Tivoli is situated on the Aniene river to the east of Rome, in the Monti Tiburtini hills where the climate is fresher than Rome's. For this reason, the area was popular from ancient times onwards with Rome's moneyed classes, who built summer retreats in the area. As the town was on a major trading route from Rome to the Abruzzi, Tivoli has always been an important settlement. Modern Tivoli has around 50,000 inhabitants, and spreads out far beyond the crumblingly picturesque historical centre. In the suburb of Bagni di Tivoli, on the plains below the town centre, it is still possible to bathe in natural thermal springs.
There is plenty to occupy the visitor in Tivoli for a day, even if they miss out one of the two famous villas. Travellers keen to see all the sights of the area should note that the Villa Adriana is actually a bus ride outside town; and they may find their day stretched to an uncomfortable length. Some visitors choose to stay in Tivoli, away from the bustle of Rome; if you are very keen on spending a long time at the monuments, or planning to travel onwards through Italy this may be an option worth considering.