Another excuse for sharing some recent vacation photos
We finished out our vacation with five days in Rome. You know and I know there’s a lot to see in Rome, but nobody’s thinking five days worth. Prior to the trip I purchased a train pass good for ten travel days, leaving two to burn with side trips from Rome. Events resulted in our having three unused days when we got to Rome.
My choice even before we left Texas was Tivoli, and after wading through the crowds in Rome on Sunday, Barbara came around and agreed a day trip to Tivoli would be a nice break. Monday it was, and we caught the train to Tivoli.
Bad decision. We got to Tivoli, migrated into the town from the train station and weaseled a city map from the guy who runs the Photo Express store. From the map we were made to realize some of the attractions, a scenic water fall and another Medieval village being among them, were not easily accessible by foot. The main attraction in Tivoli seems to be the Villa d’Este, which we set ourselves to searching out.
We found it, after passing it by at least once. The entrance is off a small plaza toward one edge of the town. And it’s closed on Mondays.
So, that was a nice train ride. We determined to come back on Tuesday, and we had a small lunch.
Tuesday was worth the extra trip, only about an hour from the Roma Termini station near our hotel. Tickets are (for now) 11 Euros each and worth the price just to see how people used to live:
Villa d’Este, masterpiece of the Italian Garden, is included in the UNESCO world heritage list. With its impressive concentration of fountains, nymphs, grottoes, plays of water, and music, it constitutes a much-copied model for European gardens in the mannerist and baroque styles.
The garden is generally considered within the larger –and altogether extraordinary– context of Tivoli itself: its landscape, art and history which includes the important ruins of ancient villas such as the Villa Adriana, as well as a zone rich in caves and waterfalls displaying the unending battle between water and stone. The imposing constructions and the series of terraces above terraces bring to mind the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the wonders of the ancient world. The addition of water– including an aqueduct tunneling beneath the city — evokes the engineering skill of the Romans themselves.
Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este, after the disappointment of a failed bid for the papacy, brought back to life here the splendor of the courts of Ferrara, Rome and Fontainebleau and revived the magnificence of Villa Adriana. Governor of Tivoli from 1550, he immediately nurtured the idea of realizing a garden in the hanging cliffs of the “Valle gaudente”, but it was only after 1560 that his architectural and iconographic program became clear—brainchild of the painter-architect-archeologist Pirro Ligorio and realized by court architect Alberto Galvani.
The rooms of the Palace were decorated under the tutelage of the stars of the late Roman Mannerism, such as Livio Agresti,Federico Zuccari, Durante Alberti, Girolamo Muziano, Cesare Nebbia and Antonio Tempesta. The work was almost complete at the time of the Cardinal’s death (1572).
The villa has two main attractions and also one minor one, that being some stunning views of the Italian countryside. Inside the Palace photography is considerably restricted, but with a little discretion I was able to obtain a couple of images. A recorded video presentation lasts about 15 minutes and is worth a few moments.
The outside is actually the side of a very steep slope down from the town. Water features prominently, and I’m guessing the runoff from the upper fountains feeds the lower ones. Without elaboration here are some more photos.