East of Rome, Tivoli offers the most enchanting garden of Italy rich of its sublime and spectacular fountains: Villa D’Este.
This villa was built by Ippolito d’Este, renaissance prince, collector and patron of arts, son of Duke Ercole D’Este and Lucrezia Borgia. The residence is entirely upstaged by the gardens set on descending series of terraces, among palm trees and cypresses water shoots and cascades where the cardinal kindly entertained his famous guests, musicians, poets and writers in 1500s. The fountains are offering the history and geography ... More of the surroundings: Rometta is a fountain with symbols of city of Rome, Ovato is decorated with statues of rivers and mythological Tivoli’s figures, the three fishponds created to supply the cardinal with fresh fish for his meals were copied by the Imperial Palace in Hadrian’ Villa.
The gardens include also some amazing mechanisms such as the fountain of the Organ, which used to sound with the water, and the fountain of Owl, which was giving an entertain performance of singing birds.
Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli
Villa Adriana is the site of an imposing architectural complex dating to Hadrian's time; a 180 acre spread largest villa ever built in the entire Roman Empire. Adrian lived at the height of the Roman Empire, and he is the emperor which built the Pantheon, in Rome and restyled the port of Rome, Ostia.
The series of palaces, baths, etc. were meant to remind him, here in Italy, of the places he most loved in Greece and the Near East.
The most impressive sites in the villa are the Canopo, copied by the one in Alexandria of Egypt; the Maritime Theatre, an artificial island where the emperor used as retreat to write poetries; the Pecile, a rectangular pond surrounded by a colonnade; the fishpond in the imperial palace and the subway, an underground tunnel used by the servants to carry material from one side to the other side of the villa without been seen by the guests.
Even though the villa has been sacked for centuries, it amazes its visitors with its astonishing and overwhelming architectures.
Travel Guide by Federica D'Orazio - www.guidaturisticaroma.it
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