Postcards from Italy

Tivoli: An Idyllic Respite from Rome

Located less than an hour from Rome’s teeming historic center, Tivoli has been a popular summer retreat for the city’s residents since the time of ancient Rome and through the Renaissance, and saw the construction of lavish villas and gardens used as pleasure palaces for the capital’s most powerful and wealthy noble families over the millennia. Today, this hilltop town—home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an Italian National Heritage Trust gem—is a popular day trip from Rome for those looking for a break from the relentless bustle of the city.

Tivoli(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

You can take just a few hours to tour the town’s main attraction, the 16th-century Villa d'Este famous for its ornate gardens and fountains, or spend an entire day and also visit Villa Adriana, Emperor Hadrian's sprawling estate; and the lush woodlands of Parco Villa Gregoriana. The small town of Tivoli itself is also worth a stroll, and is thick with traditional restaurants and trattorias for a lunch break during your visit. Here are the highlights to take in on a day trip to Tivoli:

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48 Hours: Bern

With its fairy-tale-ready cityscape of pitched roofs and soaring steeples set against dramatic Alpine peaks, Bern seems more the setting for the perfect Christmas photo shoot than a European capital. But despite its flawless old world charm, Bern is, indeed, the vibrant capital city of Switzerland, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most historic municipalities in the country.

(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

While many of our first-time visitors to Switzerland explore the Canton of Ticino for its fascinating mix of Mediterranean and Alpine elements and it's close proximity to Italy, but a quick trip to Bern is also a wonderful option as an introduction to the country or jumping-off spot for a longer trip through Switzerland. Bern offers a delightful old town thick with historic restaurants and breweries, a scenic river walk and panoramic overlook, a new habitat for the charismatic family of bears that symbolizes the city, and easy access to the dazzling surrounding countryside—in short, something to captivate everyone from gourmands to outdoor enthusiasts.

Bern Statehouse(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

Here’s how to spend an unforgettable 48 hours in Bern:

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