Published: September 12th 2012September 12th 2012
Woke up to yet another lovely day – the sun shining and the temperature up in the 80’s. We didn’t expect this sort of lovely sunny weather in September. We stopped for petrol on the motorway and in usual fashion the attendant was giving me the once over whilst serving the fuel. He must have been pretty hard up ogling a pensioner.
We had an interesting experience further on along the road when we reached a part where three lanes went down to two and the traffic was funnelled into the narrowing road. On one side a rather impatient German tried to muscle his way in and force us over. Being British with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the cab it was impossible for the driver to see him so we ignored him and carried on in our own sweet way. He was forced to pull in behind us and was most unhappy at the thought. The next thing we noticed was him driving up our wrong side on the hard shoulder yet again trying to force us into the middle of the road. This time he succeeded in forcing us into the middle of road and
we sent a few tiny bollards flying into space as we ran out of road. What a nasty piece of driving.
We were heading for the famous Villa Adriana in Tivoli just outside of Rome. This was to be our furthest point of the holiday. Tivoli itself or at least the lower town was rather scruffy with cars parked on either side of the road making it hard to manoevour Suzy between the vehicles. Empty shops lined the way . The parking for Villa Adriana which we had checked out on Google Earth before we came was brilliant. Loads of room and very few vehicles on it. We find Google Earth excellent as we are able to check out parking and the routes we need to follow to get to them. Although we have failed miserably sometimes even after checking it seems in the main that Google Earth is worth its weight in gold. We parked amongst oleander bushes near to the buses and were the only motorhome on site.
When we arrived at the ticket desk I asked if there was any reduction for pensioners and was informed dryly that there was a discount for EU citizens
over 65. As himself qualified on both counts I asked for the discount only to be told we needed proof by Mrs Jobsworth.. All our documents were in the van and for 4 euros discount we couldn’t be bothered in the heat walking back for them. What a shame we don’t have identity cards. Our government some years ago mooted the idea of identity cards but they didn’t materialise on two counts. The first that they wanted us to pay for them and that didn’t seem fair and the second that they infringed on our civil liberties. In the end the idea went down the pan never to surface again so we need to carry either our driving licences or passports with us at all times which isn’t an awfully sensible idea. Mrs Ticket Lady grumpily gave us the tickets at full price without even a smile. She wouldn’t win any prizes for charm nor gain her NVQ in Customer Services.
The Villa was in a nutshell very Roman. It was spread over a huge site amongst olive trees and parasol pines which are so indicative of this region of Italy. We wondered how long it took to build
the complex and how many slaves were needed. The Villa is approached by the highest and longest Roman wall I have ever seen. It makes Wroxeter at home look tiny. We are blessed though where we live that we have roman remains in the form of gates, cemeteries, walls, museums full of roman goods and grave stones and even half an amphitheatre but there is nothing to compare with the size of this villa. It went on and on and was hard going in such heat. The water features and bath houses were the most impressive and in their time must have been magnificent with mosaics and amazing plasterwork. Ponds were full of ducks, terrapins and fishes and along the edges of the canals were stone nymphs, cariatids and even a stone alligator. All for the delight of Hadrian the builder of our longest wall in Britain . He probably deserved his villa after a few cold winters in the north of England.
After our visit we asked about buses up to the main town and were grumpily told that the bus left from outside the complex. It was like extracting teeth to get times out of Mrs Ticket Lady and when I bought tickets she only gave me singles. That of course meant I had to go back and buy the returns. Again no brownie points to this lady for being helpful. When the bus eventually arrived it was excellent value and we were transported to the higher town where we had lunch. The upper town was less shabby than the lower and contained many shops, a very helpful tourist office and street cafes. We bought granitas, ate spaghetti and salad and were served by a lovely girl for whom nothing was too much trouble. What a change from Mrs Grumpy.
Our next visit of the day was going to be to Villa D’Este and we made sure this time we had brought passports with us for cheaper entry