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almost immediately after becoming Emperor Hadrian made plans for an imperial villa in the countryside about 30 kilometers east of Rome the scale of the villa is staggering the grounds accessible today cover some 90 acres but the estate was probably three times that we're sitting in one of the most beautiful spots of the villa Adriana in Tivoli but the word villa doesn't really give a proper impression of what Tivoli is because it's really the summer administration Centre for the whole of the Empire it's a huge complex designed to accommodate thousands of people not just the Emperor and his court but all the officials the administrators the army and of course the servants and the slaves needed to keep this whole town going and it gives us a sense of how Hadrian thought of himself as the Emperor he's building the Great Center here in Rome in fact he was very little in Rome he's travelling the frontiers of the empires in the north of England supervising the building of the wall he's in Syria he's in Africa he's on the Danube he's on the Nile but unlike Trajan who are constantly expanding Hadrian is consolidating and one of the ways he consolidates is by making this great administrative capital the villa arianna here in Tivoli he brings elements of the Empire back to the villa here in Tivoli creating not only an alternative seat of government but also the empire in miniature when this pool was excavated there were statues found of the Tiber and of the Nile and of crocodile but also statues of Greek gods and goddesses Greece and Egypt the whole of the eastern Mediterranean brought together here in Tivoli into this landscape it is one of Hadrian's great achievements both as a ruler as a propagandist for Empire and also as an organizer of spaces which are very very pleasing to be in