[Good website for info on the Villa
This is going to be written as a Rome to Hadrian's Villa (in Italian 'Villa Adriana') daytrip. But this same CO.TRA.L bus also goes to Tivoli. It is one of two buses to Tivoli, one bus takes the direct route down Via Tiburtina to Tivoli and the other takes a round-about route down Via Prenestina into the country and passes by Hadrian's Villa, this is the bus that we will be using.
Doing this daytrip I suggest getting all your tickets before departing on the COTRAL bus from the Metro Station. Only because the Snackbar outside of the Villa which is listed in American & European guidebooks to buy tickets at was closed that day. But with the Snackbar on your left if you walk 200m up the street there is a Tabacchi on the left. This was discovered by the Dutch father who desperately needed 4 tickets that day .
I am going to go into detail because I always do but where the important direction info is I will capitalize (I know it makes reading harder but it will print-out alot better).
Take 'METRO LINE B' towards 'REBIBBIA'.
GET OFF at the 'PONTE MAMMOLO' station (~13min from Termini). This is an outside open-air station at streetlevel.
DO NOT follow the herd getting off the Metro, they are going left & right on the Platform to take the stairs downstairs to the local buses or to walk where they are going.
You want to walk straight ahead 20m but there is a building in your way so use the doors .
So the metro tracks '||' are behind you and you want to do this '<--||'.
Now you are still outside and there are 13 COTRAL Bus Platforms in front of you.
Your bus will leave from the 'NUMBER 3' bus platform. From this #3 bus platform you could throw a rock from there over that bldg you just passed thru and hit the metro tracks you arrived on .
Now all you need are the tickets (1.6e/1-way) and you have a few options.
Now at the end of the bldg you passed thru on the #1 bus platform end there is a COTRAL ticket booth. The sign said it opens at 0930 but it did open at 0830.
So get your tickets there if they're open. Remember it's 'Villa Adriana' in Italian.
Now either break-out the phrasebook or do the dumb tourist routine but the ticketseller will know you either want Tivoli or Hadrian's Villa or both because you're a tourist .
So ask for "Roma-Villa Adriana-Roma tickets for this daytrip.
But if you're also going to Tivoli ask for Roma-Tivoli-Villa Adriana-Roma or Roma-Villa Adriana-Tivoli-Roma tickets. It's just better to get all your tickets there and be sure to VALIDATE each one for each bus you use.
Of course if you're going to Tivoli first or just Tivoli ask which platform the next bus leaves from.
And believe me you'll know when you get to Tivoli . You climb a mountain to get to it and it is the last stop. So on your return to Rome from Tivoli *IIRC* you can take the buses signposted with 'TIVOLI- V.TIBERTINA OR V.ADR-V.PREN-ROMA on them (V.ADR is Villa Adriana and V.PREN is Via Prenestina. But perhaps someone can add better info about Tivoli and the buses, it's been 8yrs since I went to Tivoli.
[Also a local 4X bus does this Tivoli-Villa Hadrain-Tivoli leg so you can also take that bus from either place rather than a Cotral bus. The ticket is cheap so you could buy 1 and just take whatever bus arrives first]
Ok if that COTRAL ticket booth is closed there are 2 ticket machines nearby. But probably the best option is just to go downstairs, there are Tabacchi/Newstands downstairs and one outside in front where the local buses leave from. Also there is a wc/bathroom downstairs.
Also always doublecheck even though I'm certain it always leaves from platform #3. So when you buy your ticket ask which BINARIO the bus leaves from, although I'm not sure if Binario is the correct term for buses (it is for trains meaning Platform) but they will know what you mean .
And when you see all those COTRAL buses downstairs underground don't worry that is just the Arrivals area which you will be returning to later.
Ok go back over to the #3 bus platform and wait. The bus's front sign will read 'ROMA-V. PRENESTINA-TIVOLI'.
When the bus arrives enter thru the front door and play 'dumb tourist' again and ask the driver 'Villa Adriana?', just to let him know that is where you are going and hopefully he will signal you, also try to sit near the front.
Validate your ticket in the machine near the front door.
Ok this is roughly the timeline of the trip and will actually depend on traffic, I will capitalize the important sections.
I departed on the bus at 0845 and arrived at the Villa's bus stop ~1hr later but I'll start the time off at 0000.
0000: Depart Ponte Mammolo.
0005: Get on Autostrada.
0010: Exit Autostrada to another Autostrada.
0015: Exit Autostrada onto 2-lane street in commerical area.
0027: Take a left at a 'Y' onto a narrower 2-lane road.
0032: Go thru underpass for RR tracks in rural area.
0035: Go thru underpass for Autostrada in rural area.
0036: TAKE RIGHT AT 'Y' IN ROAD. You are now going to a small village and you will *return along this same road* back to this same 'Y' in ~11min [Y<--->O].
0037: Pass thru cool rock underpass, driver will honk-honk . And now you are on a narrow windy road.
0042: Enter small town piazza with bus stop and exit town.
0047: *Back to the 0036 'Y'* and take the other branch onward.
0048: Pass thru underpass.
0049: ENTER ONTO BUSY WIDE 2-LANE STREET IN COMMERCIAL AREA THAT WILL HAVE A GRASS MEDIAN/DIVIDER BETWEEN THE 2 LANES.
0054: GRASS MEDIAN/DIVIDER ENDS. STREET IS NOW A 2-LANE. IN 150M ON THE LEFT NEARBY YOU WILL SEE CASTLE-LIKE STRUCTURE (a large round tower with the typical T|_|T_|T_|T all around the top).
0056: AT THIS CASTLE-TOWER THE BUS MAKES A RIGHT TURN DOWN A NARROW
RESIDENTIAL/SMALL BUSINESS ROAD (roadsign on corner says 'Villa Adriana').
This road is ~1mi/1.6km long and at the end it is a 'T'.
0059: BUS MAKES A LEFT TURN AT THE 'T' AND STOPS AT THE VILLA ADRIANA BUS STOP (COTRAL BUS SIGN ON POLE) IN 40M.
NOW WALK BACK TO THE 'T' AND TAKE THE RIGHT TURN AND WALK 250M TO THE VILLA HADRIAN'S ENTRANCE.
BOTTOMLINE: Enjoy the bus ride out, just remember when you do that offshoot trip off the road to that small town (0036 to 0047) and return back again to the 'Y' you turned at, you are ~12min from the Villa Hadrain's bus stop.
[Ok more about this 0059 'T'. You are coming down the road again on the bus thru this residential/small business area. 50m before the 'T' there will be a yellow house on the right and a yellow 2-story apartment bldg on the left.
Right at the 'T' there is a fenced-in playground straight ahead, on the left is a 'Pizzeria la Pergola' and on the right a half dozen large wheeled trash dumpsters.
The bus makes a 'hard left', on the left in 20m is the snackbar that sells tickets with a COTRAL bus sign in front. This is where the COTRAL bus back to Rome arrives, it will be coming in from the opposite direction you are heading now and will say 'TIVOLI-V.ADR-V.PREN-ROMA' (tivoli-villa adriana-via prenestina-rome).
Now walk back and take that right branch of the 'T' [bus-stops<-T-->Villa-Hadrian] straight to Hadrian's Villa (250m).]
AT HADRIAN'S VILLA:
On the left is a bldg with bookstore & giftshop, probably closed wc's and the ticket booths which also rents the audioguide.
Tickets are 9e and the audioguide is 4e. I bought a 'Hadrian's Villa' guidebook 11e in Rome (sold at any of the historical sites and museums bookstores and also sold at this site) and highlighted different little things I wanted to see.
The guidebook and the audioguide covers the site best but just the audioguide or the guidebook would also be ok.
Watch you change at the ticket booths! I asked for a ticket and before I could ask for the audioguide the girl said 10e although the signs say 9e. So I'm leary of her right off the bat.
So I ask for the audioguide also and give her 20e and my driving license as security for the audioguide.
She slids the tray back to me and right *in front* is my ticket, audioguide and a 5e bill (it should be 7e).
No one is behind me so I slowly put the audioguide aound my neck, ticket in pocket and the 5e bill in my wallet. I do this because in the *far back corner* of the tray almost out of sight is my 2 euro change.
She does a slight glance at me out of the corner of her eye and I reach in and take my change and lightly tap it on the counter and walk away.
I'm sure she makes a nice tip for herself at the end of the day from tourists who "accidently forget to take all their change".
Go thru the ticket turnstiles and up the road on the right (50m). Go up ~250m and you will see a long high wall this is the PECILE (where the audioguide tour begins) and in front of it is a grass & tree area which has a bldg with a nice model of the Villa on the left. And on the right a low 1m bldg which is the wc/bathrooms.
There are also bathrooms in the site at the Museum bldg which is alongside the CANOPUS.
There are also a few drinking fountains on the site but you might want to take along a waterbottle and some snacks.
I spent 5hrs at the Villa and visited all the sites but I'm slow and nerdy and have to find *everything* but you could do a decent visit in 3hrs following the audioguide.
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Rome: Hadrian's (Adriana) Villa Daytrip Directions With Partial Tivoli Directions
[Good website for info on the Villa