What to see in Rome | Villa D’Este

May 22, 2019

If you are in Rome for more than 3 days you are certainly loving it and you have visited most of the main landmarks. Still, at a certain point you are overwhelmed with historical facts, art, architecture and above all the crowds. It is the point all visitors reach and when it happens, we suggest you take a small break. Get out of the city and breath in some fresh air.

The options for day trips are immense. If it is still early spring it might be too soon for a beach lunch or too late for a day on skis, so think about Tivoli for your escape. If you have the feeling that you want some green space to stroll around and just chill, Villa D’Este is the perfect destination.

The Villa has a spectacular garden that is listed as UNESCO world heritage. A convincing reference, good enough to make you hop on the train or to book an excursion with us to the small town of Tivoli, located about 50 km from Rome. It is a location which has the Emperor Hadrian’s Villa, but hey you said no more history for the day!

Villa d'Este Fountain and Palace
Villa d'Este Fountain and Palace

However, don’t you want to know at least few facts about Villa D’Este? For example, that it was commissioned in the 16th century by Cardinal Ippolito II D’Este, a member of powerful Este family, originally from Ferrara, a city in northern Italy. Ippolito was destined for a clerical career and had the burning ambition to become the Pope.

He was never selected, even after 5 attempts as a candidate. In order to alleviate his sorrow, he decided to build a beautiful villa on the ruins of an earlier Roman Temple, just outside Rome, in Tivoli, which had been a popular summer destination since ancient Roman times due to its altitude and cooler temperatures, and its proximity to the Emperor Hadrian’s summer residence.

Line of Gargoyles Fountains
Line of Gargoyles Fountains

Drawing inspiration from the luxury of Hadrian’s Villa, Villa d’Este features a stunning garden with its extraordinary system of fountains: 51 fountains and nymphaea, 250 jets of water, 60 pools, 255 waterfalls and 100 watertanks!

Terraces, staircases, slopes and promenades evoke the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, while the hydraulic engineering owes a lot to the Ancient Roman knowledge of bringing water over long distances.

It is a beautiful example of what is known as Italian (Renaissance) garden, a type that is inspired by classical ideals of order and beauty designed for the visitor to enjoy the view of the garden and the landscape beyond, for contemplation, and for the pleasure of the sights, sounds and smells of the garden itself.

So here you go, you are in the right place for your escape…. watch, smell, touch, listen, breath, relax….enjoy the moment and indulge your passion for Italy.

Villa d'Este panoramic view
Villa d'Este panoramic view

Admire the fountain of Neptune sculpted by Bernini, walk down the Avenue Of A Hundred Fountains, stand in front of the Oval fountain, gaze at the Fountain of Diana. You will understand why this park was the background in the banquet scene of William Wyler’s “Ben Hur” or how Franz Liszt got the inspiration for “Water Games at Villa D’Este”.

Villa d'Este Fountain
Villa d'Este Fountain

After all this beauty and contemplation, after all that oxygen, you must feel rejuvenated and….HUNGRY? The good thing about Italian day trips is that they all involve a delicious lunch.

In the Tivoli area, the lunch not to be missed is at the Sibylla restaurant. A magnificent place, situated under the Temple of Sibylla will offer a gastronomic experience that you will remember all your days.

 

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