Tivoli was first settled around the 13th century BCE. It was probably a colony of Alba Longa and had strategic importance south of Rome with whom it was first a strategic ally but then later absorbed by it. In 90 BCE the city acquired Roman citizenship and was renowned as a resort famous for its water and beauty. Many rich Romans elected to build villas there.
During the Middle Ages it was an independent rival to Rome over the Lazio region until it finally fell under Papal control, gradually losing independence. In the Renaissance period the Roman Popes not only built magnificent constructions in Rome itself, but also embellished Tivoli with great buildings including the Rocca Pia castle to control the inhabitents of Tivoli - the Tiburtini.
The town was sacked twice during the 16th century and occupied several more times, lastly by the Austrians in 1744.
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