Your driver will be waiting for you at Rome’s Fiumicino airport “Leonardo da Vinci”, your hotel or other agreed starting point to take you to Tivoli, near Rome, where you will visit the wonderful Villa d ‘Este.
On the way, if you wish, you can stop at a bar for a coffee break.
You will travel along Via Tiburtina that leads to Tivoli, which was the famous summer resort for the papal nobility, more than five centuries ago. Villa d’Este is the most beautiful villa remaining from that period. Originally it was a Benedictine monastery.
In the second half of the sixteenth century Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, who was appointed Governor of Tivoli by Pope Julius III, decided to turn it into a luxurious residence. The construction of the spectacular architectural complex took two decades which ended in 1570. It involved the court architect Alberto Galvani, the architect Pirro Logorio and talented artists of the late Roman Mannerism period, such as Durante Alberti, Federico Zuccari and Livio Agresti.
In 1605 Cardinal Alessandro d’Este restored the house and repaired the damage that had been done to the vegetation and the hydraulic system, as well as creating numerous innovative and decorative fountains. In 1660 – 70 additional work was performed and Gianlorenzo Bernini became involved. After a period of serious decline, it was completely restored and brought back to its former glory in 1920 as Villa d’Este. Today it is aUNESCO World Heritage Site.
The most interesting part of the villa is the Italian garden, which descends along the slope of the hill and is similar to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. The unique landscape in which it is immersed contributes to the beauty of the garden that has been much copied by Europe’s largest villas.
The spectacular design of the park is due to Pirro Logorio, who built a system of pipes and a long tunnel about six hundred meters below the town of Tivoli, to carry water directly from the Aniene to a tank in the villa. Three hundred liters of well water were transported per second and this allowed for the construction of the park’sbeautiful fountains, which employ the same system today without the need to use power.
Descending down the villa’s monumental double staircase to a short covered porch, we reach the mezzanine of the Vialone, the first and largest path in the garden, which stretches for about two hundred meters between the Fontana Europe and the Gran Loggia. The latter was built between 1568 and 1569 and was clearly inspired by the Roman triumphal arches. Descending from the villa, on the left of the driveway, you will find the Grotto of Diana, richly decorated with mosaics, stucco and high-reliefs, and enamel decorations.
In the lower part of the garden, on the main axis, near the original entrance to the Palace on the Via del Colle, you can admire the so-called Rotonda dei Cipressi, in the shape of an “exedra”, a semicircular hollow topped by a cupola that is surrounded by giant trees that soar upwards to the sky.
Continuing your tour of the park, you can also see: the Viale delle Cento Fontane, a path of a hundred meters that connects the Fontana dell’Ovato, also called the Tivoli, with the Rometta, the Bicchierone fountain or “Giglio “created by Bernini in 1661, under the Loggia di Pandora and the extraordinary Fontana dell’Ovato, which owes its name to the amazing water mechanism inside, which produces a sound like a water organ, the spectacular Fontana dei Draghi o della Girandola, located in the heart of the park, and finally the Fountain of Neptune, the largest and most recent construction, built in 1927 by Attilio Rossi, with the collaboration of the engineer Emo Salvi.
In the square is the Fontana dell’Ovato, named for its unusual shape with a central semi-circular “esedra” at the center of the large pool in which water flowed in ancient times. You can then visit the Laboratorio Museo Didattico del Libro Antico. It is home to international conferences, seminars and educational activities designed to deepen and tell the history, secrets and technologies for the study and conservation of antiquarian books
There is also a restaurant-bar-cafeteria inside the Villa d’Este where you can enjoy typical Roman dishes.
After the tour ends out driver will return you to your hotel or to the airport at Rome.
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