Italy's Best Sights: Villa d'Este, Tivoli

You cannot talk about tourist destinations in Italy without mentioning the palace and gardens of Villa d’Este in Tivoli. It remains one of the most ethereal features from the Renaissance period. The palace has been remarkably well preserved and the gardens are in a class of their own. The palace and its gardens had profound influence on the 16th century architecture


9 September 1550 - Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este was appointed the governor of the town of Tivoli. The official residence given to him was part monastery and thus was not suitable for the administrative functions of a governor. He therefore decided to build a Pirro Ligorio inspired villa with splendid gardens.

The palace

The ensemble occupied a surface area of 4.5 hectares featuring a palace and a garden. The palace was made up of a body of 3 storeys, each marked by a row of windows and side pavilions. A beautiful façade interrupted the well-defined loggia in the middle. The lower level of the palace was decorated with the Fountain of Leda. The main rooms of the palace were designed to overlook the beautiful landscaped garden. The palace also featured the private apartment of the cardinal. The apartment consisted of 4 rooms and they were located on the courtyard level.

The garden

The garden of the villa stretches over the steep slopes. They are given an extra allure by the cascade flowing out of crater in the middle of exedra. The most imposing feature of the garden is the Alley of Hundred Fountains that is formed by 3 long superimposed basins. The waters from the basins cross the entire garden.

Behind the Exedra is an artificial mountain that features 3 alcoves. The 3 alcoves hold the statues of Sibylla of Tibur with her son Melicerte as well as the river divinities, Erculaneo and Anio. On the western side of the garden you will find the Fountain of Rome.

Another imposing feature is the Fountain of Great Glass that was designed in the shape of serrated chalice.

Visiting the palace and gardens of Villa d’Este in Tivoli will be the highlight of your entire Italian trip. Make sure you capture a memorable picture while there. It is tours such as this one that makes fond memories.

by Kennedy Runo on 06/12/2015 in Sightseeing