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Villa d’Este

Villa d'Este

The gardens of the Villa of Este, one of the most beautiful in Europe, is one of the symbols of the Italian Renaissance. The residence, built by Cardinal Ippolito II of Este in Tivoli, was designed by Pirro Ligorio starting from the original building, the Church of the Convent of St. Mary Major. The complex covers 4.5 hectares and the facade of the villa overlooking the park is very simple, on three floors, with windows and side pavilions file, only interrupted by a nice porch on two levels with the lower decorated with the Fountain of Leda. The rooms, arranged in a row on two floors, are open on to the garden. The Cardinal’s apartment, four rooms, is at level of the courtyard, while the living rooms are on the lower level. The gardens are extended over two steep slopes, from the palace down to a flat terrace: the loggia of the palace marks the central axis, and the five transverse axes creates fascinating perspectives ending, each one, to a fountain of the garden: the Fountain of the Organ, rectangular, the Fountain of the Dragons, the true heart of the complex with the four winged dragons emerging from the middle of the large oval basin, the Alley of the Hundred Fountains, walkway to the side of which gush one hundred water jets on three levels; the Fountain of Rome, the most striking, and the Fountain of the Bicchierone (Bernini’s project), in the form of serrated chalice from which the water falls into a shell.

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