Villa Esedra



Outside Rome: Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli Gardens

Via di Villa Adriana, 65
00019 Tivoli
Province of Rome, Italy
077 453 4716

If you’re taking a day trip to Hadrian’s Villa and the nearby Tivoli gardens (which you absolutely should) you shouldn’t miss Villa Esedra, a charming restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating serving both classic and more modern Italian dishes.

Hadrian’s Villa was built as a summer retreat for the Emperor between 118 and 134 AD, and now serves as a beautiful open-air museum.

Even the most museum-overloaded visitor will find new things to marvel at in these beautifully preserved ruins.

Be sure to explore the Maritime Theater, a circular room with a moat and columns surrounding a stone island in the middle, as well as some of the incredible tile floors still intact in the private guest rooms.

The Tivoli gardens, UNESCO World Heritage Site, are enough to make anyone want to tie the knot, so beautiful and picturesque are these highly structured gardens, complete with fountains and a view of the surrounding area.

Built by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este in the 16th century, these gardens served as a model for many famous European gardens in the Baroque style.

The restaurant, located in the town of Tivoli, is truly “nonna’s” cooking; simple, without frills, and authentically Italian.

With ample indoor and outdoor seating, this restaurant is the perfect place for a large group lunch between tours. Try to sit outside in their garden for the perfect balance of summer heat and shade provided by large, white canopies.

The menu has a number of delicious house made pastas, the best of which are the gnocchi with grilled raddichio and nuts and the squid ink pasta.

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Bona Dea

Bona Dea
Via Rosolina, 100
00010 Villa Adriana
Tel. 077 430 3907

Another excellent choice during a trip to Hadrian’s Villa is Bona Dea, a lovely restaurant that marries Sicilian and Roman cuisines in the most appealing fashion.

The chef is Sicilian, but its location outside Rome influences the menu as well, making it a wonderful place to sample classic dishes from both traditions.

Service is prompt and friendly, and the atmosphere is especially welcoming to families and large parties. You may well end up sitting amidst a wedding party as they celebrate their nuptials, given that the area is known for Romans to have their receptions!

The parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmesan), gnocchetti alla crema di ceci con calamari (small potato gnocchi in cream sauce finished with garbanzo beans and calamari), and the classic spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams) are to die for.

Don’t miss the desserts on the menu, either, especially the torta alla ricotta (ricotta cake) which harkens to Sicilian cannoli.

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