Ancient city with Latin name Tibur, called by Virgil as Tibur Superbum (Aeneid, Lib. VII) still present in the village emblem, is said to be more ancient than Rome (1265 a.C.). In first century a.C., Tivoli became the place where many wealthy Romans built their villas, as evidenced by the numerous ruins. Those still known and identified are attributed to Orazio, to Cassio, to Quintilio Varo, to Manlio Vopisco (whose ruins are incorporated in Villa Gregoriana). The most famous of these settlements is the Adriano's Villa built in the II century a.C. The huge area now includes about thirty buildings. The most famous and evocative are Teatro Marittimo, Pecile, and Canopo. Another major place of the town is certainly Villa d’Este, wanted by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este. The innovative system used to run all the spectacular fountains of the Villa consisted of a pipes network passing under the ground and carrying water directly from the Aniene river. All fountains were activated without use of any mechanical device, but only by exploiting natural pressure.
Villa D'Este and Villa Adriana are today part of the UNESCO's heritage.