At a distance of 30 km from Rome we find, set in the artistic, historical and landscape context of inestimable value offered by Tivoli, the splendid Villa d’Este, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001 and part of an equally fascinating territory composed of gorges, waterfalls and caves.
This masterpiece of Renaissance art was commissioned in the 14th century by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este (son of the famous Lucrezia Borgia) and is today one of the most visited sites in Italy.
To realize this majestic project, the Cardinal succeeded in obtaining permission to use marble from the Tomb of Cecilia Metella on the Appia Antica in Rome, largely employed to realize the fifty fountains and the many jets of water that still decorate the park in a continuous variation of viewpoints, perspectives and jeux d’eau.
In addition to the beauty of the building itself, what is striking is the garden with its beautiful fountains, nymphaeums, water displays and hydraulic music. Many of the sculptures that enrich the various water displays are dedicated to the Greek myths, such as the Grotto of Diana, the Fountain of Pegasus or the Loggia of Pandora. Some take on singular forms, like the Fountain of the Bicchierone, which saw the intervention of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the Fountain of Rometta, where there is a miniature of one of the most representative monuments of Rome, namely the she-wolf with the twins Romulus and Remus, a model so beautiful and perfect as to be emulated in many other European gardens.
It is estimated that the entire project cost a huge sum for the time: one million pieces of gold “scudi.”
Villa d’Este, Villa Adriana and Villa Gregoriana encircle the town of Tivoli, the ancient “Tibur Superbum” as Virgilio called it, a small archaeological paradise that has much to offer its visitors.