicate aroma of the sweet brioche emanating from the corner cafes in the city. You walk amongst the early crowd of business people and watch them sip their espresso before venturing to the office. The baroque fountains of the city continue to trickle with quiet pleasure before the squares fill with people frequenting the restaurants or strolling along the hidden pathways of Rome. After breakfast, your guides at Eyes of Rome lead you to Vatican City to enter into the coveted greenery of the Vatican Gardens. The grounds have an ethereal and almost secretive ambiance. The gardens cover nearly half of Vatican City’s 109 acres. As you sink into amazement, gazing at the astonishing works of art, your Eyes of Rome tour leaders will teach you the rich history and significance of the city’s powerful influence of the world.
The perfectly manicured parterres lead to hidden grottoes and monuments depicting saintly figures. The gardens were erected in the 13th century as a space for meditation. Saint Therese of Lisieux, also known as Little Flower, was deemed the keeper of the gardens. Pope Pius XI dedicated a small shrine to her in the sub-garden near the Leonine walls. The marble monument to Our Lady of Guadalupe depicts the saintly lady as a part of the tunic viewed by Saint Juan Diego. Continue your exploration of Rome’s lavish gardens at the Villa Medici, in view of the Spanish Steps. From the garden, you can see the shimmering dome of St. Peter’s Basilica towering over the city.
Rome - Another Season to Bloom
In the morning, the gates of Villa Orsini open to the public. The looping trails lead to glades and rocky outcrops overlooking steep ravines. Statues of mythical beasts and deities decorate the trails turning the villa garden into a wonderland of monsters. Visitors to Rome wander along the meandering cobbled streets in search of the Trevi Fountain or Colosseum. Locals linger in the green spaces basking in a fresh moment of countryside ambiance. Birds chirp in the oak trees. School children sing around neoclassical facades as if they stepped out of a film. The city brims with antiquity and modernity, accentuated by the lavish gardens of former noble families and private palaces. You could spend months visiting only the gardens of the city and still find treasures of lushness hidden behind a forgotten ruin or medieval home. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you in the lobby of your hotel and escorts you to Fiumicino Airport for your flight home.
- Wander along the footpaths of the Vatican Gardens to witness the opulence of the papacy in a spaced dedicated to tranquility
- Discover the unique Gardens of Ninfa, an oasis of 45 acres garnishing 1,300 different species of exotic plants growing over medieval ruins
- Stroll or bike through the fabulous gardens of the Villa Borghese, bordered by three museums and filled with sensational adornments
- Delight in the magnificent fountains of Villa d’Este in Tivoli, a renaissance palace home to an array of manicured shrubberies and enchanting waterworks
- Visit the summer palace of the popes in the charming hilltop town of Castel Gandolfo, offering a gorgeous panorama of Lake Albano
- Traverse the paths of the Villa Medici on Pincian Hill in view of the iconic monuments of Rome
- Explore the lavish grounds of Hadrian’s Villa, known for the replica statuary and artifacts depicting the Roman emperor’s travels through the empire
- Relish the period garden design at the estate of Villa Lante, which embodies the ideals of symmetry
Rome is filled with secret gardens waiting for exploration. Your 8-day tour allows you to discover the depths of the colorful region of Lazio within the villas and palatial gardens. Follow along the footpaths made for popes and discover a former medieval town hidden by the lush growth of exotic plants. Whether basking in a slice of the country inside the bustling borders of Rome or visiting the countryside to relax in the serene parterres overlooking an azure lake, you will have an unforgettable experience of exploring a historic oasis.
Your verdant tour begins with your arrival in Rome at the Fiumicino Airport. Your private transfer escorts you into the heart of the city to embark on an introductory tour of the city. Cross the Sant’Angelo Bridge for an open-air museum ambiance with a view of the Tiber River. The following day, your guide leads you through the Italianate gardens of Villa Lante and Villa Farnese. The former fortress used the green space as a place for its inhabitants to enjoy a piece of the outside world. Travel to the former monastery of Castello Ruspoli on day three to walk along the detailed parterres of the 17th-century garden.
In the afternoon, you have an in-depth visit to the Borghese Gardens, home to relaxing fountains and lake easily traversed by a rowboat. Next, you venture to the town of Tivoli to discover the wondrous villa of Roman Emperor Hadrian, followed by the magnificent waterworks of the Renaissance estate at Villa d’Este. The following day takes you the market town of Sermoneta to view the pastel colored homes rising out of the emerald forest. Beneath the town lies the medieval town of Ninfa, now covered with an oasis of exotic plants, numbering nearly 1,300 species in total. Your guide escorts you to the hilltop town of Castel Gandolfo, which is located on a crater rim view of Lake Albano.
The town is home to the papal summer palace, which your guide leads you through on an elaborate tour of the 17th-century estate. In the afternoon, you venture to Palazzo Chigi in the town of Ariccia to bask in the marvelous decor of the 16th-century Italianate design. The next day, you reach the pinnacle of garden opulence with a tour of the Vatican Gardens. Indulge in the scent of chestnut trees and view the unique monuments dedicated to patron saints. Continue your afternoon of grandeur at the Villa Medici located atop Pincian Hill at the heart of historic Rome. Your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to Fiumicino Airport where you trade in blossoms of the Eternal City for home.
$2,195 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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