A map of the Villa Jovis; source unknown. Note the cisterns in the heart of the complex.
To reach the Villa Jovis, you need to take the funicolare to the centre of town and then walk about 2 km to reach the archaeological site. Be warned: it’s a long climb up to reach the site and there are no shortcuts available, so it’s best not to do this during the hottest time of the day. You should also bring water along. You’ll come across a few points where you can refill your bottles if necessary.
The site itself is large, but you can explore it in a couple of hours. There is a path laid out that will take you around and through the complex in a counter-clockwise direction. You’ll start in the entrance area, then move to the servants’ quarters, where Tiberius’ servants (and slaves!) lived. You’ll then pass though the imperial quarters. A large part of the site consists of cisterns, where rain water was collected – the villa’s only source of fresh water. The final section that you’ll pass through is the villa’s bath complex.
The site has lots of signs that provide helpful information, so you’ll always have a good idea of where you are within the complex. You’ll still need to use your imagination to picture what the villa may have looked like at one point, but traces of floor mosaics and even paint on some of the interior walls will facilitate this. There are also a few lookout points where you’ll have an excellent view of the sea. These points are also great places for a makeshift picknick.