Villa D’Este

– a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance Garden at Tivoli

Villa D'Este, the three fish ponds

Villa D’Este, the three fish ponds

The typical Italian Renaissance villa looked down on the garden, ordered trees, terraced flower beds, paths, fountains and statues displayed within walls. The Villa d’Este’s great garden has spectacular vistas over the Roman campagna from its position high in the Tivoli hills above the Villa Adriana. It was built for Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este based on the descriptions of ancient villas by Renaissance architects, the architect-antiquarian Ligorio used the sculptural remains of Hadrian’s Villa Adriana for the designs (begun 1560).

Vilal D'Este, ovate fountain

Vilal D’Este, ovate fountain

The fountain of Tivoli (or the ovate fountain) represents the Tivoli falls which produces 3 rivers, represented by three statues is one end of the hundred fountains.

Villa D'Este, The One Hundred Fountain (Le Centro Fontane)

Villa D’Este, The One Hundred Fountain

The middle section has 91 individual terracotta reliefs framing into a rustic trough illustrating Ovid’s Metamorphosis.

100 fountains, relief

100 fountains, relief

100 fountains face1

100 fountains, relief

 

The garden is a marvellous visual experience, but one that lacks the variety that awn English landscape garden offers and which native flora and fauna need.
I visited Villa d’Este in 2010 and heard or saw only two species of birds. It is a very formal garden, the world’s pre-eminent water garden with some five hundred fountains, pools and water troughs.

Villa D'Este, cedar lopping

Villa D’Este, cedar lopping