Villa D’Este, Tivoli
Villa D’Este is located in the small hillside town of Tivoli about an hour from Rome. The gardens are a must if you are in Rome as they are one of those special places that’s worth the effort to make time for.
If there has been persistent rain then it is best to check with Villa D’Este first to make sure that the fountains will be on as they do suspend them due to the enlargement of the river Aniene. It is not worth visiting the gardens unless the fountains are on.
It was hard to find the villa at first as it seems so unassuming from the outside, but what a surprise when you are in, through the courtyard and into the garden. Wow, the water features which all symbolise something were beautiful. Even the views overlooking the valleys and hills surrounding Tivoli are impressive. On a clear day, you can see St Peter’s Basilica Rome.
This is a place we really wanted to visit as we had seen a Monte Dom TV programme about it last year. The gardens didn’t fail to impress and left us in awe of their sheer natural beauty.
You can take a guided audio tour but we are not big on audio tours and wanted to explore the gardens on our own. We strolled around the gardens at our own pace taking in every sight, smell and sound in about one and a half hours. The fountains were stunning. We have never seen that many fountains in one place, there were about 500 of all sizes, shapes and heights all naturally powered except two. There was one huge and thundering fountain, others cascading levels and others small and quiet. There were sculptures, beautiful tulips and lilacs.
You can walk around the inside of the villa although it is not as spectacular as the gardens. As the weather was a bit unsettled we decided to see the gardens first and then look around the villa. The villa has some magnificent mosaic floors, frescos and paintings but otherwise were bare rooms.
Soon after we arrived the water organ started to play and we caught a couple of minutes of the remarkable instrument where water pushes air through the organ pipes and plays real music, not just random notes. The hydraulic organ of the Organ Fountain is active daily, from 10.30am every two
You need good mobility as there are many levels and many steps and steep ramp paths to climb, however, there is a lift to take visitors to one lower section. I struggled a bit and noticed other people taking their time going back up the hill as it is pretty steep. But there are also places to rest.
This is not a gardener’s garden i.e. it’s not about planting or horticulture in the true sense but about garden design, though I should point that out as if you were looking for different varieties of plants and flowers you would be disappointed.
Tickets are 8 euros for each adult and free for children aged 0-13.
The Villa d’Este is 2 km away from the train station. Rome – Pescara Line, Tivoli station
Bus: Bus line Cotrral Rome – Tivoli (station in Rome: metro stop Ponte Mammolo: bus station in Tivoli: Largo Nazioni Unite).
By car: Autostrada A24. Exit Tivoli.
Contact telephone number: +39.0774.335850
The Villa opens at 8.30am and closes one hour before sunset.
Agriturismo La Cerra, Tivoli
GPS: n41˚55’40” e12˚50’0”
Tel: +39 0774.411.671