Mary Hamilton-Smith of Australian Womens Travel writes:
On my last tour in Italy as a request from my travellers (who loved gardens), we visited Villa d’Este at Tivoli . It was such an amazing place that I have added it to my La Dolce Vita Tour of Italy in 2016.
The Villa d’Este was owned by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, he was the son of Lucrezia Borgia, anyone who has watched the TV show ‘the Borgias’ ( starring Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI), the controversial pope who openly had his children living in the Vatican, his son Cesare Borgia is also a name in history that may be familiar to you.
Anyway, to say that Lucrezia had an interesting upbringing is really an under-statement. However, she eventually ended up married to Alfonso I d’Este who was the ruler of the city state of Ferrara during the Renaissance.
Her son the Cardinal Ippolito badly wanted to become the Pope, but missed out on this title and so in compensation he was made the Governor of Tivoli, with the gift of the existing villa.
Part of our visit here enables us to walk through this villa on the way to the garden. While the rooms no longer have furniture in them, the grand rooms and vaulted ceilings are covered with stunning frescoes. There are also spectacular views of the garden from the villa.
The Villa d’Este’s fame, however, is due more to its gardens than to the villa, although it too has been celebrated in poetry, painting and music. The garden is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its significance in the history of garden design, and its fountains are famous worldwide. Film fans will recognise many of the garden’s features in the opening sequence of Three Coins in the Fountain.
Walking around the garden with its 500 plus fountains, feels like being in a mythical garden of the ancient past with its statues, grottos, columns and reliefs Each alley, path or avenue reveals a new mossy fountain in a carefully landscaped vista.
The most famous Fontana dell’Organo is named after an elaborate water-operated organ hidden behind its complex architecture. Its construction started in 1568, but it was completed only in 1611. This musical fountain seemed like a miracle when it was first built, which never ceased to amaze visitors to the Villa.
Villa d’Este is 34 kms from Rome and you will need about 2 hours to enjoy it.
Australian Women’s Travel is just one of the fabulous tour companies who are listed on Women Travel the World.
More links for women travellers…
- Tours for Women around the World
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- Women who are Local Tour Guides
- Retreat Places for Women Around the World
- Tours which include Retreat Themes
Mary Hamilton-Smith is a passionate traveler and has worked out a way to include travel as a regular part of her life. She set up Australian Womens Travel. Here is an account of her last Freedom Tour – you can join the next one in 2 May 2014, or one of her other tours HERE […]