Italian Food and Flavours
Villa D’Este: Garden of fountains
Villa D’Este is a grand Renaissance Villa with gloriously restored water gardens. Just over two hours drive from southern Le Marche via the A24 motorway, Villa D’Este is in easy reach for those in search of a delightful day out in spectacular gardens. The Villa and gardens were commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito the second, apparently to console himself after his failed bid to become Pope. Designed by architect Pirro Ligorio who also designed the “Monster gardens” at Bomarzo, the gardens were started in 1605 after the completion of the Villa and added to throughout the 17C.
Villa D’Este has been partially restored and offers visitors a glimpse of late Renaissance Manerist opulence, but the real show starts when you leave the villa for the main terrace. The view over the Northern plains of Lazio provides a majestic backdrop for the gardens that fall below. The gardens at Villa D’Este are designed to allow for breathtaking formal vistas alongside spectacular sideshow set pieces and smaller scale grottos. There is a delightful balance between the grand spectacle and the attention to small details but of course what really makes the gardens such a crowd-pleaser is the water, water, everywhere.
The Gardens feature 51 fountains, 398 spouts, 364 jets, 64 waterfalls and 220 basins which combine to create a magical experience. The official Villa D’Este website is rather limited but there is a comprehensive and detailed Villa D’Este wikipedia entry for those wishing to know more.