Villa D’Este, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture

Included in the UNESCO world heritage list, Villa D’Este is one of the most notable masterpiece of the Renaissance culture in Italy. It is situated in Tivoli, at about 30 kilometers from Rome, and it is a beautiful path among decorated rooms, impressive gardens and awesome fountains.

The view from the first floor

The Villa was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, who started the building renovation in 1550. It had been built on an ancient roman villa: in 1983 some ruins came out and today they can be admired by its visitors. The Cardinal’s aim was to recreate the glory of Hadrian’s Villa: the rooms of Villa D’Este were embellished by various painters as Livo Ligresti and Federico Zuccaro; the building and its gardens were entrusted to Pirro Ligorio and Alberto Galvani.

In every room of this palace you can breathe splendor and magnificenceBut their gardens are the most beautiful and captivating part of Villa D’Este. There are stunning views from here: you can admire Rome and the city of Tivoli, while you are surrounding by water games, majestic fountains, small caves, aged-old trees, plants and flowerbeds.

The stunning “Hundred fountains” run along the boulevard which leads to the Oval Fountain, embellished by rocks. At the end of this street, with an incredible view on the Roman valley, the Fountain of Rometta sticks out: it represents a miniature of Ancient Rome.

The Hundred Fountains

The Fountain of the Organ– which has a inner mechanism to play music- is situated in an area which seems to be magic: from this terrace you can admire all the gardens of the Villa. 

The Fountain of the Organ

The Fountain of Neptune is one of the most imposing and recent of the Villa: it was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini using an existing waterfall.

The Fountain of Neptune

You can feel lots of emotions in Villa D’Este. You can almost see the protagonists of those ancient times, while walking or talking about art and politics. You only have to close your eyes, listen to the water and let yourself be caressed by its speechless beauty.     

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Hadrian’s Villa, an archaeological site that is worth being discovered

Publius Aelius Hadrianus was a Roman Emperor who loved art, architecture and culture. He decided to build an impressive Villa near to Tivoli, in a valley which had a strategic position, which was never completed. Its constructions date back to between 118 and 138 AD. He used to live here, surronded by nature and magnificence. What we see today of Hadrian’s Villa (Villa Adriana in Italian) is only a part of the complex which was covered by marble and hosted several buildings of various types, termal baths, pools, gardens, libraries and sculptural decorations.

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The Pecile, a monumental quadriporticus

Strolling into the Villa (we suggest getting a guide for 5 euro per person) you can see all the buildings whose use we can only suppose: for example, the Hospitalia, which probably hosted the praetorians guards; the Heliocaminus Baths, a room heated by solar rays; the luxurious Small and Large Baths.

Floor of one of the rooms of the Hospitalia

Floor of one of the rooms of the Hospitalia

The Heliocaminus Baths

The Heliocaminus Baths

At the end of the available part for visits of the Villa (there’s an area which is private property) there is the marvellous Canopus, which was used in the summer as a banqueting hall.

The Canopus

The Canopus

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The Villa Adriana is a masterpiece that uniquely brings together the highest expressions of the material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world” according to Unesco. It is, in fact, a World Heritage site. And it’s not difficult to understand why. Everything here tells a story of a past which belongs to all humanity.

Villa Adriana websites: http://www.villaadriana.beniculturali.it/                        http://www.coopculture.it/en/heritage.cfm?id=75

From Rome the Villa can be reached:

  • by car, Autostrada A24 towards Naples, tivoli exit;
  • by metro B (Ponte Mammolo stop) and then by Co.Tral bus towards via Prenestina;
  • by train: Tivoli station and then bus no.4 on the CAT line.