Once you have finished exploring the interior of Villa d’Este, take the staircase outside to the vialone of the building. The vialone is the panoramic terrace of the villa. It is 200 meters long, and runs the length of the building. From here, you can get a lovely perspective of some of the delights that await you below. For those in need of a pick-me-up, or even simply a bathroom, the villa does have a café. Facing the gardens, on the far-left end of the vialone, you will find the Gran Loggia, or the “Cenacolo.” The Gran Loggia, which takes the shape of a triumphal arch, connects by passageways directly to the old apartments of the Cardinal d’Este, who once called this wonderland home. It was a covered spot in which he could relax, take in the surrounding countryside, and breathe some cool, fresh air.For me, one of the most iconic sights of the villa are the Cento Fontane, or the Hundred Fountains, all lined up along a walkway.The beautiful Fontana dell’Ovato, or the Oval Fountain, dates from 1565, and was designed to function as a sort of water theater.The Fontana dell’Organa, or the Water Organ Fountain, is one of the villa’s most famous fountains. At the time of its unveiling, it was considered a marvel of all of Europe, and people flocked here to see it, and hear the actual music that was played by the streaming jets of water. Over time, the music stopped. In the early 2000’s, the fountain was restored, and was able to produce music once again, but I have visited twice since then, and unfortunately, I have found it to be silent on each of my visits. At the far end of the garden, you will find the Fontana di Diana Efesia, or Mother Nature. From here, the lowest point in the garden, you can also find lovely views of the surrounding countryside. No visit to the gardens would be complete without seeing the lovely Fontana di Rometta, or the Fountain of Miniature Rome. This fountain loosely symbolizes the Eternal City, and is a joy to behold.The boat represents Tiber Island, and is situated below a statue of Rome Triumphant. Nearby, you have Romulus and Remus feeding on the breasts of the she-wolf.For me, one of the most magical times of the day is the hour when twilight begins, and the lights of the Italian towns begin to turn on, illuminating the buildings and streets in a way that is simply not possible to experience during normal daylight hours. The towns take on a glow, and a warmth that I find irresistible!
Next up: We visit my favorite place in Tivoli, the beautiful Villa Gregoriana!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Tivoli, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!