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63. Villa d'Este, marvels out of Rome

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

By - Giulio D'Ercole

Have you visited enough museums, squares and archeological sites in Rome and you want a break a now? Let's travel half an hour east of Rome and we will find ourselves in Tivoli, where two other amazing historic and art sites awaits us for more photography workshops and tours. One is Villa Adriana and the other is Villa d’Este. The latter is a true masterpiece of the Italian Garden. It is so amazing to be included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

The Villa is an outstanding concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water. Its design, style and elegance became a model for many other European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.

History is funny because it truly teaches us some lessons, sometimes in funny ways: Villa d'Este is basically Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este's response to its frustration of having failed his bid for the papacy. Being the Governor of Tivoli from 1550, to get out of his career disappointment he started nurturing the idea of realizing a garden in the hanging cliffs of the “Valle gaudente”, as the one below Tivoli was called at the time. Though his plans became reality only after 1560, when ideas and architectural plans became clearer, thanks also to the vision of the painter-architect-archeologist Pirro Ligorio. Vision later realized by court architect Alberto Galvani.

The works, which were was almost completed at the time of the Cardinal’s death in 1572, were continued in 1605 by Cardinal Alessandro d'Este, who gave the go-ahead to a new progam of interventions not only to restore and repair the vegetation and the waterworks, but also to create a new series of innovations to the layout of the garden and the decorations of the fountains.

It has to be noted that other works were carried out from 1660 – 70 with the intervention of no less a figure than Gianlorenzo Bernini.

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