On our last day in Italy, we visited Tivoli and the gardens of Villa ‘d’Este now designated as a world heritage site and acknowledged as having a profound influence on the development of garden design throughout Europe.
There are 50 different fountains in the garden fed by the river Anio. An underground canal which was built beneath the town in 1564, harnesses the river and supplies the fountains, ornamental basins and grottoes of the Villa with water. I have seen photographs of the fountains in action, which look truly spectacular, some can be seen on Tivoli’s official site
When we arrived a small sign apologized that the fountains were not working that day due to the previous excessive rainfall in the region this year. Disappointment was an understatement!
Lining the width of the garden is the wonderful Hundred Fountains, even without water sparkling and moving, it was still very romantic. Covered in Maidenhair ferns and encrusted with lime, the fountain is quite lovely.
Elsewhere though there was a sense of incomplete sadness, to the extent I felt had to put my camera away. It felt quite wrong to photograph this wonderful garden naked without water flowing through the fountains. The most spectacular of all, designed to seriously impress visitors is the Organ Fountain, rising dramatically and apparently costing over one hundred million euros in modern terms to build. Without water sadly there was no romance to distract from its incompleteness.
When we left we asked when the fountains would be flowing again, they were not sure for certain, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after.
4 thoughts on “Villa d’Este Tivoli Italy”
I am so sorry you didn’t see the gardens in all their glory. I visit the gardens often as I take students there who are studying the history of garden design; I have never seen the garden completely without water, sometimes the pressure is reduced or some fountians are withour water but NEVER the whole garden. You can see the gardens at night lit by candles here: http://myhesperidesgarden.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/visiting-villa-deste-in-the-evening/
Thank you Christina, you inspire me to try again, your photographs and descriptions are beautiful. We visited Villa d’Este on Tuesday June 4th and I am late putting this on my blog as I have been so busy.
Thank you for this beautiful account and gorgeous photos.
I wish it was better Cynthia, we will certainly go again one day though and visit more wonderful Italian gardens.