VILLA D’ESTE /TIVOLI GARDENS—ITALY
On my last tour in Italy as a request from my travellers (who loved gardens), we visited Villa d’Este at Tivoli . It was such an amazing place that I have added it to my La Dolce Vita Tour of Italy in 2016 .
The Villa d'Este was owned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, he was the son of
Lucrezia Borgia, anyone who has watched the TV show ‘the Borgias’ ( starring Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI), the controversial pope who openly had his children living in the Vatican, his son Cesare Borgia is also a name in history that may be familiar to you.
Anyway, to say that Lucrezia had an interesting upbringing is really an understatement. However, she eventually ended up married to Alfonso I d’Este who was the ruler of the city state of Ferrara during the Renaissance.
Her son the Cardinal Ippolito badly wanted to become the Pope, but missed out on this title and so in compensation he was made the Governor of Tivoli, with the gift of the existing villa.
Part of our visit here enables us to walk through this villa on the way to the
garden. While the rooms no longer have furniture in them, the grand rooms and vaulted ceilings are covered with stunning frescoes. There are also spectacular views of the garden from the villa.
The Villa d'Este's fame, however, is due more to its gardens than to the villa,
although it too has been celebrated in poetry, painting and music.
The garden is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its
significance in the history of garden design, and its fountains are famous
worldwide. Film fans will recognise many of the garden's features in the opening sequence of Three Coins in the Fountain.
Walking around the garden with its 500 plus fountains, feels like being in a mythical garden of the ancient past with its statues, grottos, columns and
reliefs Each alley, path or avenue reveals a new mossy fountain in a carefully landscaped vista.
The most famous Fontana dell'Organo is named after an elaborate water-operated organ hidden behind its complex architecture. Its construction started in 1568, but it was completed only in 1611. This musical fountain seemed like a miracle when it was first built, which never ceased to amaze visitors to the Villa.
Villa d’Este is 34 kms from Rome and you will need about 2 hours to enjoy it.
MARY HAMILTON-SMITH : AUSTRALIAN WOMENS TRAVEL
Call: 0405 228 560