Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Villa d’Este

Here is a garden that’s all about the unending battle between water and stone. Villa d’Este is situated at Tivoli, just outside Rome, and is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. This garden was an early model for the development of European gardens.


The garden offers breath taking beauty and lush design, fish pools, magnificent statuary and contrived, often difficult pathways, leading you on while they draw you around and away.


Villa d'Este was developed as a living museum and repository of classical beauty by the immensely wealthy, highly cultured and often ostentatious Cardinal Ippolito of d'Este. The son of the infamous Lucretia Borgia, Ippolito suffered a bitter disappointment when he failed to become Pope after a lengthy conclave.

Exiled to the turbulent Tiber region, he sought solace in the creation of a magnificent garden that he believed worthy of the already-ancient city of Tivoli.


The Villa's gardens are a place one doesn't visit for the plantings, but rather one goes to be surprised by the clever application of Renaissance plumbing in the fountains and waterworks, and to marvel at how they are integrated with the landscape. There are something like 500 fountains here. Many statues, some of them stolen from nearby archaeological sites like Hadrian's Villa, complete the tableau.


To clear space for the gardens a whole area of the town had to be demolished, many inhabitants being forced to sell or face expropriation. Due to the steepness of the terrain, enormous earth-moving works were undertaken in order to create alternating terraces and slopes. In addition, the site had an irregular shape.



Our Old House said...

I just saw this amazing garden the other day on Monty Don's 'Italian Gardens'. Talk about WOW. Thanks for posting such beautiful pics.

Anonymous said...

Wow incredible! My sister sent this post to me to check out as we will be passing through Rome in a month, just wondering how long it took you to see it? Thanks :)