Sant'Antonio

Tivoli, near Rome, Italy

Overview

A former monastery in one of Europe’s most inspiring landscapes, just outside Rome. The house was built over a Roman villa, believed to have belonged to the poet Horace. Each room has a shuttered window opening onto the valley below, a famous waterwall and Tivoli itself.

Please click here to view this page in Italian

  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine

Beds 4 Twin, 2 Double

Sleeps
12
4 nights from
£851 equivalent to £17.73 per person, per night

‘The loveliest view in the world’: a place to fall in love with

The steep and terraced gardens, where olive and orange trees grow, overlook Tivoli’s famous cascade and lead to... a moment of discovery it would be unfair to spoil for you in advance. Frederick Searle bought the old monastery of Sant’Antonio near Tivoli in 1878, when he fell in love with it as a place from which to paint the great waterfall on the other side of the ravine. A visit today is equally enchanting. The little church at the top is dedicated to the Sant’Antonio of Padua and the simple rooms of the house look onto what has been described as the ‘loveliest view in the world’. Hints of a distant past appear in cells with mosaic floors, and in the kitchen, where on the inner wall is some ‘opus reticulatum’, a sign of Romans at work.

Roman origins, gently repaired

It is thrilling to open the old door in the house wall after passing through an arcaded loggia and down to the level of the fruitful, scented and beautiful terraced garden. The walls of a Roman villa, from about 60 BC and believed to have belonged to the poet Horace, survive up to the middle floor of the present house, itself begun in about 850 AD. Franciscan monks have lived here, and Popes. The final additions were made ‘as late’ as the 17th century. It was abandoned around 1870 and rescued by the Searles, who spent many years gently repairing it.

Sant’Antonio has descended to their great-great-grandson. Knowing of our involvement with Keats’ House in Rome, he asked us for help. With the greatest of pleasure, we are letting his house for him. As if Sant’Antonio itself were not enough, at Tivoli you can visit the Villa d’Este, with its incomparable fountains, and Hadrian’s Villa, the inspiration for so many British garden buildings. Lazio, with its hills and lakes, its castles, gardens and wines, its relics of Rome and Etrusca, is one of the most beautiful and least-known regions of Italy. And then of course there is the city of Rome, a short drive or train ride away.

‘A room with a view is all very well – but a bathroom with a view: bliss.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

The panoramic views from the hills surrounding Rome are fabulously uplifting and energising. The vastness of the Eternal City spread below, perhaps a flash of sea on the horizon, conveys an incredible sense of power and spirituality. No wonder the landscape is dotted with so many temples, shrines, monasteries, castles and villas.

Just at the top of the ‘Valle Gaudente’, Sant’Antonio could not be more blessed. Within a few minutes’ drive, one can stroll around the most important Italian garden of the Renaissance at Villa d’Este, or one can explore the most important surviving Roman villa in the world, Villa Adriana. You will find the Romantic gardens of Villa Gregoriana, with its grottos, ruins and falls, at the feet of Tivoli’s acropolis.

You can follow a pilgrim’s route while enjoying the mountainous landscape. Not far from Sant’Antonio rises the Neoclassical shrine of Quintiliolo, dedicated to a XIII century icon of the Virgin and the Child. Pay a visit to Subiaco’s Benedictine monasteries of Santa Scolastica and San Benedetto to admire, among other things, the only full-length portrait of S. Francis painted during his lifetime. In the Subiaco area, enclosed in the mountains between Lazio and Abruzzo, the shrine of Santissima Trinità in the medieval hamlet of Vallepietra, with its Byzantine-inspired effigy of the Holy Trinity and its catacombs, attracts many visitors.

Spend a day or two exploring the picturesque little towns perched on the hilltops of the Aniene Valley. Arsoli, for instance, is renowned for its medieval Castello Massimo, Anticoli Corrado for its modern art museum in the Palazzo Baronale. Mandela, Roviano, Vicovaro and Sambuci boast their own fascinating castles, fortresses and churches. In the summer months these towns offer a full programme of events: food fairs, traditional music and games, usually after a saint’s day procession. In July, for instance, don’t miss the Palio Madama Margherita d’Austria (tournament among the town’s ancient neighbourhoods) held at Castel Madama, where you can experience life as it was during the Renaissance.

For a relaxing spa day, try Terme di Tivoli, a famous resort with mineral spring waters, or alternatively, Acqua Piper Guidonia, a water park for adults and kids.

Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a short driveway from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Although Tivoli railway station is served by regular trains from Rome, public transport between Tivoli and Sant'Antonio is very limited. If you plan to do much travelling around it is advisable to hire a car.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there are four parking spaces by the entrance.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is gas central heating and an open fire.
    Fuel for the fire can be purchased from the housekeeper..
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also a gas cooker and a dishwasher.



  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are four bathrooms, two with free-standing shower units and two with baths. There is an additional wc.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The internal stairs are not particularly difficult.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

A medieval monastery on the site of a Roman villa

A medieval monastery grafted onto a Roman villa of the time of Caesar Augustus or before, rescued from abandon in 1879 by an Englishman newly returned to Europe from the West Indies. Add to these the well-founded belief that a frequent guest at this villa, if not one of its earliest owners, was the poet Horace; that across the ravine thunders the water of the Anio, with the temples of Vesta and the Sibyl poised above it; that all of these are on the outskirts of Tivoli, the Roman Tibur; and you are approaching something very near the heart of the civilisation that has moulded Europe for two millennia.

It is fitting that the revival of this place should have fallen to an Englishmen, because those two names, Horace and Tivoli, have a particular resonance for his countrymen. From the Middle Ages, English boys learned their reading and writing by means of Horace’s Odes and Satires, along with the works of his contemporary Virgil and other writers of the Augustan Age. Only in the late 20th century has academic education ceased to be built on these cornerstones.

Generations of Englishmen, therefore, absorbed not only Horace’s good sense and poetry but also his geography in their earliest years. Not all left it thankfully behind with their schooldays. For many, the name of Tivoli conjured up associations like that of Holywood for a cinema-fed generation. This became all the more so from the 17th century, when Englishmen first began to visit Italy in large numbers, and to carry its influence home in the most direct manner, in their paintings and their buildings and their gardens. The dramatic landscape of Tivoli appealed strongly to painters, notably the great French creators of an ideal Classical world, Claude Lorrain and Gaspard Dughet. Their English imitators, such as Richard Wilson, followed them there. Those who could not paint, such as the writer Joseph Addison, sought the places from which the best paintings might be composed, and then murmured to themselves of “Tivoli’s delightful shades, and Anio rolling in cascades”.

Frederick Searle was seeking a place to sketch the waterfall when he first saw Sant’Antonio and was told that this was “la casa di Orazio”. Not only did he make it his own home, but he encouraged scholars and archaeologists to share his discoveries. This role was carried on by his daughter Georgina, and her husband George Hallam, and then by her great-niece, Lucy d'Ailhaud Brisis. In this generation it has been Count Roger de Brisis who has taken on the care of Sant’Antonio and, with Landmark’s help, has made it possible for you to stay here.

To read the full history album for Sant'Antonio please click here.

Restoration

Only minor repairs needed

The structure of Sant’Antonio has been maintained in a satisfactory state since Frederick Searle died a century ago, and modernised successively since 1945, so works in anticipation of its use by the Landmark Trust have been limited to minor repairs to the fabric and rooms, and small improvements in the kitchen and the bathrooms, all carried out by Italian artisans.

The joinery of the ancient windows needed more attention, and the Landmark Trust’s architect John Bucknall set up a programme for minimum repairs which were carried out by Landmark’s craftsmen. The harmful effects of the road on the church are a constant worry and its long-term health has still to be assured.

It could be said that Sant’Antonio was already fairly close to the Landmark ideal before 1995, so the arrangement of the rooms has proceeded with a light touch. Both the Landmark Trust and the owners have a meticulous approach to furnishing, so interventions have been limited to beds, lighting and so forth, again using a combination of local and English skills.

The care of the garden remains in the hands of the owners.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.